Get ready for take off! Destination: chill. In grahamoflegend’s Super Space Club, survive waves of enemies while coasting in the grooviest galaxy. With slapping tracks provided by Fat Bard and art smoother than butter, Super Space Club is sure to put you in a good mood.
Not fully separating itself from other space shooters, Super Space Club finds its place in the back corner, off to the side, wearing shades indoors and not caring what you think, aka hanging with the cool kids. Chillout, friend, you’re cruising through space battling large enemy ships, no biggie. Just blast them with your laser guns. Or don’t. It’s a vibe. Battling and avoiding enemies is a delicate balance. You could be headstrong (like me), and throw yourself into a cluster of ships, or you could skirt on the side-lines, attacking baddies with precision.
Firing and taking hits both deplete energy. When the music slows and the screen gets dark, that cues the time to high-tail it out of there. Because attacking drains your health, you can’t spam bullets willy-nilly. So while you may enjoy rushing into battle, that strategy typically won’t work out well for you. To be a pro Super Spacer you must be a sharpshooter. Unfortunately the controls in Super Space Club are smooth and floaty, like rolling ice cubes on a skate rink. You only move forward from your ship’s thrusters or backwards from recoil if you’re firing without using thrusters. Navigating doesn’t seem too terrible given that the direction you’re moving is based on your cursor, but the sensitivity of the mouse is too high. Without any way to lower the rate of movement of your mouse, it can be really challenging to aim exactly on enemies. Perhaps if there was a lock on feature or a way to control the ship movement better the gameplay would be more enjoyable.
The pacing of Super Space Club can feel slow and monotonous at times. Every time you hop into a game, the round starts at the beginning on the easiest difficulty. The progress you made on a previous run-through feels like a waste of time, as the equipment you earn doesn’t improve your ability to be better at fighting enemies, it simply changes how you interact with them. While the asteroids and color schemes change for each run-through, the enemies stay the same. On one hand, the consistency allows you to plan ahead for what’s coming, but since there are no other levels the lack of changes gets dull. Objectives make the gameplay interesting, as it challenges you to play in different ways, but some are related to specific loadouts, meaning you have to lose and start over. The objectives don’t cycle out as you complete them, giving you another reason to start over soon. A lot of Super Space Club doesn’t encourage you to keep trying to reach higher levels. Besides an objective requiring you to do so, you could theoretically keep playing the same four rounds and complete most of the game. While it’s not exciting to complete the game in this way, there should be more motivating factors to keep playing through the rounds.
Super Space Club’s art is a main draw to the game. The color treatment to the levels and menus create a calming and pleasing experience. The different characters, while not providing any story context, add a whimsical flavor. Some slight detraction involves the game’s field of view and the design of the menus. The camera feels a little too far away, making all the ships feel tiny. The gameplay of Super Space Club doesn’t require you to know what’s happening far away from your ship, so zooming the camera in will help those with poorer eyesight while keeping the game feel the same. Another idea would be to zoom in and out based on if you’re using your character’s special ability, giving a little more dynamism and user feedback. The User Interface has problems with explaining to the user how to move through the menus. It was only after playing through the level many times before I realized how to get upgrades. The cost of items aren’t listed on the loadouts you see. It’s only until you click on a loadout that it shows that it costs currency that you earn through destroying enemies and asteroids. As mentioned earlier, unlocks could have been a great motivating factor to complete more levels, but everything is unlocked through currency. The menus need better feedback when hovering over choices besides showing an arrow. It would also be nice to select choices with the spacebar/thrust button so I don’t have to drag my mouse over to make a selection.
Audio in Super Space Club is what brings the vibes. Rappers chat about space over chill beats. The synths take on a rhythmic feel that makes the act of battling more bubbly and fun. There is a small amount of dynamic audio that transitions through low health and various menus. While the vocals stop after a wave or two, the beat continues. Part of me wishes it transitioned to a different tune based on the wave, or more lyrics would pop in, because the beats start to add to the monotony. I believe the dynamism starts to collide with itself, as the transitions and sounds create periodical loud blips that don’t correspond to the gameplay. Sounds come from the ship and enemy attacks, but it’s not clear what is producing the sound. I understand if a sound was played with every enemy attack things could get cacophonous, but maybe more visual feedback would help.
In summary: Fluid gameplay that ironically requires exact controls. Nice build up of enemies and difficulty, but lacks new levels and motivation to progress further. Great art with some small user experience issues, and the chillest audio with some FX problems.
Jordan played Super Space Club on PC with a review key. Super Space Club is also available on Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One.