Mark One is best described as a sci-fi twin stick shooter, currently available on the Steam platform for 99 cents.

Mark One at first glance is a 99 cent game that you, like most people, will probably assume is worth just that. But once you get into the game it is easy to see that this game has so much more value.

First and foremost, it’s beautiful. Typically games of this ilk are not exactly known for their graphical achievements, but Mark One is a step above the rest. Temper your expectations down to 99 cents, and prepare to be blown away. Especially when you consider that it was developed by one person, Orfeas Eleftheriou. There is no clipping or lag, the explosions look gorgeous, and the gunfire is varied enough to know that a fair amount of love went into all the details of this game. The level design is also very straightforward, but not too repetitive, and has that extra space ship flavor that makes you feel a little more immersed.

More importantly, this game is challenging. The controls are a little complicated at first, with WASD being used to move around and your character facing whichever direction your mouse is pointed. Then you also have the option to dash with SHIFT, throw a grenade with G, or the middle mouse button, switch weapons with the mouse wheel, or Q, and perform a ‘Sonic Punch’ with F. It’s a lot to take in, and begs the question as to whether or not it would be easier with the option to use a controller. Maybe in a later update.

You are given a short tutorial to learn the mechanics, and then thrown right into the thick of things, playing as a highly trained AI unit that is battling other rogue AI units that ignored their failsafe switch and began harming humans. You start off aboard a space ship with a top down camera angle that gives you a view of an ongoing space battle outside that doesn’t really come into play. The first few enemies go down fairly easy, enough to give you the confidence to keep going as you familiarize yourself with the controls. After you’ve tossed a few grenades and have used the ‘Sonic Punch’ feature that acts as a life steal for you, you’ll come to a room with a few enemies milling about, and a stationary missile bot. Nothing too challenging there for a highly trained AI.

After battling your way through the first section of the spaceship, collecting ammo and health along the way, you come to the first of three bosses of the game, where things take a turn.

Buckle up and prepare yourself for a challenge, because this boss is going to frustrate you. Especially if you’re a scrub like me. It’s akin to having a dog, in that wherever you are, they’re going to be too. But a lot less cute and fluffy, and much more stabby. Throw some more missile bots in there and some fireballs that rain from the sky, and you’ve got yourself a first boss that sets the tone for the rest of the game. At least I assume that’s the case, since I’m still trying to get past it.

This screen started to feel a lot like home.

That being said, if you find yourself struggling, take a break, and come back to it, because this game is worth it. Oftentimes when you run into a challenge in a video game, especially a cheap one that you bought just because of the price tag, you will want to give it up and chalk it up to bad development, but that is not the case with Mark One. Yes, you are going to be frustrated and want to throw your controller, but you aren’t using a controller so no worry there. That being said, please don’t throw your computer, or anything else for that matter. Like most things in life, keep trying and eventually you will develop a strategy that works as your skills start to develop and you’ll be on to the next, just as infuriating boss.

I started this review site thinking it was going to be games of very low, to almost no quality, and even though it is still very early in the sites life, I have realized that there are some very good games out there for under $2. That’s very encouraging, because not everyone has the money to fork over for AAA titles that come out every couple of months. If you are enjoying these reviews, give the games a try and support these indie developers. Mark One is a very solid 5/5 and worth way more than 99 cents.