Do you enjoy exploring space? Fighting giant bugs and robots? GETTING LOOT? Well then, you may be interested in Space Pioneer. The Switch has ended up with a lot of little App style games, some bad, some good, and Space Pioneer definitely falls into the latter category.
In Space Pioneer you act as somewhat of a blend between bounty hunter and janitor, visiting planets and getting rid of the hostile indigenous creatures, which occasionally include robots. While the plot is rather lacking in substance, it does make the game easy to jump into, play for a bit, and then put down.
I might be dating myself a bit with this reference, but if you ever played a game for the N64 called Robotron 64, you know the basic premise of how the game will work. Essentially you have a small map you can walk around, completing various objectives, such as “hold a point” from waves of enemies, or picking up items and carrying them to certain locations. You have a couple of tools at your disposal to help you out with the local wildlife.
You start out with an assault rifle, and as you get rid of the creatures infesting the worlds you visit, you gain coins and exp. When you level you gain access to new weapons and gear, with three possible classes and a variety of weapons, such as a shotgun and laser gun. You run and gun, complete objectives, collect coins, and occasionally fight a boss or two on your way. Unlike the pain that was Robotron 64 after 90 levels of the same enemies over and over, Space Pioneer keeps things fresh with the variable missions, gear loadout customization, and handy robot companion that I personally started calling “The Memebot” after it started spouting lines such as “never gonna give you up”. It doesn’t start out super handy in a fight, but it does draw fire and respawn after a time if it dies, so it’s nice if you use your gun too much and it overheats, forcing you to wait out the cooldown period.
The game isn’t complicated, but that’s good because it makes it easy to pick up and roll with. I really loved picking Space Pioneer up for a couple of 5 to 10 minute rounds in between doing other things, or clearing a few planets before bed. With three planet missions to complete, and five challenges to work on that will reward you with coins and weapon and skill upgrade cards, which can be used to enhance your skills and gear, there’s a surprising amount of customization for your character and weapon loadouts. There are a bunch of different planet locales, such as lava or volcano areas and ice fields, with different enemy sets on each planet type you visit. The bosses appear fairly often, making for a sort of refreshing change in pace from the short one-off style objective based stages that make up most of the game.