Space Beast Terror Fright is an FPS roguelite with hyper-focused mechanics, brutal difficulty, and fantastic atmosphere. I got back into this recently as something simple to do while bored but ended up obsessed with the intense gameplay arc and constant strategic thinking.
The goal of the game is incredibly simple. Download the random number of datacores on the spaceship, disable the coolant on the reactor, and get back to the airlock to escape. The only adversary is a constant wave of xenomorphs perpetually hunting you down. You have a few tools at your disposal: a gun, doors you can close to buy time, sentry turrets, and laser gates to disintegrate enemies.
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While it all sounds really simple to deal with, it only takes one mistake to end a run. You can only be hit once before death and are vastly outnumbered, with the difficulty increasing as more breaches allow aliens through. Initially, I dropped this game, considering it to be consistently unfair in level generation and too many unwinnable scenarios, but the more I played the more I realized how high the skill ceiling actually was. It’s all about constant micro-strategy and spending your time wisely. Do I close this door behind me to close off the hallway, or do I leave it open to backtrack through if needed? Is it worth grabbing ammo from this ammo vendor now or waiting until the xeno spawns get worse? What’s the best order to download the datacores in? Which angle do I hold line of fire on? All these decisions are being made at a fast pace because you have to constantly be moving and making progress if you want to live.
The run variety is very strong. The mazes of each spaceship you enter are randomly textured and the game does not use preset rooms. SBTF is also highly customizable allowing for nearly every aspect of the game to be tweaked to your preference; from dictating breach spawn rules and how often doors or laser gates show up to how often power outages can occur. Online multiplayer is also included and plays great, although the game is very niche so there’s generally only 5-7 people online, so you need to convince a friend to join.
Space Beast’s presentation is a big selling point for the game. Visually it goes for a sort of dated aesthetic feeling like an Xbox 360 game. The important things all glow distinct colors and it’s always very clear what’s what. The atmosphere is very eerie with goo leaking out of the ceiling and pitch-black hallways. There are a couple of caveats, however. The screen does bob in and out a lot during xeno contact, and the gunfire is very bright (both can be mitigated in settings). The audio design is incredible. Random creaking sounds will play and crepy howls will occur, the music ramps up more and more the closer an alien is, and the thumping of your radar scanner helps keep track of where enemies are. There are bugs that happen once in a while. Low infestation settings cause issues for lurking aliens and the game likes to crash in multiplayer once in a while but generally, it runs stable.
Space Beast Terror Fright is another example of simplistic, arcade perfection, nailing the few mechanics it has and being incredibly addictive with its short and brutal runs. It’s definitely not for everybody and has a steep learning curve, but with its high customizability and incredible atmosphere, It’s skyrocketed into being a very memorable game in my library.
Space Beast Terror Fright is available on Steam for $14.99
Space Beast Terror Fright
+ Creepy atmosphere
+ Intense, adrenaline inducing gameplay
+ Constant strategic choices
– Brutal difficulty could be off-putting
– occasional crashes in multiplayer