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Game Maker Games - Return to Sector 9
 Return to Sector 9 by Pug Fugly Games
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Review by Jabberwock
Few developers deliver action that pulls me in quite so well or consistently as PugFugly. And I think few would argue that Return To Sector 9 is less than his greatest achievement to date. It's very rare that a game comes around that's as well-rounded, well-presented, and altogether thrilling as this one - and the best part is it's free.

This game is really several games in one - several "modes" that each could be a game on their own, though they all (except one) revolve around similar gameplay (read: shooting lots and lots of stuff). It's pretty clear, though, that some of the game modes were meant to be played more than others. There's a lot more to do in some of them, and a couple do get old or frustrating pretty quickly. For me, the core of the enjoyment revolves around the two first modes: a story mode and an arcade mode. In these, you fight enormous hordes of aliens (from ships to giant space squids), strategically using your special weapon and avoiding enemy shots at all costs. Control setup is simply brilliant - your ship fires automatically, and you aim by rotating with x and z, while maneuvering with the arrow keys. It might sound odd, but it's one of the most intuitive and clever control setups I've ever come across. Other game modes involve manning turrets, rescuing astronauts, and deactivating mines, among other things.

The game doesn't have a single storyline - rather, the half-dozen different game modes each have their own mini-story, which are only tied together in that they all take place in the same corner of the universe - the oh-so-hazardous Sector 9. The game also contains a bunch of unlockable ships to fly, each with its own backstory. These little storylines are interesting and pretty well-written on top of that, and they've all got a touch of subtle (or occasionally not-so-subtle) humor. A bit ironically, one of the few Game Maker games out there worth taking seriously doesn't take itself seriously at all. But the result is a better game; it gives the game world (or rather, Sector) depth and a feeling of backstory and character - which is rather rare among free games, and even rarer among arcade-action fare.

The presence of an enormous number of unlockables rather sets this game apart. It screams "play me!" and when you stop, it screams "play me some more!" I've spent more hours than I care to mention playing this game, and I haven't yet unlocked everything. There are special weapons, ships, paint jobs, game modes - and every one is unlocked through playing the game, a lot, on every possible setting. It's sort of daunting, honestly, but not enough to drive anyone away, I'm sure - rather, it serves to suck you in even further.

Graphically, I could not ask for anything better. The bullet patterns are elaborate and pretty, the explosions are satisfying, the ships are pristinely pixelled, the particle effects are liberally applied, the menus are professional... really, it is visually flawless. I like all the different ship designs and special weapons, specifically.

The music, as with any PugFugly game, is original and excellent. He has a distinctive style that I think is great, and a talent for memorable melody. Sound effects are everywhere, and they work very nicely.

Really, it's hard to think of a game that is better all-around. Other than that I kind of disliked a couple of the game modes, I can't think of a single complaint. It's a brilliant and addictive game, and obviously the product of a great deal of work. I highly recommend it.

Download Return to Sector 9 (EXE, ~11.8 MB , Suitable for everyone )

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Opinions about Return to Sector 9

Showing: GMG Staff (2) · GMG Users (1)

engaging
100%
artistic
50%
original
50%
strange
0%
challenging
100%
polished
100%
compelling
100%

Overall: recommended

Showing: GMG Staff (2) · GMG Users (1)

engaging
100%
artistic
100%
original
100%
strange
0%
challenging
100%
polished
100%
compelling
100%

Overall: recommended

Recommendations: The 12 people who like Return to Sector 9 also like the following games.
Comments (Add your own):
2009.07.09 12hotaje
Rating: 9

Great game man but i have to say one thing: whenever you press the down arrow it doesn't look like you are slowing down but rather you are moving backwards: unless you wanted it to be that way! Awesome game though!
2009.06.03 snowyowl
Rating: --

Not bad. The only critiscism I can think of is this: winning a bronze medal in each minigame unlocks more minigames, winning silver unlocks assorted awesome stuff, but gold? Just a 'congratulations' message. Anticlimactic or what?
That aside, I absolutely agree that this game is worth taking seriously and that the humour adds a lot. I also caught the reference to The Encryption by YoMamasMama (another awesome game), snd wonder if any other ships come from games I should be playing?
2009.06.03 Trogador
Rating: 10

About time somebody reviewed this. Disregard my previous review of the game.
2009.06.01 phoenix0
Rating: 9

For all of you complaining about the long loading time, that's dependent on the speed of your computer. Also, this seems like yet another staff score that's too high. 9.5?

Now that I'm done ranting, this game is very good. Some of the games are really boring, but that ones that are fun are really fun. This is a must-download.
2009.06.01 BigxBen
Rating: 10

GMG pretty late with this game.
2007.11.07 DeathMasterGames
Rating: 8

There were a few minigames I didn't care for, but the overall game is excellent. A definite improvement over the previous one. I love the variation in monsters, attacks, power-ups, and ships. It's addicting, fun, and has a lot of replay value. I know a few people who are going to be up all night playing this game. I'd say it's about as good as Pyramids, only you added boss fights, which I love. Good work.

On the other hand, there were some annoying mini games, and you have to play them to unlock the others, and ships. And the loading time was annoying for a GameMaker game. So all in all, 8/10.
2007.08.28 LordMetroid
Rating: 9

Best GMG bar none. Gold Rush and Doomball were pretty bad minigames though.
2007.08.10 Trogador
Rating: 7

Honestly, I thought Return could be better. When I booted up the game it took a long time to load, and then came lag in the menu and title functions. I will say that the graphics are amazing and the formula hasn't changed at all. it's addictive and fun for a long time.

however, the fact that the formula hasn't changed really kills the game. you have Return to Sector 9 plus 9 other games which are simply the same game over and over again.

To put it simple, Return To Sector 9 may offer more than many other space shooters, but it's just the same game with a new paint job.
2007.08.09 BloodMonger
Rating: 9

Awesome game! Very creative and beter than the original
2007.08.04 Mynameisonic
Rating: 10

Wow! This game is amazing. Better than the original in every way. The graphics were stunning.
10/10
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