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Shoot ‘Em up titles have a massive following. Their fans are hardcore, determined, and love arcade action. No matter the theme or difficulty, nothing will dissuade this passionate group of gamers. Consequently, when a new title hits the market, they clamber to get their hands on a copy. Remote Life is the latest game that will fascinate this demanding player base.
Developed by Next Game Level and published by Ratalaika Games, this is a 2D side-scrolling shmup. It has a sci-fi theme, an array of ghastly monsters, and many massive bosses to overcome. Its stage design is tight and claustrophobic, and the weapons are badass, hard-hitting, and excellent to experiment with. Furthermore, the gameplay is tough and your enemies are tougher still. To progress will take an awful lot of skill, and a heavy dose of patience. It kicked my ass every time I tried it. However, I couldn’t put it down no matter how much I tried.
Remote Life is familiar but original.
Whenever I play a well-trodden genre, I expect the action to lack originality. Yet, Remote Life bucks this trend. Yes, its core mechanics are familiar, but the story is exciting, dramatic, and captivating. What’s more, there is a wide variety of missions, many weapons to find, and a whole roster of overzealous aliens to defeat.
You control John Leone, a heroic pilot who must save the day. Aliens are destroying mankind and their tactics are hard to nail down. Subsequently, every mission to destroy them has failed. With one last roll of the dice, John must fly his vessel into the alien hive and eradicate the menace from the inside out.
Plenty of stages and fast-paced action.
What instantly jumped out at me was the volume of levels. There are 16 unique missions with ambitious goals and hideous aliens. You must find ammo, new guns, and special equipment to protect yourself and vanquish your enemies. However, unlike its peers, the aliens aren’t your only risk. No, the scenery is just as deadly. Therefore, you must stay alert, dodge every projectile, and destroy rocks, nests, and anything else in your way.
The maddening action is made harder still because of the unbearable pace and the 4 difficulty settings. Projectiles, aliens, and rocks fill the screen! You must select your weapons, destroy everything in sight, and pray that you survive. There are alien worms, bombs, ships, and more as you fly to the end portal. Now, you may think that reaching the end would be enough, but it isn’t. Instead, you must face off with a hideous and gargantuan end-level boss. Each of these over-powered monsters has unique strengths and weaknesses that must be avoided or exploited.
In theory, these final encounters aren’t that challenging. But, things are made much worse as death ends your run! Furthermore, there are no checkpoints and all your progress is lost. This rogue-lite element is infuriating but makes the action oddly moreish. What’s more, it keeps you on edge throughout. You’ll study each stage, memorise the correct paths, and gradually get further. This could become tedious if you don’t love the genre. I, however, adored the challenge.
Remote Life looks incredible.
The solo developer wanted to create an original title, and I think he has succeeded. His artistry, level design, and atmospheric stages were incredible to experience. The use of dark tones and tight spaces creates an overbearing and ominous feeling. This is then enhanced because of the grotesque bosses and evil aliens. Further to this, the sight of dead humans and experimental areas within the hive is disturbing. I adored the heinous nature of the visuals, and this was only bettered by the audio.
The high-energy and angry soundtrack worked incredibly well with the gameplay. With so much going on, it would have been a mistake to use slower and sombre audio. With banging tunes playing in the background, you soon become immersed in the madness. This is wonderfully complemented by the loud and obnoxious sound effects. Lasers ping and bombs explode as you tackle each of your foes. It was a brilliant cacophony of noises that matches the theme throughout.
Brilliant arcade controls.
Arcade games are renowned for their brilliant and easy-to-understand controls. Fortunately, Remote Life replicates this from the off. By using both analogue sticks and a slick UI, it is easy to pick up, and wonderfully responsive. With so much going on, it could have been tough to play. Fortunately, though, this wasn’t the case, and I had it mastered immediately.
Thanks to the 16 levels and unique missions, there is plenty to keep you going. Furthermore, you will unlock bonus ships the further you progress. Each vessel has unique properties that will change your tactical approach. On top of this, the rogue-lite elements increase longevity while ensuring it isn’t too easy to complete.
Remote Life is a superb shmup.
Over the years we’ve seen some excellent and some poor shmup games. Luckily, Remote Life is addictive, difficult, and frankly, superb! Its gameplay is easy to understand, the story is deep and captivating, and the artistry is phenomenal. The solo developer has done a fantastic job of capturing the best elements of the genre within his original game. Consequently, I loved it and I recommend you to buy it here! Can you eradicate the aliens that threaten mankind? Take on each unique mission, destroy the aliens, and return a hero.