By Josh Speer / June 20th, 2019
I admit that initially I wasn’t slated to demo Cosmic Defenders. Generally I don’t play much from Natsume, just cause I’m not a huge fan of sim or management games. But thanks to my colleague Quentin, I ended up demoing the game in his stead, and that turned out to be a great thing. Because Cosmic Defenders isn’t a sim or management game. Developed by one man team Fiery Squirrel, it’s more of a tower defense styled game with crisp, colorful graphics and fun and frenetic gameplay.
The first thing that popped into my head when I started the demo was that this is what Runbow would look like if it were a tower defense. Both games are very bright and pleasant to look at, and have distinctive art that endears itself. But tower defense isn’t exactly right. The game is referred to as a “fast paced revolving shooter”, which feels more accurate. See, your goal in the game is to protect planets from destruction by violent aliens. They appear in orbit over the planet, and start attacking. Your goal is to run underneath them and blast them to space dust. It’s simple in concept, but gets complicated pretty quickly. For one thing, you have a base structure. If you get killed, you’ll regenerate from it. But if it gets destroyed first, it’s game over.
There are also aspects like portals that warp you to adjacent planets. There’s more elements than that, but it goes to illustrate that the simple mechanics don’t translate to a simple game. It’s actually a lot of frenetic fun. You can play Cosmic Defenders solo or with friends. Normally I prefer gaming solo, but this is one of those games that just works much better multiplayer. The reason is, you and up to 3 partners can coordinate and help each other to fend off the alien menaces. You each can pick a different Guardian, and each has slightly different stats. Some are fast, some are stronger, but there isn’t a wrong choice. When you’re by yourself, the game becomes more of a battle of attrition, especially in stages with multiple planets to protect from harm. I was much more anxious while playing solo, and I feel Cosmic Defenders is really made to be played in a group. Which is good, since it’s slated to release only on Switch in Fall 2019.
I had a lot of fun demoing Cosmic Defenders at E3 2019. Unique indies are my bread and butter, and this game by Venezuelan dev Fiery Squirrel checks most of my boxes. I have a lot of confidence this will be a great game when it comes out, and look forward to seeing how it’s received.
Cosmic DefendersE3 2019Fiery SquirrelmultiplayerNatsumeoprainfallRunbowSwitch exclusive