Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
To use a strange analogy, Hectic Space is a lot like modern pop music. It’s catchy, it’s lightweight, and it’s mostly familiar. However, it also has an awesome, and totally inexplicable, hard techno edge.
Hectic Space is a typical sci-fi horizontal scrolling shooter like Gradius or R-Type. The game makes virtually no changes to the classic form, but it’s classic for a reason and it still works here. Using the touch screen, players drag their ship away from incoming enemies as it automatically fires at a fixed pace. Enemies are tough, and can soak up a surprising amount of bullets. Their tricky shot patterns also take some intense light speed gymnastics to avoid. Players can usually take three hits, but the further they get into the single, endless stage, more opponents crop up with attacks that kill instantly.
Players start out with a wimpy little pea shooter, but Hectic Space’s most appealing feature is its plethora of power-ups. Every few seconds players will encounter a useful trinket bestowing them with a powerful new shot type. Cluster bombs, wave shots, homing shots, rapid fire missiles, and rebound shots all tear through enemy hordes in inventive ways. Plus, the mass destruction they unleash looks fantastic in the game’s pixelated, Space Invaders-esque art style. The unchanging purple galaxy background may look pretty generic, but who cares when there’s a shield that reflects shots back at enemies, causing them to explode into tiny neon cubes.
But Hectic Space's single biggest selling point is its utterly incredible techno soundtrack. Good techno music can be made by one teenager on their laptop these days, but the music here sounds so well-produced it could easily pack dance halls with its thumping beats. With its combination of standard 8-bit sounds, crazy voice samples, and hard fluctuating rhythms, it’s like Major Lazer’s take on Galaga. That’s as great as it sounds.
Hectic Space has such good music, players might just spend all day jamming out at the main menu. If and when they start playing the game though, they’ll find this solid SHMUP is pretty good too.