Game designer Nathan Hansen has created a solitaire game capturing the essence of the coin operated space shoot-em up games of the 80's in Pew Pew from Victory Point Games.
Your objective is to earn 10 Point Markers from an ever-scrolling game board filled with a horde of alien starships. This has to be done before either your ship is hit 3 times and destroyed or you gain 10 Death Markers from alien ships getting past you and killing portions of your homeworld's population.
Pew Pew! comes with 27 player screen cards that make up the scrolling board. On the back of each card has the turn order sequence printed on them. This was a great idea! The cards are the size and the thickness of a postcard. The game has a number of small markers representing points, death markers, Pews! and missles, mines and a heart token to heal the ship.
There are also pieces to form the player ship and the alien ships. They are constructed to form a triangle shaped ship. Each ship is made up of 5 pieces. Due to the manufacturing process, the laser cuts the pieces and there was a small burr left on the edge pieces that made constructing the ships very difficult. So it was a chore to assemble the ships. However, they all got built.
The gameplay is very simple. Each turn, alien ships will spawn on the furthest screen card. At setup, 4 screen cards are put into play; the player ship is placed on the closest card and alien starships are spawned on the furthest card.
Each turn, you will have a number of action points (APs) depending on the number of uncovered chevrons on the screen card your ship is on plus any modifiers given by your player ship. You use your action points to move your ship, fire pews, drop mines, or place a heart token to try to pick up later. Hearts can be picked up to heal your ship one level.
After you perform your actions, the alien ships move. Their movement is determined by the level of the ship and the spaces available to move to. On the alien starships is a small table with numbers on them. The ship will move to the lowest value space that allows a legal move.
Once ships move their level rotates and they spawn missiles and they are placed in a similar manner as the ships.
The next phase is that the Pews! and missiles move. If a Pew! hits an alien ship it is removed from the board and placed back in the alien ship pool and a Point token is earned. If a missile hits an alien ship nothing happens, however, if a missile hits your ship damage is taken. Your ship is rotated down to the next lower life level.
Once that is resolved, move the Player ship forward to the next screen. The closest screen card is removed from play and a new screen card is placed in the furthest place so there are 4 cards in play. If any alien starships were on the card removed, for each alien ship removed, gain a death token. Next, check for victory/ end of game conditions and repeat the turn sequence until the game is over.
Pew Pew! is a very light game. There is not a lot of strategy involved and many of the alien starship's movements can be predicted and so it is easy to shoot them down. I appreciate the designer's effort in trying to capture the essence of the old coin-operated video games that in my youth I contributed many quarters and tokens to play. The game does simulate that style of video game play from back then pretty well. However, this game does not really excite me. The variable action points does make you have to maximize each turn but overall I found the game to be on the boring side. If you look at the stats on the alien ships, you know where they will move to, so get in the right spot, fire a Pew! and it will die. The game is short, and honestly, to me if the game went on longer than 15 minutes I would have just stopped playing. Pew Pew! was a once and done for me.