Space Rangers 2: Reboot
For a game about spaceships and robot warfare Space Rangers 2 feels an awful lot like a trip back in time. First, it reminds you of that flash game you played last week where you had a little 2D spaceship flying around and it would shoot at whatever you clicked on. That is basically how Space Rangers looks and plays and just like the flash game after half an hour’s play it seems like you have seen everything it has to offer. With the flash game that was probably the case. With Space Rangers 2 however, half an hour will barely scrape the surface.
Elite is the next game Space Rangers 2 suggests, that pioneer of open-world gaming which offered an entire galaxy of trading, adventure and sudden pirate-related death. When you get beyond the fairly limited flight and combat controls there is a massive game here for you to explore in any way you choose. Like that 16k classic you can trade or accept missions or get hunted down by the security services because you accidentally destroyed a civilian transport last time you visited. Throughout all this your Space Ranger will be gaining experience and you can upgrade your ship as you choose to fit the activities you have chosen.
So having settled in for an epic space adventure Space Rangers 2 then starts throwing other features at you. Take an arcade style shooter for example; every time you take a short cut through a black hole. Then there are the choose-your-own-adventure sections interspersed with logic puzzles down on the planets. Other side games vary from exploring the oceans in a submarine to winning a mech-gladiator tournament to managing a ski resort!
After all that the Dominators arrive and the game then drops you into a fully featured 3D Real Time Strategy game. The Dominators are three alien races who have decided that your galaxy should be their galaxy and you are tasked with stopping them. Not that you have to of course, but the option is there. The RTS works well but like the rest of the game it is far from the best the genre has to offer. Perhaps worrying that there weren’t quite enough options in the game, developers Elemental Games also give you the option to jump into any one of your robots in these battle and control it yourself.
Without doubt Space Rangers 2 is a massive game and this reboot edition is even bigger with more maps and battles and quests and missions added to the mix than most similar games start with! Add to that the fact that Space Rangers 2 also comes with the first Space Rangers game and you have one massive package. The ludicrous variety of featured game types shouldn’t work, but it does. The different sections are by turns cheap, overly simple, and fiddly or badly translated but never to the extent that these flaws actually stop your enjoyment of the game.
Space Rangers is definitely an oddity. Any one part of it taken on its own would be little more than a quickly forgotten distraction but put together they somehow bounce off each other and build something better. The minor flaws are just that, minor. The games only real failing is that it lacks a deep and engaging plot to drive you on in your adventurers. Even then though, there is plenty here to keep a (forgiving) player hooked for days on end.