Space Marshals review: the Wild West comes to outer space

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When I think of outer space and the Wild West, I think of Firefly. I love the idea of combining laser blasters and horses, or six-shooters and alien plant life. Some of my favorite science fiction movies are basically westerns set in a galaxy far, far away.

Space Marshals combines the two genres into one seamless top-down shooter. Grab your guns and hitch a ride on the space shuttle. Hang on to your hats, because this here is one blazing saddle (was that enough western referencing for you?). We’ve got a full review of Space Marshals for you today.


The story is set on an alien planet with an old west feel. Your main character and his cohorts are all former marshals that have been imprisoned for an unknown reason and recently pardoned because their prison ship was attacked by bandits that were rescuing one of the baddest outlaws in the galaxy. As newly reinstated marshals, your team goes on the hunt to track down and kill all known criminals on the planet.

Players control Marshal Bart. With him, you will enter secret camps and find enemies to shoot. Using dual stick controls, you can hide, shoot, move, and throw pipe bombs. You will also be able to loot bullets, shields, health, and more from various location.

The graphics for this game are pretty sweet. It was built on the Metal API, so things look crisp and move smoothly. There is always ambient sound in the background with a properly timed soundtrack that changes moods whenever you reach a specific location or event.

The game is also story-based. Although the action is the purpose, the dialogue is entertaining. Players learn about the three former/newly reinstated marshals throughout the game and each member has a particular personality.

Players control the aiming and firing mechanics from the right side of the screen and the movement and object interactions on the left side of the screen. However, depending on your preference, you can actually switch sides and use movement and weapons on the opposite sides.

As the game progresses, you’ll earn new weapons with better features. Eventually, you’ll be able to select from a variety of weapon types, including shotguns, sniper rifles, crossbows, throwing axes, and more.

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The goal of each mission is to kill bad guys and make it to the destination without dying. Additional goals include finding clues and killing particularly bad baddies. If you make it through an entire mission without dying once, find all of the hidden clues, and kill the minimum number of high-value targets, you’ll earn the highest score and unlock the best weapons. If you don’t succeed the first time, you can replay levels until you complete all achievements.

Players are sent out on missions, like rescuing teammates or tracking down a specific bad guy. Once at the location, you will be able to squat down into sneak mode to hide from bad guys. Then, it is your choice whether to attack or avoid. You can stay out of an enemy’s line of sight, but they move around a lot so don’t assume you are in the clear or you’ll get caught from behind.

You can ambush an unsuspecting enemy by sneaking up on him and then blasting him unawares. Sometimes, this method will kill a baddie in one shot. However, well-armored enemies will always take more bullets.

On each mission, you will have to follow specific instructions, like disable an alarm, or unlock a cell. Once one task is completed, there is always another. Usually, there are about three tasks within a mission with a big boss at the end.

In addition to completing each task, you’ll need to look for helpful clues. If you find all of the clues, you’ll earn a more powerful weapon unlock. You can also pick up shields, health, and bullets on the ground. Sometimes, you’ll even find bonus power ups, like invisibility, berserk mode, or speed.

Once you’ve unlocked enough weapons, you’ll be able to choose from a wide variety. You can hold one single-handed gun and one two-handed gun. The type of weapon you choose is up to you. Select from such options as assault rifles, handguns, energy weapons, and more.

The game’s story supposedly takes place in three chapters. This download includes the first chapter. Hopefully, the next two chapters will be included with this game for free.

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The Good

I love this type of shooter. Players can hide out and duck down until time to attack. Then, hit the enemy while he is sleeping or has his back turned. Aim and fire, then duck again.

The storyline is also interesting enough to keep you coming back for more. It gives your missions a deeper meaning.

The graphics are definitely impressive on my iPad Air. I can only imagine how great they must look on the newest generation Apple tablet.

The Bad

I really wish this game were MFi game controller compatible. That would really make this stand out.


Space Marshals costs $4.99. This is definitely console quality and could easily go for more. At five dollars, you are really getting your money’s worth. Even if the next two chapters cost money, the overall value is still impressive. Because you can replay levels for additional scoring and better weapons, the replay value is fairly high.


Basically, if you like tactical shooter games, get this. It is a no-brainer. You won’t be disappointed. I am having a blast playing it. In fact, I spent about an hour playing it this morning when I should have been writing the review. I also plan on heading back in right after I’ve finished. This game is available on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Download it in the App Store today.

Related Apps

This kind of reminds me of D.A.R.K., but you could also say it is similar to Call of Duty because of its tactical shooter nature (although, that’s stretching the term quite a bit).

What do you think of Space Marshals? Let us know in the comments below.