Is there anything more juvenile than toilet humour? You know what I am talking about, especially if you’re a parent of a pre-teen boy (God help me…). We are talking about all the puke, pee and poop jokes that generally make people roll their eyes in disgust. Well, it’s a damn good thing that I am a 12-year-old stuck inside an adults body otherwise everything about Space Cows would make me uncomfortable.
As the very first game to come from indie developers Happy Corruption, get ready to embark on a twin-stick shooter haven of all things gross.
In the opening crawl, very much inspired by the likes of Star Wars, we get the story behind Space Cows that sets the tone of the whole game with the opening line “The story so fart…”. You play as the farmer named Best Regards and you are tasked with rescuing abducted cows in hopes of finding your cow and best friend (who is also a cow). Grabbing his mighty plunger, Best Regards disguises himself as a cow and once he is abducted, he starts the search for his cow.
Fans of twin-stick shooters will pick up on the flow of the game relatively quickly, but if you have avoided the genre as a whole then I will explain it. In Space Cows specifically, Best Regards is in space, so with all restrictions of gravity not being present, he can move freely around. Like in most twin-stick games, you are able to move freely around the level in any direction as well as shoot in any direction. Movement can be a little bit a learning curve at first as Best Regards does not stop immediately. Think of it like playing a game with the ice level, you have to always compensate for that little extra slide that happens.
Of course, Best Regards isn’t going to space with no special abilities. He can move easily enough, but there are times when he may be cornered and need to get away quickly, in that case, he can rocket propel himself away by letting out the farts of your worst nightmare. You are also able to shoot in any direction as enemies will fly at you from all directions, but that may not always be good enough especially when the screen starts to fill up with enemies. When that happens, if your special ability is filled up, you hit the X button and Best Regards gets a short special attack where he shoots a lot of bigger plungers that are larger and much quicker.
There are, unfortunately, not many variants to enemies that you will face in Space Cows. Most of what you will encounter are these puke looking blobs that can do damage only by touching you, don’t let the fact that they are peons fool you, they may be easy to kill, but there will frequently be a LOT of them and so they can corner you quickly. You will come across a few other enemies as you progress through the game that are a bit tougher. Some stationary guns will shoot at you with bullets that are large and fast, the best way to counter that is if you shoot your plunger at those bullets, they will reflect and kill the guns. Some enemies take more than one shot to kill as well. The others are sprinkled throughout the level, but mostly your fight is against the puke blob enemies.
There is one major point I want to cover about Space Cows that may either swing your wallet in one way or another, and that is the difficulty of the game. I was really excited for my pre-teen to play the game as the gross humour is right up his alley. However, after playing the game for roughly an hour he gave my Switch back to me and said he didn’t want to play the game anymore as it was very difficult. I thought that was strange until I started playing the game myself and discovered how utterly brutal the game is, even on the easiest difficulty! I did ok on the first few levels, but by the time I got to level 3, I felt like the game was difficult enough that if I played on the hardest difficulty, it would be literally impossible to beat.
I can appreciate a challenge, but if a game is breaking your will to live on the easiest difficulty (especially one that seems to be marketed for kids!), then perhaps the difficulty dial needs to be turned back a little bit so that it is more enjoyable and less frustrating?
Space Cows proved to be a fun but challenging first game from Happy Corruption. Overall, I found flying around the space station and taking in all the gross gags to be funny, not too close to being over the top. The major concern I have is the insane difficulty spike which may push people away. I came for dad jokes and fart humour, but didn’t quite expect Dark Souls inspired difficulty!