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.

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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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