Space Marshals by Pixelbite is one of the best games to recently hit the iOS App Store (and won the Editor’s Choice) for the iPad and iPhone. It’s a third person isometric shooter set in space, with you starring as one of the titular space marshals, hell bent on clearing up the universe and all the scum that reside in it.
Space Marshals review
Space Marshals is one of those rare genres of shoot-em-ups: the 3D isometrics cowboy shooter set in space. In fact, we’d be hard pressed to think of many other games which fall into the same category.
The game itself was recently riding high in the App Store charts as a paid game, which means there are no annoying in-app purchases required to progress.
It starts off with a nice rendered introduction which sets the scene for the story – you’re a space marshal who has committed some unknown crime and is currently languishing in an orbiting jail somewhere above a distant moon. You’re soon broken out and set to task on clearing up the local scum, who seem to be taking over the local neighbourhood.
There’s quite a bit of story throughout the game, which thankfully never gets in the way – each mission is introduced with a few snippets of subtitled text, which you can skip and get straight into the action.
You control a space marshal, using the on-screen controls – a left-hand virtual joypad for moving around, and the right hand joypad to shoot and aim. There are a variety of weapons, outfits, and throwable items to collect as you complete missions, depending on how well you do.
The missions themselves entail roaming around a 3D landscape (viewed from a kind of oblique 3D aerial perspective) and have to run about finding the bad guys to take out. However, it’s not just as simple as shooting everything that moves, as the enemies vastly outgun you, so you have to tap the screen to enter ‘sneak mode’ and crouch down, hide behind corners, and ambush the bad guys. It’s much more effective and means that there’s quite a lot of strategy involved as you work out how to get to certain parts of the map without being blasted to pieces!
There are also lots of power-ups, ammo, armour and health hidden around each map – for example, you can pick up small canisters that put you into ‘berserk mode’ or allow you to temporarily run faster. There are also clues hidden around the game – they don’t seem to do much except help you progress to the next stage and obtain better rewards after each mission.
Between levels, you return to base camp, where you can change weapons (two guns can be equipped at once, and two throwable items like dynamite or rocks), but also change outfits and armour. There are also some barrels and unlimited ammo in the base camp so you can practice targeting and honing your shooting skills.
The nice thing is that you can return to completed levels at any time, in order to try and get a higher completion score – and that leads to more guns and armour being unlocked. It’s always fun going back to an early level that was stupendously hard and using the machine gun to mow down lots of enemies from behind.
The controls are also very intuitive – it’ll take just a few minutes to get accustomed to them, which makes it thoroughly enjoyable to play. The graphics and sound are also great, especially on the larger screen of an iPad. It is playable on an iPhone (you can also sync progress between devices), but it’s much easier to control and play using a tablet.
Overall, Space Marshals is a throughly enjoyable game, and one we recommend that you download if you haven’t already done so.
A well crafted and entertaining shooter, with lots of power-ups, great graphics, and decent longevity.
Thai Tech Verdict