Sawbuck Gamer

Star Glaive

Back Atcha

Star Glaive gives alien invaders a taste of their own medicine.

By Matt Kodner • March 4, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

In the grim future of Star Glaive, alien conquistadors have come knocking with their space frigates. Earth’s final and only defense is—as always—a pitiable prototype. Scientists have figured out the art of making airplanes shoot lasers in space but have yet to master it. Humanity’s last hope, the Star Glaive, is instead outfitted with a bubble-like shield that traps enemy shots and sends them flying back at the bevy of alien dreadnoughts that are rapping on Earth’s door.

Star Glaive first pits you in one-on-one battles against the aliens’ wussiest of wusses—with names like The Star Frog and The Dreaming Whale—to help you develop your pilot chops. It isn’t until chewier baddies like the ruthless Deadly Wolf show up that the Busby Berkeley-esque pyrotechnics of space battle swing into full force. Often, the challenge comes not from avoiding the kaleidoscopic rain of lasers but from trying to hoard enemy attacks so you can unleash all that pent-up energy with a superpowered assault against the intergalactic Hernán Cortés wannabes. There’s no upgrade system to speak of, so don’t expect to lean on new gadgetry. Your success, as well as all of Earth’s fate, is entirely up to your own skill. Don’t let our old planet become some space colonizers’ New World.

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13 Responses to “Back Atcha”

  1. This was pretty great! The spaceships and names reminded me of doodles I used to draw in my grade school notebooks after reading about Darius Twin in Nintendo Power, and the gameplay was a unique spin on the shoot-em-up genre that was really fun to play!

    • lokimotive says:

      Your little anecdote about being inspired to doodle after looking at Nintendo Power reminded me of that constant sense of wonder I had when reading video game news despite never actually owning a console until I was, like, 18. There was never any game that could match how awesome I envisioned them being by reading game magazines.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        I looooved reading game magazines as a kid. They made the games sound way more fun than they were though.

        There’s this game for DS called I think Retro Game Challenge that sort of simulates this. This game wizard dude sends you back in time to play videogames in the 80’s with his childhood self and you have to beat little challenges he assigns for you in these faux-retro games. The best part is the fake retro game mags that the kid is subscribed to and you can read. It is seriously awesome. There’s a Galaga type game and even a full Dragon Quest-like rpg. It’s great. Check it out if you can.

        • Girard says:

          And that game was related to the cult favorite Japanese show “Game Center CX (aka Retro Game Master).

          I haven’t seen much of it (Kotaku aired a season of it last year, which  I think was it’s only legit Western release, but they’ve since lost the rights to it), but it seems pretty widely celebrated.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          Oh yeah!

          Huh, I didn’t really realize it was from that show, because I’ve never seen it. Supposedly it’s like Top Gear for Videogames? Hopefully without the shitty hosts?

          Also there’s a sequel to the game, but it’s only available in japanese and it has fake SNES era games. Fuck.

        • Chalkdust says:

           @Fyodor Douchetoevsky There’s a US release, kind of a ‘Best of’ collection of Game Center CX episodes.

  2. Effigy_Power says:

    Some of the ships give off a definite FTL-vibe… Neat.

    • EmperorNortonI says:

       Yeah, the ship in the photo up there looks like a Mantis.

    • Chum Joely says:

      I thought some of them looked a little like Reapers.

      May I hijack the opportunity to complain that, since for various reasons the “character recovery” (avatar and story) for going from Mass Effect 1 to Mass Effect 2 is not working on my PS3, I had to rebuild my fantastic ME1 Zeta Shepard from scratch?

      And that the very best I could do with the ME2 character builder was this lightweight little ME2 Zeta Shepard?
      Apparently the cloning/cybernetic reconstruction process makes you 15 years younger, skinnier, and whiter (despite darkest available skin tone), with the corresponding massive loss of gravitas. Jennifer Hale’s incredible voice work goes a long way to make up the difference, though.

      Man, that was a pathetic stretch from the supposed topic of this thread. Let me say that Star Glaive is really pretty great. I actually like this a lot better right off the bat than, I dunno, Galaga. Maximal thumbs up.

      In conclusion, “glaive” is apparently an actual word.

      • PaganPoet says:

        Sailor Saturn carried a glaive! Not at all ashamed to be a 28 year old man excited to point out that bit of trivia.

      • Fixda Fernback says:

        First thing that came to my mind upon reading about a “Glaive” was the movie Krull.

        • Chum Joely says:

          Yeah, I saw in the wiki entry that there was a link like “For the fictional weapon The Glaive, click here”.  I haven’t seen Krull so I didn’t make that leap, but it kind of looks like that’s the more appropriate reference for this game.

        • Fixda Fernback says:

          @ChumJoely:disqus Yeah, I saw that according to one part of the entry for glaive (generic, not from Krull haha), it mentions that usage of the word to refer to that sort-of thrown projectile, boomerang-like weapon came into use around the 1980’s… I wonder if it was because of Krull, or if Krull used “The Glaive” because of it’s increasing prominence?