Blast Factor

For those that remember controlling a little triangle (a highly-advanced, rocket-powered space ship) around a black screen (space), shooting all the hollow, cauliflower-shapes (asteroids), this game is a real treat. It's one of the first titles available on the Playstation Network (just load up the Playstation Store and it's available to purchase), and is, essentially, a re-imagining of the classic Asteroid games of the 1700s (or whenever it was that we were playing such archaic games). The twist is that this game has perhaps been crossed with the film Innerspace, since the environment for your ship is actually a selection of cells, and the asteroids are replaced by tiny microbes, bacteria and strange, metallic, erm, orby things.

Blast Factor

In truth, none of that really matters, since the game really aims at providing a sharp, enjoyable shooting experience, with onslaughts of enemies that lead to plenty of frantic action. In this respect, the game succeeds wonderfully, though it will soon face strong competition from games like Super Stardust HD. For now though, there's little to challenge Blast Factor for top-down shooting action, and the game looks absolutely tremendous in high definition. The bright colours, sharpness and effects really provide the game with a next-generation feel, despite the basic nature of the game.

The controls for the ship are very intuitive: you control the motion of the ship with one analog stick, and activate the ship's guns in a particular direction using the second analog stick. There are a few additional controls, including motion control (by rocking the controller, you can send a powerful wave across the screen, which can be used effectively to buy your ship some time to repel invaders), but there's nothing more complex to worry about. Once your ship is underway, the fight begins, confined to a particular cell, before moving to another, and another, until the end of each level where a type of boss enemy can be found. Each threat has its own unique strengths and weaknesses (the bosses, in particular, have specific weaknesses to be exploited), meaning that you are required to think and shoot, rather than just the latter.

Blast Factor

The number of levels and the available challenge (backed up by a reactive difficulty setting that determines which cell thread you should move to, based on your performance in the previous cell) provide the game with significant lastability, particularly for those that wish to continue improving on their scores and compete for online ranking glory. In addition, a co-op mode adds a significant layer of fun to proceedings. I'm always in favour of including co-op modes in games and am more than happy to see one in Blast Factor.

In summary, Blast Factor is a smart, snazzy little game that can become tremendously addictive, but if I'm honest, if you decided to buy only one store game at the launch of PS3, I'd recommend flOw over this, but for those seeking happy arcade memories as an excuse to break out the rose-tinted glasses, Blast Factor is a great choice, looking glorious in HD and providing hours of fun.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Sony

Developer:

Bluepoint Games

Players:

1-2

Online:

Rankings

Release:

2007-03-23

Trophies:

25

Review summary

Gameplay:

Addictive and fun

Graphics:

Nice and sharp, but simplistic

Sound:

Actually quite snazzy sound effects

Lastability:

Good substance but a short game

6.9

Aurora

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