Spacejacked is an action-centered take on the tower defense genre.
Spacejacked on PC
I’ve long been a fan of the tower defense genre, and love seeing new takes on it. Describing itself as an “arcade tower defense,” Spacejacked is anything but your typical example of the genre. Players, in the role of engineer Dave Paprovsky, will have to defend their ship, rescue the rest of the crew, and keep up with the game’s frantic pace in order to survive wave after wave of enemy incursion.
Spacejacked starts in pretty typical fashion, running players through a brief tutorial before getting into real gameplay. This is important, since many things within the game aren’t necessarily evident. Perhaps the best example of this is Dave’s unique ability to reverse his personal gravity and walk on ceilings, enabling players to reach otherwise-inaccessible areas. In addition, you’ll have to get accustomed to the teleporters that move Dave around the ship.
While Spacejacked allows players to engage in direct combat with the enemy, most of the work is done by building turrets. Three varieties of turret round out Dave’s arsenal, each requiring resources to build or upgrade. Basic gun turrets deal reasonable damage to enemies, while laser turrets offer a heavy, slow-firing alternative. Tesla turrets act as support units, slowing down any enemy within range to allow Dave and the other turrets to do their work.
The story of Spacejacked follows Dave’s mission to locate and rescue the rest of the crew after they’ve been swept away by aliens. Gameplay is broken up into days, with each day taking Dave one step closer to each rescue — and one step closer to the next enemy attack. Battles are wave-based, and can take place in any of the ship’s four primary areas, each of which is outfitted with turret build points, a core system that must be defended, and plentiful space to fight off the invaders.
Perhaps the most unique part of Spacejacked is how waves arrive. During each new wave, Dave will be alerted as to which room the enemies are set to appear in. While the first few days focus on single-room assaults, it’s not long before players are forced to deal with waves appearing in more than one room at a time. Enemies won’t wait around for you to be in a given room, either, so turret placement becomes more and more important as threats emerge around the ship.
Adding to Spacejacked’s frantic pace is the need for resource management. Building or upgrading turrets costs metal, which can be harvested from fallen enemies or in a between-day minigame. Turrets can also be scrapped at any time, returning their full value to the player in order to get some defenses down wherever they’re needed now. It can be a mad scramble at times, trying to uproot the turrets in one room and relocate them to the newly-threatened space.
If nothing else, Spacejacked easily meets the most important criteria I have when reviewing games — fun. Its frantic pace, interesting take on the genre, and well-executed mechanics make for an enjoyable experience. The design and sound may not stand out, but they’re certainly not bad. As for the price, a $9.99 buy-in via Steam feels just about right when the game’s built-in Endless mode is considered, meaning that players will have ample opportunity to put in some solid time.