Friday, January 22, 2016

Bit Blaster XL

Rating: 8.4
Happy Price: 1.99


Bit Blaster does a great job at finding the perfect balance of "easy to pick up, hard to master". The player's gun is always on auto fire, there is ammo to keep track of, and the velocity is fast or faster (if boost is used). It's action packed, and aside from the goal of getting a high score there is the goal of unlocking better ships. 

Enemies consist of primitively shaped asteroids (circles) that will get larger as the game goes on. Then there are floating nukes, ships that shoot, and melee ships. It's chaotic but the simple and vibrant colors on the black background create this cool neon light show. As simple as this game appears, there is more depth to it than meets the eye. There are a number of powerups that each player may individually enjoy. Therefore, you can hoard ammo and keep one powerup the entire playthrough if you wanted. Powerups also replenish ammo, but you are forced to shoot with that bullet. For example, if I had 100 ammo for my homing missiles and ran it down to zero, I could get the light saber powerup but it would only replenish to 35 ammo. When that happens, you will be forced to keep getting powerups. One thing I did not enjoy was the bouncy ball ammo was close to the same color as the enemy projectiles. Imagine 50 red balls bouncing around the screen until it hits an enemy, all the while the enemy shoots the same color at you. It can be difficult to decipher.


Most of the time in the 2D top down survival genre, there isn't much progression that happens outside of the game session. My favorite part of this game was unlocking new ships. There are special coins that seem to randomly generate when destroying asteroids or enemy ships. These seem to be more frequent the longer the player survives. Each ship costs more than the previous unlocked, so you can use the new ship to unlock a better ship. For me, this is what really sealed in the addiction. The gameplay is fun, but winning the high score really isn't all that important to me. Unlocking the ships and having a sense of accomplishment was more important, and is what kept me coming back. Each ship has a high score attached to it, so I learned that I played best with a slow ship, with a slow fire rate, but high shields. Someone else might like the fast ship with less shields and a higher fire rate.


Great addition to the Steam library. For .99 it doesn't get much better than this. You can play to the great chiptune included by default, or disable it and have your spotify open and just chill to this simple yet addicting game. The mobile version of this was not as fun playing in portrait mode. The long turn radius on a portrait screen did not feel right. On a landscape monitor however, it felt great.

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