I love Shmup games! From classic retro masterpieces to modern attempts at the genre. If I notice a new shmup game being released I instantly sit up and take notice. Remote Life is a 2D side-scrolling, space-based shoot ‘em up that was developed by Next Game Level and published by Ratalaika Games.
The story has you play as pilot, John Leone as you pilot your spaceship into the alien hive in a bid to eradicate them for good, thus saving mankind! After a brief introduction and tutorial, you are thrown headfirst into the action through a total of 16 different levels – each with a variety of menacing aliens to blast, hazards to avoid and weapons to gather. The game lets you equip upto 4 different weapons at any time, you get 3 weapons you can switch between on the fly and then a powerful attack with limited uses. There are over 18 weapons to find through the game, each one with its own benefits which make flicking between them really fun whilst ensuring your using the best weapon for the situation you find yourself in. There are also turrets littered around the levels that you gain control of when you come near them, this adds even more ways to eradicate the alien menace!
The game is pretty difficult, with a quick pace, tons of enemies, projectiles and traps on screen at once. You will need to be on your toes and use your reflexes to make your way through to the end of each of the missions and when you get there you will then have to face off against an end of level boss! These boss fights are probably the easiest bits of the levels as they are more routine based so you will be remembering the bosses’ movements, attack patterns etc in a bid to overcome them. The game has 4 different difficulty settings depending on how easy you find the standard difficulty; however, a lack of a scoring and leader board system feels like an oversight as it would provide another reason to replay the levels – who doesn’t love beating their high score?
The game is absolutely gorgeous, with beautifully detailed environment, interesting enemy designs, fantastic lighting and cool weapon effects. The objects all appear pre-rendered in 3D and it really makes it stand out amongst the mass of pixel based shmups on the marketplace. The levels all have a dark atmosphere to them, and the grimy, metallic, alien mixed with machine infested environments really convey the dread you’re facing in the game. The soundtrack is also enjoyable with its techno/electro tracks blasting out as you work your way through the levels. While not that memorable in terms of individual tracks, it does pack a punch and keeps the momentum going!
My main gripe with the game is the unforgiving level design. Whilst the levels look fantastic, the game at times funnels you into tight corridors or sections where you have to squeeze through opening and closing doorways. This means you will end up losing lives if you clip them or get stuck on the wrong side. Normally I could overlook this but when the game is so difficult it makes the issue stand out and become much more frustrating. Also some enemies projectiles seem to blend into the background of the levels like ninjas and you find yourself taking damage from things you haven’t been able to see.
Remote Life is a very challenging twin-stick shoot ‘em up, with a large variety of weapons and levels to blast your way through. Its stunning aesthetic and thumping techno soundtrack elevate it above other contemporaries but its unfortunately held back from true greatness due to some niggling issues, but if you love a good shmup then I can’t recommend this one enough!
Remote Life was released on 27th May 2022 and is playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. The game can be purchased HERE for £14.99 the game is optimised for Series X/S and supports smart delivery. The game is also available on other consoles.
We were provided a copy of the game for this review. Big thanks for that!