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.


  1. st33dd says:

    With a title like that you can tell it wasn’t made in the UK.

    • gpown says:



      • roguewombat says:

        Those are actually the names of the three characters in the trailer.

        • roguewombat says:

          And darn it all, I just logged into this site on a public wifi network before realizing the log in form isn’t protected by https. SSL certificates are actually free these days – can we get one on here so my accounts don’t get hacked? (Pretty please.)

      • Shadow says:

        A pet peeve of mine is artists who can draw very well but fail at basic writing.

        “Debri” incident aside, the haphazard use of ellipses in the intro text irks me. It’s “…”, not “..” nor “….”

        Other than that, the game looks nice. Turn-based in a single character, roguelike fashion, and sort of reminds me of Shiren the Wanderer.

      • Borodin says:

        According to Wikipedia, Debri is an ethnic minority of South Kurdufan in Sudan, who speak the Dilling Language, which is a language belonging to the Nubian branch of the Nilo-Saharan languages

        • Shadow says:

          Yes, I’m sure that’s what they meant. Especially in a context about intense action, screenshakes and explosions.

        • Geebs says:

          I was rather amused to find that there is more information in Wikipedia about the local customs of the entirely unremarkable village I grew up in (it involves competitive drinking) than the entire Debri people.

  2. Hobbes says:

    Dropped onto my wishlist, will keep a vague eye on this one. Took a look at the site too, seeing distribute() at the bottom is a big nasty red warning light for me though (it means Vlambeer have their murky fingers in the PR side of it if only for automation), so I’ll likely stay clear until this hits post release.

    • Kitsunin says:

      I’m curious for what murky stuff Vlambeer is responsible. Given what little I do know of them I’m surprised.

      • Hobbes says:

        I think the easiest way to describe distribute() is the bastard child of Klout and the now defunct gamejournopro list. It takes the worst elements of -both- of those things and then smashes them together. It’s very much a case of the old guard circling the wagons and looking out for themselves, and the worst part is it’s Vlambeer enabling it.

        Combine that with some of the utterly hideous speeches concerning indie development they’ve made and I’ve developed a really, really low opinion of them.

        • John Walker says:

          This is absolute drivel, of course. distribute() is a free system they created so indies could more easily get Steam keys out to the press. It’s not a particularly good one, as it’s impersonal and means devs don’t target the right people, but it’s a free widget that neither suggests nor implies specific involvement by Vlambeer. As if their involvement would be a rational negative in the first place.

          I imagine the real reason for this umbrage is that Rami has been very outspoken against a particular group of internet turds.

          • Hobbes says:

            I put down a detailed reply, and mysteriously it vanishes. Interesting that. Suffice to say, no, it’s not about the turds, and I made THAT part very clear, but of course that doesn’t fit your argument does it? ;)

  3. Fuzzyaardvark says:

    Thanks for bringing this game to my attention. I really like the look of it, and can see myself buying it this evening.