Death Ray Manta SE (PC) Review

By Adam Riley 24.12.2016

Review for Death Ray Manta SE on PC

Fans of arena-based shmups may already be aware of Rob Fearon's past efforts, like Squid Yes, Not So Octopus and its sequel SYNSO 2, and he also did the challenge mode in a similarly styled effort called Waves. Not heard of those? Well, how about the Geometry Wars series? Ah yes, there we go. Attention caught, right? Welcome to Death Ray Manta SE, cut from the same cloth and ready to rattle some nerves and get the heart pumping like crazy. You will hate it, but then you will love it, then it will make you cry…and maybe hate it some more, before adoring it again. A real roller coaster of emotions!

Ever wanted to play as a manta ray? How about a deadly manta ray that has lasers in his head, but one day blew up his house, and lives in space instead? Stories are not important in games of this ilk, but if you are going to have one, why not make it a unique one, right? The strangeness does not end there, though, as there are all sorts of weird and wacky messages thrown around in this deep fish-space shooter, like "Manta AD 1972," "And Now the Manta Starts," "An American Manta in London," or "To the Devil, A Manta" appearing at the bottom of the screen, or colourful words of encouragement flying about when despatching enemies, and oddities like "Entering Fish Warp… New astro stage! Strong fish! Beautiful fish!" at the start and end of levels and "Fishageddon has occurred! Let's get outta here!" when dying. It would not have been shocking if Scooter's How Much is the Fish started playing, as well…

Screenshot for Death Ray Manta SE on PC

Death Ray Manta is rather off-the-wall, and proud of it. This is definitely for the better as it helps it stand out from the arena-based shmup crowd. It is a simple twin-stick shooter, after all, and needs its own identity. There is a small craft (or a fish, in this case) placed in the centre of a boxed-off area, complete with numerous hazards in the form of patrolling bots around the periphery, obstacles to crash into, and plenty of laser-shooting foes (little robots and rabbits, to name just two species). The formula has been seen before, but not done quite in this way, and there is something special in the overall execution that keeps everything feeling supremely fresh, and entices gamers back in time and time again to beat high scores (collecting more gems along the way) and attempt to reach the final level (there are 32 in all, and getting past about 12 or so following the "one-hit and you're dead" rule is enough to give palpitations just thinking about it again!).

Oh, and there are Big Bang Mini-esque neon colours galore to add to the mayhem, with trails following everything around, leaving stray colours floating about to cause mischief when already trying to concentrate on not being hit. Hectic is not the word, but no matter how chaotic it becomes, there is always a strong desire to keep plugging away. Dead again? Restart and keep on trucking. The short nature of each stage certainly helps with the replayability factor. Presentation-wise, other than the psychedelic neon colours flying around (blowing up obstacles just adds to your woes - remember that), Mike Daw's sublime synth-based '80s-themed soundtrack, which builds up as each arena is completed, is the perfect accompaniment for the insanely tense action. This is one extremely addictive and extremely well put together package indeed! Just remember that Death Ray Manta is not Tempest. Do not play it like Tempest. This is The Future of Videogames. That is all.

Screenshot for Death Ray Manta SE on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The price of Death Ray Manta had already been placed at £1.99, and at the time of writing it is now on offer for a mere £0.59! It would be complete madness to overlook this even at that ~£2 mark, let alone its super bargain price now. Death Ray Manta SE is a must for any shmup fan out there, especially those that adored the Geometry Wars releases. This is high octane, nerve-racking fun, and truly exhilarating with each and every play - twin-stick shooting at its very best. To quote something a wise man once said, "Absolutely brilliant!"


The Future of Videogames


The Future of Videogames





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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