Too Angry To Space is the first title from Polish-based developer AK84C, blending the 2D platforming and shoot ’em up genres in a retro-esque art style. Too Angry To Space is advertised as a throwback to the old days of hellish platform games that punish you for not keeping up with the difficulty curve, and I found that Too Angry To Space met what was advertised and more.
The plot of Too Angry To Space is, much like the games it seeks to emulate, essentially non-existent. In Too Angry To Space, you are Red Madson, the last person alive on a hostile space station. Your mission? Get out alive. Other than the introduction and ending credits, that’s the only time the plot comes into play – and honestly, I’m very glad for this. AK84C really nailed the feel of a retro platformer, by having the focus of the game be on gameplay, not the plot.
Too Angry To Space doesn’t require you to spend much time in learning the controls; they’re laid out very simply on your keyboard, with everything nice and tight so that you don’t have to lunge over your keyboard to hit needed keys. I only needed the first non-tutorial level to completely master the controls, and while I didn’t test AK84C’s claims that you can play Too Angry To Space with one hand and hold an ice-cold beer with the other, I’m sure it’s completely doable.
Your arsenal doesn’t have a lot of variety, but it’s very effective; you begin the game with a pistol and a rifle, picking up a shotgun and a rocket launcher in the later half of the game. I found that most enemies in Too Angry To Space can be easily dispatched in a few rounds from your rifle, with the other weapons only being necessary when you’re low on rifle ammunition. There are only two enemies that absolutely require you to use other weapons: the jelly-alien, which has a hitbox that only the shotgun can hit when on level ground; and eye-aliens, which can be killed with the rifle, but can be killed much quicker with a single rocket round.
However, neither of these alien enemies start to appear in levels until the later half of the game, which disappoints me as Too Angry To Space is billed as the player fighting against aliens and robots. The robots simply have more variety and more numbers, even in the levels where the aliens start to appear – I would have liked to see the variety and numbers in the aliens as I did with the robots.
In addition to these traditional weapons, players in Too Angry To Space have access to the “Angry Mode”, which turns Red Mason into a one-man killing machine for twenty seconds. There are a couple different ways to activate Angry Mode, but the results are the same regardless of how it’s activated; Red Madson has a faster movement rate, and your weapons have different spray patterns than usual. While this sounds very useful, it doesn’t work out in practice. Outside of the three bosses, there aren’t many levels where there are enough clusters of enemies for Angry Mode be useful. While running into new rooms guns blazing works on the lower levels of difficulty, it’s very wasteful on harder difficulties.
Speaking of whichToo Angry To Space has four levels of challenge to choose from: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Ultra, which is unlocked after the game has been beaten once. The enemies you encounter in each level of difficulty are exactly the same, in terms of both the damage needed to destroy them as well as the damage they do to you. Instead, the amount of ammunition found in ammo boxes decreases as you pump up the setting. On Easy mode, a rifle ammo box has forty rounds, while on Ultra they only give you one round. To compensate for this, on Ultra you begin with all four weapons and completely maxed capacity, but players absolutely need to learn to conserve their ammunition and use it very carefully; this means memorizing where enemies are, how much ammunition is required to destroy them, and making sure your aim is spot-on.
Level designs vary throughout Too Angry To Space, with each requiring different skills from the player. Some levels make use of platforms which collapse after standing on them for even a single second, or require you to navigate across moving platform, while other levels feature hazards such as fire and toxic gas which rapidly decrease your health – or even outright kill you. Thankfully there’s nothing that breaks immersion, such as bottomless pits, which I am endlessly grateful for. While the first four levels aren’t bad in terms of difficulty, Too Angry To Space quickly proves its mantra of “No Hand Holding” after the boss fight in Level 5 – difficulty ramps up immensely, and players need to match that difficulty curve or get left behind.
Too Angry To Space has unlockable achievements, but they function more like milestone markers than something to strive towards. I would have liked to see players be rewarded for accomplishing incredibly difficult tasks such as beating the game on only one life, or using only their pistol. Some achievements seem to not unlock despite meeting the conditions to do so; I’ve played the game between 2am and 3am numerous times, yet I still haven’t unlocked the Night Owl achievement (which is unlocked by playing the game for thirty minutes between 2am and 3am). If you don’t care about Steam achievements, then this won’t impact your enjoyment of Too Angry To Space, but its something I would have liked to see AK84C put more creativity into.
Ultimately, I enjoyed Too Angry To Space because it didn’t rely on gimmicky mechanics or novelty in order to be good. It was a return to the basics of the platforming and shoot ’em up genres- levels that force you to memorize the layout in order to progress, and ammunition restrictions that force you to improve your accuracy and be extremely conservative in use. Casual players will enjoy it because it can be played through very quickly on Easy, while those appreciate a challenge will enjoy how the game makes them work to win.
Too Angry To Space is a 2D platformer and shoot ’em up hybrid that meets what it set out to do. The game is a fun, challenging retro throwback to the days when players didn’t have unlimited lives and didn’t have their hands held beyond a single tutorial level. Get used to seeing the “Game Over” screen, because it will be a constant companion in this game.
Too Angry To Space was reviewed through Steam with a code provided by the developer.
Too Angry To Space is a fun, challenging game that will make you work to beat it. Minimal Steam achievements and lack of enemy variety don't distract from your experiences in the slightest.