Version Reviewed: 1.1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
By compensating its basic gameplay with a sterile, futuristic style, Blaster X HD feels like a really old-school arcade game. It’s not simple, it’s sleek. Like those games, Blaster X never deviates that far from its core conceit, but its purity allows for surprising inventiveness.
One part freeform Angry Birds and two parts arcade classics Breakout and Warlords, Blaster X has players launching a sphere of energy inside a rectangular arena while trying to collect other spheres as efficiently as possible. While choosing a good initial launch angle is important, players aren’t helpless after the ball is in motion. When it touches other spheres, the player’s sphere regains some of the momentum it otherwise naturally loses giving launches an extended life. Players can also influence their sphere’s trajectory by dragging on a part of the board. This ability is limited though and the indirect manipulation feels a little awkward. Still, the unorthodox approach to physics and control pushes players towards more unique solutions. By making the most of these skills, players can get three-star, one-shot runs in some pretty creative ways.
With over 400 stages, Blaster X makes sure players will have plenty of opportunities to explore and express that creativity. However, each stage ultimately boils down to a box with a mildly different obstacle layout which lessens the variety. What really make them distinct are their different backgrounds where the stark, sci-fi style really comes through. With world names like “Qore” “Carbon” and “Horizon” the game has a “too cool for school attitude” at times. It’s like what hip skateboarders in the 90s thought the future might look like. But, small details like metallic finishing and subtly shifting clouds prove that the aesthetic is well-realized at least.
Ironically, Blaster X’s contained environments actually make its gameplay more freeing. It may not be the warmest, most welcoming package, but it’s still a box worth opening.