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Space Grunts is a turn-based spin on Nuclear Throne

You did not survive.

Space Grunts looks a lot like Nuclear Throne, but there's much more going on here. This is, at heart, a transposition of temperament, like that Woody Allen short story that recasts the Impressionists as dentists. Space Grunts takes the cramped maps and screen shake and high explosives of Vlambeer's game and adds a surprising twist, switching the action from real-time to turn-based.

What kind of turn-based? The kind where everyone takes their turn at once: where you move and so do the five gloopy space critters stalking you, and then you have an eternity, should you want it, to decide how to get yourself out of the disaster you've just created. Space Grunts operates on a room-by-room basis - you never know what's going to be waiting for you behind the next door - and you can get yourself into some truly terrible situations if you rush in without thinking.

At the core of the game is the weaponry: a range of different offensive options that boil down to their distinct fire patterns, with red outlines telling you which of the nearby grid squares will be targeted by each gun. Space Grunts is a dynamic puzzle, really, as you move around and try to get your foes into positions where you can hurt them but they can't hurt you.

The feedback's brilliant, and so's another trick that Space Grunts picked up from Nuclear Throne. Underlying all the carnage is a game about limited resources. You're not just shuffling between guns to get the spatial drop on your foes, you're conserving different types of ammo for different situations.

And best of all is a little option on the home screen that always fills my heart with joy: Daily Challenge. If I had one wish to be granted in 2016 it would be that more games found a way to incorporate this kind of thing: a bespoke mission, delivered every morning and gone, for the most part, in one disastrous fumble.

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Christian Donlan avatar

Christian Donlan

Features Editor

Christian Donlan is a features editor for Eurogamer. He is the author of The Unmapped Mind, published as The Inward Empire in the US.

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