Spacewing War (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

Spacewing War is a typical retro styled 2-D shooter that takes inspiration from a surprising source.  It’s all black and white, so it looks like a Game Boy game.  But more specifically, it takes inspiration from Kirby’s Dream Land!  A lot of the graphics are the same, it’s pretty easy and short (but still fun), and you even unlock similar extra features when you beat it!  The game is available on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

In the base game, you control a spaceship that automatically scrolls horizontally forward as you shoot everything that moves.  You can pick up power-ups like score boosting coins, health hearts, and strength increasers.  You have four weapons that you can switch from at any time with a press of a button.  A straightforward shot, a boomerang that encircles you, a powerful bomb (just don’t get caught in the explosion), and a short range spread shot that also shoots behind you.  I found the short range spread shot most useful during the stages, and the bombs best against bosses.  You’ll plow through seven stages with a boss at the end of each one, but there are some secrets and surprises along the way.

One problem with the game is that it is very easy.  I plowed through the main game with no trouble at all in about 30 minutes, and even got all the trophies!  But just like Kirby’s Dream Land, once you beat it, you unlock an even harder mode with new, tougher enemies and challenges.  Not only that, you also unlock a mode where you can play as one of the enemy ships, and this mode is like a whole new game in itself.  In this mode, you don’t autoscroll, and you can choose different ‘spells’ if you have enough points from defeating enemies.  Like refilling your health or a screen clearing super bomb.  And once you beat that, you unlock even MORE stuff like a target shooting mode and more!

There’s also an options menu where you can change the color palette and difficulty level.  The game is so easy that even I didn’t need to set it to the lowest difficulty!  Aside from being a bit easy and short, the only other problem I had with this one is that I wish the music was a bit better.  But if you like retro shooters but aren’t necessary very good at them (like me), or you are a beginner novice player or very young, you should still check this one out.

Kid Factor:

Spacewing War is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence.  You mostly shoot cartoony UFOs and robots that just poof into smoke when defeated, or spin off the screen.  About the most scary things in the game are ghostly eyeball monsters, and the last boss is just a giant heart with a frowny face.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, but not necessary just to play.  Because of the lower challenge and even easier difficulty selections, younger players shouldn’t have too much trouble either.

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