Usually when I boot up a new game published by Ratalaika Games I’m not too impressed as they usually are cheaper pixel-art games aimed at those who are looking to earn some easy trophies. Every now and then though they publish a game that surprises me and one of the latest ones called Remote Life did just that. Remote Life is a sci-fi side-scrolling shoot ‘em up from a one man developer Next Game Level and as someone who quite likes this genre, I came away from it quite pleased.
Remote Life is a 2D shmup that reminds me a lot of a game like R-Type so if you too were a fan of those games then you’ll want to check this out. As soon as I started playing it, I was blown away by just how good the presentation is as while it’s a 2D game it has fantastic 3D animated visuals. The story set up is that you play as a pilot named John Leone who is on a mission to annihilate the Alien Hive that is threatening the planet. Over the course of 16 missions you’ll use over 18 weapons to take down all manner of alien monsters and tough bosses.
While the game is a shmup it controls a bit like a twin-stick shooter as the left stick moves your ship while the right stick allows you to aim your cannon anywhere. Firing is done with the triggers on the DualSense, the shoulder buttons let you swap between weapons and the circle button unleashes a special attack. Having access to so many different weapons is a blast and you can have 4 equipped at any one time. Now while this is a shmup it sadly lacks any form of scoring so those who like to rack up high scores and see how they stack up to others won’t be able to do that in this game. Levels are instead all about navigating the terrain, wiping out the lesser enemies, and taking out the boss at the end. My only issue while playing was that some of the tighter corridors could be tricky to navigate leading to some cheap deaths and some of the enemy fire could be tough to keep track of as it blends a bit too much into the backgrounds. Even when I died in the game though I never felt too bad about it as you can easily jump back into any level in the game that you want.
I already mentioned that the visuals are one of the most impressive things about Remote Life but the audio is pretty good as well. The electronic soundtrack fits the busy action on-screen well and the sound effects are quite satisfying too. The game also has some extras you can mess around with like screen filters, graphic effect toggles, and a few difficulty modes should you find yourself struggling. If you’re a trophy hunter you’ll find 19 trophies in total to hunt down including a Platinum. It’s another pretty easy list from Ratalaika that only asks that you beat all the missions to earn them all.
For a game made by one man, Remote Life is a very impressive shmup that any fan of the genre should check out. The twin-stick controls make it feel quite a bit different from other shmups and using all the different weapons on offer is a blast. The high-octane gameplay is also matched by some of the most impressive 3D visuals I’ve seen in a shoot ‘em up. While it has some issues in level design, Remote Life is still absolutely worth your time.
*Remote Life is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 5 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.