As a game published by a team called ‘Throwback Entertainment‘, Carnage in Space: Ignition was perhaps set out to be something specific before the first sprite was drawn. From a visual perspective the game is a resounding success. In terms of gameplay, it does have a few new tricks hiding under its very basic pixelated presentation.
Retro styled 2D platform games aren’t exactly rare these days. It seems like every week we hear of a new studio working on an ‘innovative’ 2D game. Refreshingly, Carnage in Space: Ignition never pretends to be something it isn’t. It’s a very basic 2D platform game. And for that alone, it works.
The action takes place on one of seven relatively small levels. The player must reach the end. Simple enough. You can jump, wall jump and dash. To combat enemies you have a gun (with limited ammo) and a sword for melee attacks. It’s certainly nothing special in this regard; the whole game can be completed in well under an hour. However, for the completionists, Carnage in Space: Ignition ramps up the difficultly with a variety of challenges overlayed.
To begin with, each level has an optional objective: find hidden items or not killing roaming civilians, for example. Success in these objectives will reward the player with a higher score. Also, each level has a set number of enemies, all of which must be found and killed. Both of these objectives must be done within a time limit to achieve the highest score possible. And of course, dying is not allowed.
This essentially turns every level into a memory game. Knowing where everything within sits and the most optimal route to achieving your goals is key to truly completing each level. That’s not as easy as it sounds on the later levels, however. It’ll surely be many attempts, and many purchased upgrades. before even the most hardened 2D platform gamer is able to get the most out of all the levels.
There’s a small but welcome selection of additional gameplay modes to unlock. Boss Rush and Endless Battle modes add some additional life to the game. The latter of which brings an entirely new play style to the game: a bullet hell shoot-’em-up, for those brave enough to test their skills.
Carnage in Space: Ignition stands as a game that will have limited appeal to all but the most challenge-hungry gamers. It doesn’t provide anything we haven’t seen before, instead layering modern mechanics on a simple 2D platform foundation. It does, however, provide a pleasant break from the AAA rush; a ‘snackable’ game at its finest. For the asking price (£4.19 GBP at the time of writing) you could do far worse.