Set in the same literal universe as the original Event Horizon, this entry puts you in charge of defending a base and commanding a fleet of starships. With over a dozen different alien factions to defend against, Event Horizon: Space Defense doesn’t lack in variety in terms of combat.
Your fleet starts small, with just little old you vs. the vastness of space. As enemies throw assault after relentless assault against your base, its clear that this single-defender approach isn’t going to work forever. Combat works in levels similar to waves, with a set number of enemies needing dispatched on the map in order to move on to the next level. During this time, you’ll collect power ups for your base, different ships, and even the ability to contract mercenaries to join you in the fight against those hostile factions.
The controls for flight are stiff and a bit finicky, causing no shortage of frustration when it comes to attempting to navigate the map. I constantly would struggle with turning and overshooting my destination, an issue that regardless of how long I attempted to improve my flight skills, never really seemed to get any better. The ability to shoot is limited by an energy gauge, which forces the player to make smarter decisions in firing at enemies. The energy does refill rather quickly, and I never felt that I was in a pinch due to running out.
Both ships and your base are modular — you’re able to add different weapons and additional armor. With a crazy number of ships to unlock over the course of the game, players are able to choose which ship they like the best as well as customize the way it plays with modifications. I was particularly impressed with this aspect of gameplay and spent a large portion of time snapping my upgrade blocks to the grid-like upgrade areas. I also could paint my ships any color I wanted, opting for a snazzy red to contrast with the bleak openness of space.
There’s a lot of exploration that can be had in this title, from discovering mercenaries to scavenging wreckages, the open frontier of the starscape is fairly immersive. You can stumble on giant worm-like space monsters that can take quite some time to defeat as well as finding additional blueprints from abandoned cargo, allowing you to create some of the 100 different ships available in game.
As the levels increase, the waves get more difficult, forcing you to upgrade or die. With different ways to improve your forces, this becomes a repetitive grind to wipe out the alien forces and improve your own fleet and base. The game doesn’t have any other real direction than this, which can be a bit disheartening over time. With the lack of a real concrete story and no real emotional ties to characters or events, I found myself getting bored after a few levels.
There’s definitely a good framework here, the gameplay is fine-tuned to be fun and engaging, but the controls as well as the lack of the aforementioned story elements can be a deal breaker for some. While I will likely boot this title back up in the future when I feel like shooting down some alien baddies, I can’t honestly say that the title is super hyped.
-Crazy amounts of customization
-Never-ending gameplay that adapts as you grow
-Lack of story/engagement
Event Horizon: Space Defense tries hard to be a good space game, and does its part rather well — falling short on only a couple facets. While I would be hesitant to suggest this title to gamers who thrive on engagement, anyone that’s a fan of wave battles and customization will find a pretty polished experience here.