Sunday, September 28, 2008

Blast Works

Blast Works, a budget Wii shoot 'em up based on a freeware PC game, received some good press mainly on the strength of its extensive level editor. I had no interest in that, but what caught my eye was that the back of the package advertised a four-player cooperative mode. The only other shoot 'em up I knew of that supported four players was the amusingly broken Giga Wing 2 for the Dreamcast. If Blast Works was even as good as that, I figured it would be worth the ten dollars I ended up paying.

As it turned out, the multiplayer is several times more broken than Giga Wing 2's. I haven't had a chance to play it with a full four players, but three players already proved to be three too many. The game's signature mechanic of snagging defeated enemy craft and attaching them to your own ship, already difficult to manage with one player, becomes a complete train wreck with multiple players grabbing everything in sight, quickly obscuring the entire screen with their overlapping monstrosities. Admittedly, the experience still produced some level of amusement, but the basically unplayable nature of the mode is not something I'm eager to revisit.

Even after my partners died off, wasting all of my continues before I had needed even one, the core game did not seem like a whole lot of fun. Playing alone and approaching it as a pure shoot 'em up, mostly ignoring the fusion mechanic, I found that, while perfectly functional, the game was lacking that sense of urgency typically associated with the genre. Even as bullets were flying toward me, my instinct to avoid them was not really kicking in. And every time I lost a life, I merely shrugged. It just didn't feel real. The abstract visual style and weak sound effects--audio cues being so important since enemies do not explode upon defeat--robbed the onscreen narrative of any impact. It was the first time I had ever found a shoot 'em up to be boring, and, when I finally died, I felt nothing but a sense of relief that I could move on with my life.


Riyuu said...

...Is it just me, or have you been labeling all of your posts with foolishness?

Henry said...

Labels are applied on a case-by-case basis, as I deem appropriate.

Czardoz said...

Chalk up another misfire to the liberal media! What will they recommend next? Bangai-O Spirits?

Sam Kahn said...

I was curious about this game, since I'm a fan of the freeware game. Glad I didn't pick up the Wii version now.