App Reviewed on: iPhone XR
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End of the Universe is a combat-focused roguelike feels like Immortal Rogue, but in space. This is no coincidence, as Kyle Barrett is the mind behind both of these games. Where Immortal Rogue felt like a game that opened up over time though, I feel like I’ve been bashing my head against End of the Universe and am not reaping nearly as many rewards.
In End of the Universe, you’re the pilot of a ship that jumps between sectors and fights anything that gets in your way. There isn’t much more of a setup than that. Once a sector is clear, a portal opens up that transports you to your next battle.
You can control this space-fighting action using one finger. Dragging and holding on the screen points your ship in a direction and determines throttle, and you can swipe in any direction to perform a small boost. Your weapons fire automatically, and heavy weapons fire whenever you release from the screen after a small charge meter has filled.
As you get deeper into a run of End of the Universe, you get the option to add new weapons and other upgrades to your ship. You can opt for lots of fast-firing light weapons, opt for heavy lasers, or even have a beam trail behind your ship that damages enemies in pursuit. This helps you take on stronger enemies as you get further into a run, espcially boss ships that are enormous and challenging enemies that can take a lot of hits.
Similarly, you can gather “XP” on runs to level up your ship between runs. Leveling your ship grants persistent passive bonuses for that ship, like the ability to make health drops more effective or reduce collision damage. I really like this idea in theory, except End of the Universe makes it really difficult to unlock these bonuses and they don’t feel particularly impactful.
Not enough space
I wish that End of the Universe had more customization options for your ship, but more than that I wish the game gave you more room to fly around. Every level in this game is crowded with space debris that you have to weave through constantly to avoid taking damage. There’s also a box drawn around each level that traps you in a small space to stay where all the action is. Touching it also damages your ship.
As a result of this design, I spend an awful lot of time in End of the Universe moving my ship as slowly as possible and just unloading on enemies that can’t fire as far. This seems to be the most effective way to play, as it eliminated the risk of hitting objects or getting hit by enemy fire (you have longer range than most enemies). Still though, I found myself banging into debris all the time and having that end my run more often than anything else, which is no fun.
The bottom line
End of the Universe definitely sounds better in concept than it does in execution. Where Immortal Rogue created situations where you needed to think about how to time your attacks depending on who you’re fighting, End of the Universe feels like an endless grind of playing keep away from enemies, objects, and arbitrary walls. Add to that a less compelling unlock system, and I’m not sure there’s much reason to play End of the Universe as opposed to Immortal Rogue.