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Turn-Based Colonial Marines: Space Grunts

Perhaps, like me, you believe that everything works better in turn-based form. Where are all the turn-based FPS games, you wonder every night as you’re falling to sleep, and how much better would the world be if Rocket League were turn-based? If that’s the case, the brilliant Nuclear Throne, which John recently reviewed, might look a bit too hectic for your tastes. Enter Space Grunts [official site]. It’s not quite a turn-based Nuclear Throne but it’s pretty damn close.

It’s an attractive game, with just the right amount of screen-shudder and lovely pixel-gobbets of flesh and metal bouncing around the play area when a rocket hits the mark. Played from a top-down perspective, it plants you in the moonboots of a single character as you make your way through tiny rooms that are packed with menace and loot. The loot comes in the form of single-use items, new weapons and ammo for the weapons you’re already carrying.

The challenge is in applying that ammo and those items at the right time and in the right place, as you figure out the firing range and behaviour of the various enemy types. There are also barrels to burst, crates to crush and weird plants that inflict random effects, from clouds of healing gas to radiation poisoning that spreads through the room, killing everything in its path.

Although it’s fully playable at the moment, from beginning to end, the game’s Early Access period will end on January 12th. Updates have been regular since the Early Access period began a few months ago and there are still plans to add more content. I haven’t played the whole way through – I’ve just been pootling about in the early stages, dying repeatedly – but more variety would certainly be welcome. It’s a solid game though, even if the enemy behaviour seems a little too chaotic and unpredictable at times, making my efforts to herd them into killzones futile.

I’ll check back on Space Grunts when it reaches its final form. It’s a fast-paced turn-based treat.

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Adam Smith

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