Shred Nebula Review
Shred Nebula box art
System: X360 (XBLA) Review Rating Legend
Dev: CrunchTime Games 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: CrunchTime Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sept. 3, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 (Online 2-8) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Why doesn't a "game over" simply deduct a specific number of points, rather than taking away everything earned? And why is it often possible to hyper jump before all the enemies are dead, sometimes when the text bubbles (rife with misspellings) are warning of a major ship approaching?

Shred Nebula screenshot

This game is, much like BioShock, simultaneously too hard and too easy. In both games it's remarkably challenging to defeat all the enemies without dying, but both make it possible to avoid powerful foes and simply plop the player back down whenever they kick the bucket. Facing the final boss of Shred Nebula cost us double-digit "game overs," but when it comes down to it, who cares? The ending is ridiculously anticlimactic anyway, amounting to little more than "keep an eye out for Shred Nebula 2, kids!"

Multiplayer mode, while less innovative, fares significantly better. With slightly tweaked controls, players can choose from numerous vehicles and duke it out in well-designed arenas, either on a split screen (two players) or online (up to eight). There's even a split-screen Score Attack mode.

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The sheer number of options - various ships, various attacks, various power-ups, various dodging maneuvers, etc. - makes this a genuinely strategic competition. CrunchTime's CEO is putting together a tournament with the goal of raising $50,000 for prizes.

All this game takes place against a backdrop of techno and rock music. It works, but it doesn't truly complement or enhance the game; it doesn't sound otherworldly. The same space air that slows down the ship carries the sounds of enemy vehicles exploding, which are convincing enough to forgive the unscientific touch.

Shred Nebula has the right idea: Take top-down shooter action, spice it up a little, and create stages for people who prefer identifiable goals to random point-chasing. Complement this with a great multiplayer mode. In executing this idea, the developers didn't exactly hit the nail on the head. In some ways, they pretty much missed the nail entirely, but there's a lot they did right, and it's worth the 800 points ($10) for anyone who's getting sick of Geometry Wars and its sequel.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.6
Graphics
Spectacular, though it's a little weird to play such a simple game in such high detail.
3.8
Control
They're hard to get used to. The steering is quite bad but other than that, there's probably no better way to pack so many functions into the Xbox 360 controller.
3.1
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The explosions are fine, but the rock and techno music doesn't quite click.
3.5
Play Value
The ability to die an unlimited number of times without losing any ground kills the single-player adventure mode, but multiplayer is a ton of fun.
3.6
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Special effects and spectacular space environments utilize 3-D to create depth.
  • Three different modes of play.
  • Multiplayer action, both split-screen and up-to-eight-player online matches.
  • Deep multiplayer space combat system, with weapon vs. weapon counters, defensive maneuvers, and special attacks.
  • Five different leaderboards.
  • Screen Resolutions: Up to 1080i (Standard HDTV, Widescreen).


  • Screenshots / Images
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