CrunchyFrog recently came out with a new version of one of my arcade favorites: Space Chunks 2! I reviewed the previous version over at my old blog. This is going to be a kind of follow up, so I recommend you read it, especially if you're considering the game.
Anyway, lets get down to business. I'm not here to review the new version, but more to express my own reaction.
There are a good deal of changes and upgrades, the most immediately noticeable of which is probably that there are a bunch of new fragments you can collect. A couple new things they can bestow upon you include extra lives and ship upgrade points. Also of note is that all asteroid bases now yield fragments rather than replenishment powerups.
The upgrade system has been quite renovated, now having a lot more upgrades available. This system has been tweaked to further imitate an RPG system, making each new upgrade point harder to get.
This new upgrade system is where my only remaining quibble with the game lies. The way the system works is quite good; the balance is the issue. You see, like most games with upgrade systems, this one has two curves. As time goes on, each level is harder to reach. At the same time, enemies get harder to defeat. As it should be, you continue to become more powerful as do your foes; at the same time, the game rises in difficulty by making your enemies more and more stronger than you. The problem comes in where on medium difficulty, at least for myself, I was less than half as powerful as my foes when only halfway through. This confined me to hit-and-run guerilla warfare in which survival was nearly impossible. I ended up having to restart on an easier difficulty for my first play-through.
The above problem is forgivable for a few reasons. One of them is that the game is still in beta. Things like this are usually still being tweaked just before release of the final version anyway. Another reason is that for people like myself who aren't ready for the difficulty can still have a food time by playing through on an easier difficulty level.
There's more. Also new in the game is the addition of new bosses. There is now one for every stage, ensuring a fun ride all the way to the end. Planets in the background give you a sense of depth, and serve to make it seem more like you're actually fighting a huge battle in the vast expanse of space. I obviously can't list every change here, even the creator of this game hasn't taken the time to list every change.
So yeah, that's the new version of Space Chunks 2. It's a shameless shmup with beautiful art, huge amazing space battles, awesome music, challenging bosses, an engaging atmosphere, and interesting strategy. Adventure game people will probably hate this game, as well as explorers or those of you who like a good story. This game isn't for you. But if you like explosions, stress pounding, and a good dose of shmup action, this game is your friend.
Final rating: 8.5
All the things about the old version give it 8 points, the additions give it another one. It loses half a point for balancing issues. 8.5 is a great score, and I have no doubt that successive versions will be even better.