A blend of a twin-stick shooter with a side of fresh cheesiness and some milk, Space Cows provides a good bit of entertainment and flatulence. You play as Best Regards, a farmer from Earth. Your favorite cow, Betsy, has been abducted by Mootants. Armed with your trusty but deadly plunger, you travel to a space station to try to rescue her. I managed to get through two levels playing on the Normoo difficulty. This difficulty is nearly at the level of Cuphead but just a tad more forgiving. There are also Cheeasy and Hardcow modes available to choose from. With Cheeasy difficulty, you have more lives and checkpoints, and the enemies are also slower. On Normoo difficulty, you have three lives and one checkpoint. On both Cheeasy and Normoo, you can collect milk to get extra lives. On Hardcow, you only have one life, there are no checkpoints, and you cannot get extra lives.
I played this mostly in handheld and some with the system docked while using the Joy-Cons. Both setups were great and responsive. I did struggle with the mini-games while on the TV. I am not completely sure why, but I believe it is a focus issue. The controls are basic like in most twin-stick shooters. The left stick is for movement, and the right stick controls your aim. The ZL button is used for Slowmoo, which of course, slows down time. This ability automatically recharges over time. The ZR button is used to shoot your plunger, but you can only shoot one plunger at a time. The L, R and A buttons allow you to use your flatulence to propel yourself a short distance (did I mention that Best Regards is only wearing a tank top and underwear with a helmet?). The X button gives you a rage ability that is charged up by fighting the Mootants. When activated, you have a lot of firepower at your disposal for a short time. The B button allows you to grab cows and bales of hay.
The strategy of the game is to work your way through the levels and fight off the Mootants. When the Mootants are eliminated, you collect orbs of milk. Once you collect 256 orbs, you can get an extra life. Some of the enemies are simply eliminated by hitting them with your plunger, while others require some other strategies, such as using the plunger to hit their shot back at them to get through their shielding. Along the way, you can grab cows and insert them into a chute to play mini-games. The result of the mini-games is to save the cows and collect extra milk. Both levels that I played had several different areas that required good strategy to complete, and with only one checkpoint, this can be tough but not impossible to do. Oddly, my only real complaint about gameplay revolves around lasers. Best Regards cannot simply move by a laser to avoid it, but he must boost using his flatulence to get past it. This is just one of the oddest things that I have ever seen in a game. The enemies, however, can also be destroyed by luring them through the lasers.
The music in the game gives it a nice sci-fi feel. The sound effects are also great. The most you will hear is the fart noises in menus and while boosting. Another fun sound aspect are some of the phrases that Mr. Regards says, such as, “I must plunge into the unknown” and “Ah ha, something’s milky!”. Just the cheesiness (pun intended) of the lines provide some great comic relief. I’m sure that as I continue to play, I will hear even better one-liners.
The graphics are smooth and polished but not at the quality of a AAA blockbuster game, and it does have a nice cel-shaded look. I did not notice any frame rate issues or lag while playing. One of the best looking parts of the game is while in Slowmoo: Shoot the plunger and you can see it flying away and spinning very clearly. It is more difficult to see during normal gameplay though. I did appreciate the detail that they put into this. The game uses the Unreal Engine, which has been well implemented, especially for the physics.
While I do like the difficulty, I did find it aggravating to go so far in the levels and fail, resulting in me having to go far back and try again. This seems like just one checkpoint away from what would be considered a normal difficulty. Along with the laser issue, the difficultly takes this game down a few notches. I’m still fighting myself about the difficulty issue, but on the other hand, if you compare it with Cuphead, it can be considered either as a game that gives some players a good challenge or a game that will result in you throwing your controller into the TV.
Developer: Happy Corruption
Publisher: All In! Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date: 5th September 2019
Do you agree with our review of Space Cows? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.