The Galactic Asteroids Patrol
How many of you have played “Asteroids” for the Atari 2600? Okay, how many of you know what an Atari 2600 is? *Sigh* I must be getting old…anyway, “Asteroids” put you in the role of a small ship (a triangle) that was tasked with shooting asteroids while staying alive in the process. “The Galactic Asteroids Patrol” takes that idea and modernizes it with colorful graphics and new gameplay mechanics. Before we start blowing asteroids to kingdom come, I’d like to thank Amir Abiri from Invigo Studios for setting me up with a free review copy.
The main menu lets you participate in single player mode, try your luck in multiplayer, and adjust game options. In the options menu, you’ll be able to adjust screen resolution, the quality level of the graphics, fullscreen/windowed mode, sound levels, and keybinds. I didn’t see any sort of in-game encyclopedia, something I feel that the game should have. There are quite a few pickups that are dropped in-game and I had to figure them out while trying not to be killed. The official website (link at the end of the article) contains some information about the ships and weapons, but the power-ups I had to figure out as I went. I also found the menu text to be a bit on the small side, though I have poor eyesight so take that information with a grain of salt.
In single player mode, you’ll start out with access to a single ship and a few weapons. You’ll be able to unlock more if you manage to complete certain achievements during the game. Some achievements might task you with earning a particular score while others might challenge you not to take damage during a particular level. You’ll be able to choose your primary weapon (main guns), which consist of the following: plasma, machine gun, and phaser. The plasma weapon is the well-rounded type with moderate strength and fire rate, with the other two favoring one stat and almost completely ignoring the other. Depending on what ship you have selected, you’ll be able to choose up to two or three slot weapons. Which slot weapons you’ll have access to depends on the ship you’ve selected. These include torpedoes, missiles, hyperspace jumps, cluster bombs, tractor beams, and more.
When you start a single player game, you’ll have a choice between easy, medium, and hard difficulty settings. What took some getting used to is that there isn’t any save feature, mainly because the game always starts you out at level one, just like the old “Asteroids” game used to do. You’ll have three lives and will be tasked with surviving as long as possible, while racking up as many points as you can. To assist you in that quest, power-ups will drop that can be picked up. Some power-ups grant you more slot weapons (like torpedoes, etc.) while others might grant you a small amount of health. As I mentioned above, there is no in-game encyclopedia (or tutorial) to tell you what your interface is displaying. It wasn’t until I got to the ship upgrade screen in between levels before I was able to start matching up icons.
Multiplayer gives you the ability to pick from a hosted game or create one yourself. Unlike single player, you’ll have every ship and loadout option available to you from the get go. There are also a ton of different options to choose from, including three different game modes. Competitive mode challenges players with causing more destruction than the other (where asteroids are the targets). Alien Hunt mode is similar, but involves flying saucers. Finally, Asteroids Ball involves players switching between offense and defense as the former tries to get a ball that can be manipulated by cannon fire into a special gate. Anthony (16), who is part of “Dad’s Review Crew”, helped me to play test multiplayer. His favorite mode was the competitive mode while his least favorite being the Asteroids Ball. I had to agree, as I found the latter to be extremely difficult, especially with all of the asteroids floating about.
With all of the above said, the graphics are stunningly gorgeous. Everything from the ships to the asteroids are eye candy, through and through. I also appreciate that the game has so many multiplayer options available. Unlike the original “Asteroids”, you’ll be able to aim with your mouse while traveling in a different direction, something I’m glad to see. There are also different asteroid types, all with different behavior, which serve to keep gameplay fresh and interesting. I’ve already mentioned that the game could benefit from an in-game encyclopedia / tutorial, but I would also like to comment that there is no backwards thrust key. You’ll have to turn the ship around one hundred and eighty degrees if you want to travel in the other direction. This makes the game a lot more difficult, especially when you’re forced to manuever quickly around obstacles. I also found easy to be a bit difficult, which may serve to scare off casual gamers. I would like to see the asteroids slowed down a bit and pack less of an oomph on the easy difficulty setting, but this is just my opinion.
“The Galactic Asteroids Patrol” isn’t perfect, but it is a lot of fun. With a few more tweaks to make the game a bit more user-friendly, it will be able to appeal to players of all types and ages. I do believe that $9.99 (as of 12/22/12) is a fair price to pay for the amount of content that it delivers. If you are the type that enjoys high-speed arcade shooters that require some pretty fast reflexes, then this game will deliver in spades. Those who are weary of difficult games that require fast acting reflexes should try the demo first (link below) to see if they would enjoy the experience.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about and purchase this game by visiting the following websites:
You can try the demo, here:
You can help bring the game to Steam by voting for it on its Greenlight page, here:
You can view video play sessions here: