We’re always in awe of games developed by just one person, especially when they look as good as Remote Life.
By Mario Malagrino, Remote Life is a shoot ’em up with a fantastic sense of atmosphere. It invites players to jump into a future where fearsome alien creatures threaten the future of mankind. Heading into uncharted territory, their actions will affect the future of us all. No pressure then.
Playing the PS5 version for review, unfortunately Remote Life doesn’t make a good first impression. Its menu requires you to move a cursor around the screen to select options and even start a mission. Then, when you finally begin playing, likely jumping into the tutorial or prologue to get you up to speed, you’re likely to be disappointed by the quality of the writing and voice acting.
These things are somewhat forgiven as soon as you actually start moving and shooting, however. And besides, this is a shoot ’em up: you’re not buying it for the story or voice acting, are you? For shoot ’em up fans, then, most of the issues here will be easy to overlook. But that’s not to say that everything else is fine and dandy.
The first thing that will strike you about Remote Life when playing is that it looks absolutely phenomenal. It’s hands-down the best looking shoot ’em up available right now, complete with detailed, menacing-looking enemies and foreboding environments that feel metallic and cold yet alive. Your eyes are well and truly catered for, and the soundtrack is pretty good, too.
Moving on to the gameplay, Remote Life is unique in that it has twin stick shooter elements. You may be steadily moving left to right like in other scrolling shoot ’em ups, but via the right analogue stick you have the ability to shoot in any direction. Ands that goes for all three of your default guns, which you can switch between with the push of a button.
Additional guns that momentarily replace your standard guns until their ammo run out can be fired in all directions, too, and you also sometimes gain the use of additional turrets. It could be said that Remote Life actually overwhelms you with weapon pick-ups at times, placing so many in your path that it’s hard to keep track of them all.
But is there such a thing as too much firepower? We don’t think so. And in any case, Remote Life is anything but a walk in the park on even its easiest difficulty setting. It’s just a shame that it feels a little bit cheap at times, with enemies emerging from walls and other structures quick to take a life away from you if you’re not fast enough to shoot or avoid them.
Needless to say there’s an element of trial and error involved in success. Learning where enemies emerge is one thing, but there’s also the environment itself to consider. You’ll often be forced to hang back and wait around for a gateway to open, for example, perhaps too often, but then a stage will penalise you for doing that by having giant mechanical molars that close up and never reopen, forcing you to waste a life to get through them.
With 16 or so missions to complete, many ending with an epic boss battle, it’s the fact that each is directly accessible from the main menu that will keep you playing. You won’t mind dying so much when you can jump straight into the mission that’s causing you trouble rather than having to play through the previous ones to get there again. And as you go, you’ll unlock extras like faster ships and even an art gallery.
Remote Life is very impressive, considering it’s made by just one person. But it does have some issues that will prevent it from being remembered as one of the classics. Still, shoot ’em up fans are likely to want to add this to their collection. Not only does it look great, but the twin-stick shooter element makes it unique. If only it didn’t have so many gates to wait around for.
Remote Life Review – GameSpew’s Score