Review: Score Rush Extended (PS4)

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Title: Score Rush Extended
Format: PlayStation Network Download (170.9 MB)
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Publisher: Xona Games Inc.
Developer: Xona Games Inc.
Original MSRP: $11.99
ESRB Rating: E
Score Rush Extended is exclusive to PlayStation 4. It was originally released as an experimental Xbox Live Indie Games title and PC (HTML5) as Score Rush.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
This will probably be the shortest review I’ve written for PS Nation. Not because Score Rush Extended is a bad game and not because there isn’t much to say about it. Simply put, Score Rush Extended is just a fun arcade romp that owes no one a storyline or a motivation for your mass murder of bad guys.

“Bad guys,” what an interesting label for these antagonists. Who are these enemies anyway? What is there intention? Is there a reason why you should be killing them? What did they ever do to you? Even old Galaga had a “kill the invader” motivation. Not here, no.

You are score hunting, pure and simple. Destroy or be destroyed. And in terms of bullet hell, since this is a shoot-em-up, it really is the enemy that should fear your bullet hell, since you almost immediately become a geyser of colorful bullet onslaught.

Score Rush Extended_20160608191142

Indeed, the entire screen becomes ablaze with your stream of electronic death. And there is a bit of a fantastic design here, because the bad guys here aren’t without their own offensive method. You’ll find yourself having to dodge dozens of incoming little purple bullets until… you go through them?

What? I just went through those bullets unscathed. I don’t remember picking up an “invincibility” power up. Or perhaps I did and, in the flurry of bullet madness I missed it. Except it happened again. Am I just invincible in this game? Nope, right then I exploded.

… paint the entire screen with your firepower …
(Updated) As I now understand, you are temporarily invincible when the screen shakes. This was done in an effort to prevent “cheap deaths.” My initial interpretation of the situation was that I was avoiding death because the enemies I had destroyed no longer possessed a threat. This temporary invincibility is an testament to the developer’s understanding of how shoot-em-ups work, from a deep appreciation of the genre. Additionally, the larger portion of your ship is also invulnerable, leaving the small diamond shape within as the area you need to absolutely protect.

They will rain hell on you, and sometimes you will have to look for that moment of flashing to dive through a sea of enemy fire. And that’s it folks. Destroy or be destroyed. Collect as many upgrades as you can in order to paint the entire screen with your firepower and rack up that score.

Score Rush Extended_20160608191355

Visuals:
It’s simple and chaotic. What else is there to say? There are no cinematics and no backdrops to speak of which is probably a good thing. There is so much going on on-screen that anything else would simply be distracting.

And the developer made a conscious choice to avoid any such distractions. Despite the madness, the game holds up very well, allowing you to focus on destruction and dodging.

… it is as insane as it sounds …
Audio:
The soundtrack here is pretty slick, featuring rock tunes, à la electronic. It also takes advantage of the controller’s speaker for explosions and some upgraded sound effects that, once again, give the illusion of playing in an arcade house. I’m a huge fan of the PS4’s controller speaker.

Online/Multiplayer:
I didn’t spend much time with multiplayer because I didn’t have three friends with me at the same time to play it. But four player same screen is supported here, and yes, it is as insane as it sounds, what with four players lighting up the screen at the same time. It also includes a two-ship per player option.

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Conclusion:
This is a short burst experience. You won’t sit for hours with Score Rush Extended, or maybe you will, what the hell do I know? But the time you spend with it will be a intensely fun one.

I carpool with a friend to work, so sometimes in the morning, I sit in my living room waiting for him to pick me up. One morning I decided to boot up this game and rack up a quick score, to see how high I could get before I heard the familiar honk outside.

Before that I booted up the game while waiting for my fiancé to get ready to go out for dinner. I made my own challenges, because this is a fun game to play in bursts.

But in every one of those scenarios, I hated turning the game off before my session was over. It is a fun little shooter. Expect only that, and you’ll be entertained.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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  • Matthew Doucette

    Rey, thanks for the review!

    Just a few notes of clarification! I hope this helps both you and your readers! (P.S. Feel free to address these notes in your review and remove my comments here.)

    1) Score Rush Extended was never available on the PC in HTML. The game you are thinking of was a port of the original Score Rush on Xbox 360 dating over 5 years ago. Score Rush Extended is the sequel and expansion to that game. The HTML version of the original is no longer available.

    2) Only your diamond shaped hitbox is vulnerable. This is explained in the HOW TO PLAY screens under HELP / OPTIONS — my disclaimer! It is a common bullet hell game mechanic — meaning that many shmup fans are aware of it. This is why the bullets seem to not hit you.

    3) Sorry about this, but you are not invulnerable for the two reasons you give (enemy is destroyed before the bullet hits you, or enemy is flashing). It’s interesting to me that you determined this is how the game was working! Read next point…

    4) However, you are invulnerable whenever the screen shakes — which was an effort to never kill a player due to the game’s fault. If the screen shakes and you cannot determine where you are and you die, then you would blame the game. So we nullify this possibility. This is also explained in the HOW TO PLAY screens under HELP / OPTIONS. It was never supposed to be a game mechanic to be used, but it can be. We had to mention it in our screens to help understand why you do not die at times, but the moment we mention it, it becomes a usable feature.

    Thanks for reviewing (and enjoying) the game!

    • Hey Matthew, thanks for the update. I got the PC info from your website but I guess I wasn’t entirely clear on it. I fixed that now.

      • Matthew Doucette

        I should be more clear on my site, as there is much confusion between these games. My efforts are to concentrate on the latest release, while using the accolades of the previous releases to let people know why they should care about it. It makes for confusion! I appreciate you tracking down more information off my site!

        • Believe me, I appreciate that you even have a site, and you’re certainly ahead of the game compared to some others.

          I can’t tell you how hard it is to track down the info at the top for some games, big and small. I set that up for our reviewers so they can focus on the review itself but it can be really frustrating sometimes.

          • Matthew Doucette

            Good to hear (that I am ahead of the game!) I also appreciated that you took your OWN screenshots. You would not believe — or maybe you would — how many reviews use the screenshots we (have to) send them.

          • Ha! That’s actually a very big deal for us. We had capture cards for the PS3 but not all our writers had them, so if someone else had the game they’d grab screenshots for the reviewer.

            I’m very much of the mind that we use screens from the publisher only as a last resort or if they require it (which some do every now and then). That’s why we make it clear at the bottom where the screens are from.

            I’d rather people see the game as it is rather than a carefully crafted PR experience. With it being so easy now on the PS4 and Vita there’s no excuse.

    • Rey Barrera

      Thanks for reading and for your pointers. It’s pretty awesome that you thought of everything when making it to prevent “cheap” deaths. And it definitely works here. I always knew when I screwed up, and never felt like it was the game’s fault. I had no idea about the shakes, though. I thought it was reflecting the dead enemies, so I apologize for that. I did (and still do) really enjoyed the game. It is definitely a love letter to shoot-em-up fans.

  • Matthew Doucette

    Also, the game is on sale for less than $10 (and $9) for PSN (and PS+) players. 🙂

    • That’s good for people to know, thanks 🙂

      We always just put the list price in our reviews because sales come and go and (sadly) nobody here has time to keep up with changing prices in the reviews.

      It’s why we also link to the PSN Store page for the game so people can quickly find it if the game sounds interesting to them.

      • Matthew Doucette

        I understand. Thanks for explaining your end. I am (slowly) learning how to release and market games! 🙂