KineticKill has provided a very comprehensive and well-done review of Sucking Vacuum, and I suggest that you read it for the full details of the game.
Alien Menace did justice to this edition by providing good components. The modular map tiles are very well done. Astronauts are represented by one-sided cardboard caricatures, inserted into plastic stands. The equipment pieces are your basic cardboard counters.
Compared to other games in this price range, the components are far better than most games produced by independent game manufacturers, but below the standard of German made games.
The rules are a well-written and very funny, without being distracting. I actually laughed out loud while reading them.
Sucking Vacuum is a typical dungeon-crawl game, although you are not exploring a dungeon, searching for treasure while battling monsters. Well, actually, that is exactly what you are doing, except that you are exploring a space station looking for pieces of a space suit, while battling aliens (with the alien incursion rules).
During set up, players choose an accent for their character that they must use during the game. That should give you a hint right there how this game will go over with your group.
Game play is light, fast, and fun. You explore rooms for space suit parts, weapons (including a dead cat, among others), and special equipment. You must find the helmet, body, and legs to the suit; and a disk used to fuel the escape pod, and then race to the pod and escape with one other player (or by yourself if you have the automatic pilot).
Rooms are exposed to vacuum when the air lock is broken. When in vacuum, the player must expend lung capacity points to perform actions. When the air is gone, the player is sucking vacuum and is limited in what actions that he can take, and is very vulnerable to attacks from other players. Players refill their lungs at air stations located in rooms.
Sucking Vacuum made it on a Boardgamegeek Geeklist for ‘Bowb your Buddy’. This is an accurate assessment of game play. It is also a problem that we have had in every game so far. Two players eventually meet and duke it out. One beats the other senseless, leaving the victim sucking vacuum, and stealing all of his stuff. Now the victim has lost several turns worth of attaining equipment, and is in no position to make it up. He is essentially out of the game, unless he can somehow make it to the escape pod and hope that the leader shows mercy and takes him along as the co-pilot. That being said, it all plays into the spirit of the game, as the theme and the experience are what the game emphasizes.
+ Great modular map tiles, the space station is different with every playing.
+ Rich in theme
+ There is a nice sense of tension as players race to be one of the two astronauts in the escape pod.
+ It is a hoot with the right group, using accents and all.
+ Fast and quick game play
-More luck than strategy
-A player can be frustratingly weak after an unlucky fight.
Overall, Sucking Vacuum compares well with Wiz War and Awful Green Things From Outer Space (with MUCH better components than the latter).
I enjoy this game for what it is designed to be: a light, fast, and fun 'Bowb your Buddy' game.