Shred Nebula Review
October 16, 2008 by Jereme Puik
It seems as if, that although space is the last frontier in the real world, space in the video game world has been conquered with wars upon all galaxies. Shred Nebula brings you back into the stages of the Milky Way and that could possibly bring you back to a pot full of nostalgia from the 80s. It may even bring back memories of the glory days of Space Invaders. But, I’m not quite sure if I’d go that far quite yet. Shred Nebula is an entertaining title for what it is, from developer and publisher, Crunch Time Games Inc. This Live Arcade shooter might remind you of the likes of Geometry Wars or even Super Stardust HD, but you might be in for a real surprise.
Is it worth to the Conquer the Galaxy Again?
I think a lot of us have become used to the two-stick shooter mechanic that we’ve seen popping up in many shooters appearing on Live Arcade over the last year or so. When Shred Nebula came up, it was easy to see how difficult this title was going to be. There’s not much to fret about as there is a tutorial mode that is available the moment you start the single player campaign which helps get you acquainted with the controls. Instead of using the all too familiar two-stick controls you may be used to, you must now wrap your head around the entire controller. Each button has its own mechanic, whether it’s to fire up your thrusters for boost, or using that ray gun to scan objects for information and coordinate for your next jump to hyperspace.
The game offers your standard single and multiplayer options. If you don’t like to read much, this isn’t for you. Constant text boxes pop up giving you every ounce of detail to guide you through the square box of space. However, you have to fly your way through what looks like it was taken straight out of Geometry Wars. You are tasked to piloting a lone ship called the RIP Rocket and you are on an expedition to find out what happened to the “Lost Expedition”, a team of ships lost over the course of a decade. The story mode itself is comprised of 22 stages and all organized with fairly interesting level design.
Most of the time during these levels you’ll be blasting away waves of enemies as you fly around the map trying to figure out where to go next. The maps you are given to work with can be both a blessing and a curse. Yes, it’s something that’s taken straight out of Geometry Wars, just think of it as a lot more cluttered and filled with an actual space-like environment. This is troublesome mostly because you can’t tell what you’re dealing with. It’s quite easy to get past this problem as you get comfortable with the gameplay.
Throughout the campaign, you’ll notice yourself becoming more comfortable with the gameplay. The single-player campaign shouldn’t take you more then a couple of hours to complete. Afterwards, you can head off into multiplayer. Multiplayer gives you several options to consider before enjoying what it has to offer. You’ll be given the same kind of maps you dealt with in the single player with the exception being the type of games you’ll be playing. For example, one is called Score Attack. Here you’ll be given a shot to blast away enemy after enemy trying to earn the highest score possible to be posted on the Leaderboards on Xbox Live. Other then that, its pretty much your standard affair with multiplayer all around.
Not much to look at here. There are some nicely designed levels that, as I said before, get a little too cluttered. There is a big mix between what enemies you’re looking for and the items you need to collect. Between that and finding those pieces of the “Lost Expedition”, it’s a hard thing to locate what you need without circling the map. Overall. there isn’t much to look at here.
If you count trendy computer generated techno music as music, then that’s about all you can get from Shred Nebula. Each level corresponds to its own given music that fits the situation. The tune will increase in volume or stature and fit what is going on in the game. It varies from level to level of course, so don’t expect to hear the same tune over and over again. Techno music never caught me by surprise here, so don’t let that happen to you. It was probably something penned to get it out of the gate into the certification process as soon as possible.
Being your average space shooter, there is one thing that might get you to stick around a little longer. While the story might not be up to snuff as other titles, it is interesting and original. Exploring each map for the lost expedition does get quite exciting especially when you’ve found the pieces scattered all across the map. Your job is to run around and scan the various objects making sure it’s the right place and expedition you’re looking for. You’re right-analog stick controls the scanner, and only take a few moments to determine where you’ll move too next.
Shred Nebula is an overall decent game for the Xbox Live arcade. Although, it may be too Geometry Wars like for its own good. You’ll notice quite a few similarities and this is what holds back the game for being a true space-invasion on the Live Arcade. So, you can obviously tell Geometry Wars was the inspiration for this based on the level design and basic control mechanics, despite its complexity for the first few moments of playing. So, is Shred Nebula worth its 800 MS point tag, or 10 bucks? It’s possible…but I wouldn’t mind grabbing it if it fell under the Live Arcade Greatest Hits section either. It certainly has a place there.