Cosmic Ray was officially released on 28 September 2018 on Steam. It was developed and published by Cosmocat. It is casual arcade space exploration game set against a clock counting down to the end of all mankind.
AIR Entertainment obtained a digital copy of the game for review purposes. It costs R27 ZAR / $2 USD / £1.4 GBP at the time of this article.
If you are subscribed to AIR Entertainment’s Youtube Channel, you can catch a glimpse of AIR Entertainment’s gameplay video along with some other game videos. For your convenience, you can also watch it here below:
The story of Cosmic Ray is quite simple. Earth’s sun is about to die, and the inhabitants of earth, namely humans, have five days left to do something about it. It is the player’s responsibility to race through the universe in these five days, find other solar systems with planets that can be colonised, and make said planet habitable for all the Earth’s millions of people.
Putting aside that this would never be possible in reality (racing the universe in five days), it is a game after all that was intended for players to simply pass the time when they have nothing better to do. Not only does one have five days in the game, but in real time you have less than a few minutes.
Once the clock times out, the Earth’s inhabitants, or those who have not been moved onto your new planets, die. If there is even one sole survivor still on Earth, you still fail. Yet, flying through space is not all you will be face with. There will be aliens waiting to kill the player, who drop spare parts for upgrades once they are killed. So not only does one waste time killing aliens while time is ticking away, but somehow in this time one must also find time to upgrade the ship.
The gameplay is also very simple, which is great for a game of this kind. Arrows send you in the direction one wants to fly, one button sends missiles into alien ships, and another button spreads terraform agent onto planet to make it habitable.
As simple as that sounds though, it is not that easy to always maneuver the vehicle. One also has to scan the space for nearby solar systems with planets, which thankfully works easily enough. The only major concern is that the calculations for obtaining enough habitation for 34 million people within the set time does not seem to work. After playing the game several times, there is almost a loss of hope that this will ever be achievable.
Nothing about playing the game makes it fun enough to return again, which is sad considering that I love space exploration and terraforming games. The gameplay doesn’t reward the player enough to create any desire to return. Even if there was enough time to save all the inhabitants with several days to spare, the gameplay becomes rather dull after the fifth playthrough.
Pew pew pew pew. Enjoy hearing that sound for the bulk of the game while blasting at aliens. The surrounding space sounds were somewhat interesting at least, if not borrowed from old sci fi games and television shows. It is definite reminder of the good old retro games.
The graphics is reminiscent of Asteroids in 3D. Some of the lighting and 3D views are actually spectacular, which is the only highlight of the game. The planets were captured quite well in several instances. Other than that, there isn’t much than can be said in terms of worthy eye-candy.
If players are looking for a space travelling, pre-apocalyptic, terraforming indie game, there are other games out there that are recommended over Cosmic Ray. As as cheap game, it will definitely help you pass the time, but just isn’t interesting enough to play more than a few times.
I hope that the game sees some further development in time to come, but for now it is a hard pass.