Blaaast in Review – Whack An Alien Without The Fun

Dr. Octopus Said What?

As I was playing this I thought to myself “maybe I should have read the game’s description better.” Blaaast sure looks good, but it basically amounts to Whack A Mole in space with a few ultimately annoying extras thrown in.  Upon reviewing the iTunes description, though, I realize that it really doesn’t do a good job of explaining what type of game this is, so that makes me feel a bit better.  It doesn’t make me enjoy the game any more, however.  I’m all for tap shooter, and an alien setting is not nearly as overdone as you’d think, but I’ve played many efforts that are much more fun than this one.

They Came Two By Two...

There’s a bit of a back story: basically you’re from earth and you’re trying to wipe out the alien inhabitants of a planet.  They of course don’t take kindly to this, and are doing their best to try and shoot you down.  The game takes place in classic Whack A Mole style, where the aliens pop up out of craters on the surface of the planet.  All you have to do is tap on them, and the gun on the bottom of your ship will take care of the rest.  This actually sounds pretty simple, but the first problem is that tapping doesn’t always seem as responsive as it should be.  These aliens are quick, and if you think you’re tapping on one and the game doesn’t, then you’re probably going to get shot.  There are also power ups that float by every now and again, but I find that I often can tap on them 5 or 6 times without apparently actually hitting them.  And in the mean time, I’m getting shot by aliens.

I will give the developers credit for trying to be creative.  On level 5, for example, there are orbs that you have to draw a circle around to make them go away.  The problem is, when you stop to do this, even though it takes a fraction of a second, you’re often getting shot by aliens.  Then there’s level 7, where I guess you’re supposed to shake the device to free yourself from the alien that shoots the tractor beam.  I’ve tried that every time I’ve gotten to level 7, but guess what-  it doesn’t seem to work, and in the mean time I end up getting shot by aliens.  Are you noticing a trend here?  Now if I enjoyed the journey to level 7, I wouldn’t mind giving it a few more goes to see if I could figure out what I’m really supposed to do.  The problem is, the game really isn’t fun enough to put myself through all those levels again and again.  Not to mention the fact that the second time I got to level 7 the game locked up on me.  Oops.

The graphics are definitely the highlight of the game.  I’ll forgo my usual “the visuals are cartoony” style and say this time that they look more like comic book art.  Of course, that’s just as good as looking like a cartoon in my opinion.  The alien designs aren’t overly original (I think they’re teenage mutant ninja cockroaches!), but they still look good.  The only down side to the visuals is that there isn’t a whole lot in terms of animation, especially in the background which is pretty much dead.

Finally, It's Over

The sound effects are fairly basic, comprised mostly of the noises the weapons make.  Since it seems to be a fairly barren planet aside from the aliens themselves I’ll forgive the lack of background clutter, but the aliens themselves could make some noise.  The in-game music is kind of repetitive.  The menu music is actually pretty good, though, so my suggestion would be to swap them.

Overall I’m not very impressed with Blaaast.  The game play is average at best, and the special defenses actually detract from game play, as implementing them usually means you’re going to get shot by the normal aliens in the mean time.  Plus, I really find it frustrating when developers try and implement a “shake” mechanic in a highly intense reflex game.  Add to that the fact that level 7 has locked up on me 2 out of the 4 times that I’ve gotten there, and I have pretty much no reason to want to go back to this game again.  It’s too bad, because we could actually use more outer space themed games in this genre, but Blaaast just doesn’t cut it.

App Summary
Title: BlaaastDeveloper: Digital Media
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$0.99App Size:18.0 MB
  • Artwork is good
  • Tried new game mechanics
  • New game mechanics detract from play
  • Keeps locking up on level 7
  • Audio is dull

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Rat-a-tat-tat! Shooter games are in TMA’s house!

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