Blast Off Review – Rocket-Fuelled Joy Ride

blast-off-7Australian developer Halfbrick is really on a roll with its minis output, after last week’s Echoes we now have Blast Off, which definitely carries the trademark Halfbrick imprint of quirky, absorbing gameplay on a budget.

The object of the game is to pilot a rocket ship around deep space, rescuing lost astronauts as you go. Your progress is hampered by the strong gravitational pull of nearby planets and asteroids.If you allow the gravitational force to pull you too close to a planet, your little space ship will explode and you’ll have to start all over again. The further up the difficulty level you go, the bigger the planets get, and therefore the stronger their gravitational pull.

Although the bulk of the gameplay is pretty much left to the rocket, the planets, and the astronauts, you’ll also find some unwelcome interlopers popping up in the later missions, including black holes which have an even stronger gravitational pull than regular planets, and white holes which push the ship away with their reverse gravity.

When you first load up the game, be sure to check out the How to Play section in the Options menu to briefly familiarise yourself with the controls. You’re then ready to start rescuing astronauts!The main controls that you will find yourself using all the time are X to propel the ship, and either the analog stick or the directional buttons to steer.

It soon becomes apparent that the main challenge in the game is learning to control your ship against the gravitational pull of the planets. At first it seems really hard and you’ll be crashing all the time, but eventually you’ll learn when to press X to boost your ship and when to just drift along and sling-shot off the gravity.

blast-off-4You also need to keep an eye on your fuel and air gauges at the bottom of the screen. You can’t just go floating around in space endlessly or burning up too much fuel, as then you’ll be stuck drifting with no way to reach the warpgate exit.

You don’t always have to rescue all of the astronauts on a level in order to open the warpgate and escape, although if you do get them all you’ll be rewarded with a gold star.You can always tell how many astronauts you need to rescue to complete a mission by the number of open flaps on the warpgate. Once you’ve collected your quota, the warpgate will turn green and open.

At first only Easy mode is available to play; you must complete all 12 Easy missions to unlock the Medium missions, and the same goes for Hard and Insane. There are a total of 45 missions in all, which might seem a lot, but once you’ve become familiar with the controls it won’t take you that long to zip through them.

I really like the simple yet polished look of the game, which seems to be another Halfbrick trademark. The graphics are so sharp and crisp and the colours so deep, and the overall concept is excellent.I also love the quirkiness of the humour, like on one mission there’s a potato imposter pretending to be an astronaut! Gotta love that silly stuff!

The one major reservation that I have about the game is the fact that you can finish it within a couple of days. Granted, once you’ve unlocked all the levels you’ll still have the challenge of trying for more gold stars and high scores, but will that be enough?  Possibly not for long. Still, at that price you can probably afford to take a punt for a week or so of fun gameplay.

Score: 7/10

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3 Responses to “Blast Off Review – Rocket-Fuelled Joy Ride”
  1. Djax says:

    Good game, but should have more game modes… When you finish it, you do not have need to play it again…

  2. RandomMiniBuyer says:

    You forgot to mention the EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT music, but other than that I agree with the review wholeheartedly.

  3. Hellboy546 says:

    Fun game! I just bought it!

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