Monday, June 27, 2011


Space. A peaceful place almost untouched by human influence. A little bit of the beauty and ambiance that makes up space can be found in the alluring game called Astral.
Astral is what some can describe as a vector shooter but without any of the bullets. What makes this game so unique  is the overall gameplay experience. Granted, the goal of this game isn't that difficult: Defeat all your enemies by running into strings.  However it is the execution of this that is very hard to accomplish for a long period of time as enemies get increasingly tougher and more devious.  This combined with the tight controls and the sitar themed music you hear in the game makes a astronomical experience.
There are two gameplay modes; Arcade and Ambient. In Arcade mode you try to beat your own highscore by gaining points and in Ambient mode you gain no points and is purely for relaxation.  You control your little craft by the use of one D-pad and unlike traditional space shooters the ship turns from the center giving you tighter control of it. You defeat enemies by drawing them close and then running through a string which kills part or all of them off.  The enemies are really interesting because they can join themselves together and make a huge blob that is harder to eradicate than smaller ones. If you let them they can even take up half the screen!
The content of this game is a little disappointing to me.  There are only the two modes and after that there is nothing else to really keep you coming back to the game. There are no online leaderboards which in my opinion are necessary for any game where you try to get a highscore.  The relaxing mode just feels like the Arcade version except with a different soundtrack and no scoring mechanism.

Other than a few gripes I have with this game, overall it is a unique experience brought in by excellent music based visuals and addicting gameplay.  I give it 7/10 until leaderboards are added and possibly another game mode.


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