Death Ray Manta has graced iOS and the indie gaming circuit on for PC for several years, and has been part of all sorts of indie bundles. Now it has landed on Steam with the appropriately titled Death Ray Manta SE. The “SE” is never explained, so I can assume it is for Steam Edition, Special Edition, or me, Scott Ellison. This twin-stick shooter is nothing short of pure bliss and will whisk away the time before you know it.
Death Ray Manta SE, or DRM for short is a dual-joystick space shooter that’s light on story and heavy on colors and pure action. You pilot the Death Ray Manta, complete with flashing lights on the ship and lasers in the brain, so now you must fight everything threatening your survival. There are a promised 32 levels in total, but good luck getting there – it requires dexterity and quick reflexes to survive to the end. The levels themselves are fast, and only last a few seconds. As you transition to the next level, or astrolevels as they are called, you’re given time to take a breath. Death happens so fast and so often, that you can’t even get mad for for dying, because you’re back in the game right away. This is because there’s not a lives system, so one hit to your Death Ray Manta, and you’re done. Your score is then tallied up. You are given a score for each astrolevel reached plus whatever gems you collect, and then you have your fish score. Yes, the total score is known as a fish score.
Death Ray Manta SE is light on options. In fact, there aren’t any options at all. You can try, but there’s not an INI or CFG file to alter. The way the game comes packaged works just fine and needs no adjustment. There are also not any Steam achievements, but this is the simplicity of the game design. There’s no progression, leaderboards, or options, because it is a game that wants you to play the game, not navigate menus and other nonsense. You’re in, you play until you don’t want to, and then you’re out – all on your own terms.
Death Ray Manta SE‘s soundtrack is on-point and delivers great music with the increasing rainbow nonsense that appears on the screen. The bright colors and visuals are hard on the eyes, at times. And more so, makes the enemies hard to see during all the chaos. Though, that’s the game’s bread and butter, that’s what it lives on, chaos. Death Ray Manta SE also answers the question: What if scores removed all those extraneous zeroes? And it works gloriously. Having a score of 10 is cool, which is just as cool as seeing 10,000,000 – but look at all those extra 0’s taking up space.
A gamepad is supported, and worked with my DualShock 4 acting as Xbox 360 gamepad. I also found mouse and keyboard to very accurate, with WASD serving as the movement and the mouse doing the aiming and shooting. Both options are completely fine, with neither really having a benefit over another, it’s all just preferential to you.
Who knew we’d actually need DRM in our lives? Because Death Ray Manta SE is like the cooler, psychedelic hippie cousin of Geometry Wars. Sometimes though, the colors are almost too much, and not being able to see the enemies as clear as you want is a concern. But Death Ray Manta SE is still fantastic in every sense of the word. It’s a wonder to control, and a colorful splendor to behold.
A pre-release Steam code was provided by the developer for review purposes