games / Reviews

Score Rush (XBLA) Review (2)

December 21, 2010 | Posted by Trace Aber

Score Rush is another title in a long list of shooters on the Indie Games Channel, and the most recent release by Xona Games, who have a short history of making shooting games. They don’t go too far from their typical formula, which in this case means you get a competent shooter that unfortunately has a couple of pitfalls that makes up the difference between a decent game and a great game.

Score Rush has you controlling a small ship that is on a mission to kill any and everything that stands in its path; it just so happens that any and everything wants to destroy your ship as well. Score Rush’s best asset is the sheer number of bullets that fill up the screen at any time, meaning the action is non-stop. There’s no backstory here, all you have to do is earn the highest score possible.

Each game begins with three lives and three bombs that destroy all enemies on screen. Killing certain enemies will cause them to drop a powerup that increases your attack or even grants you an ally that follows behind you and shoots enemies. As you advance further through the level you’ll take on a series of bosses that cover the screen in bullets, meaning moving around looking for open spaces is a must in this game. The bosses have predetermined patterns (as do other enemies) and after a few games become almost laughingly easy, assuming you can dodge their endless barrage of bullets.

The game also supports four player co-op locally, which really makes things interesting. All four players can share lives with one another and powerups go only to the lowest player, but the real fun is watching all of the chaos that ensues on the screen. Games are hectic enough with one person; adding three more almost adds a whole new level of difficulty in itself trying to find your ship amongst the sea of bullets.

Score Rush’s presentation is a series of colorful explosions and streams of bullets in front of a watery background with some great music to motivate you along the way, and it all comes together for a great visual experience. It’s one of the game’s defining features and makes the game feel more unique that it really is.

My biggest problem is that it depends on high scores yet lacks global leaderboards. Yes, you can brag to your friends about your score and post on their forums, but in this day and age that doesn’t cut it. I understand that Microsoft doesn’t allow for global leaderboards for indie games, but if that’s the case why build your game around that concept? I think Score Rush would have been better suited if there was some other end goal in mind.

The 411
Score Rush is a technically fine shooter that fans of the genre will be able to pick up and enjoy with ease. But it does very little to innovate and outside of the pretty explosions there’s not a lot to recommend. The game’s entire premise is cut short due to the limitations of the platform and even though it’s only a dollar there are many similar, if not better experiences you can obtain out there for the around the same price.

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Trace Aber
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