Astervoid 2000 (PC) Review

By Tomas Barry 06.08.2017

Review for Astervoid 2000 on PC

While there's no doubt that retro-inspired games and sci-fi space romps are in no short supply these days, credit must be given to Mad Capacity and LREVG for finding a niche within these two rather seismic genres, which have become over-diluted with repetitive themes and gameplay. Astervoid 2000 places an emphasis on local multiplayer for up to four players, utilising a top-down, retro-inspired perspective, which works together with very quick, modern standards of pacing for multiplayer experiences to create something intense, fresh and quite tactical. By tapping into the nostalgia for the likes of Asteroids and Space Invaders, and combing that with the above elements, the developers hope to be sending a unique gem out into orbit, rather than something that will burn up in the atmosphere.

Upon booting up, Astervoid 2000 directly informs the player that "this game is best served with friends, on a couch, in front of a big f'n TV, with a decent stereo, and played with dual-stick controllers." While it's unusual for a video game to direct anyone in such terms, it's a nice encapsulation of the driving force behind the experience, which is its simplistic multiplayer core. Causing mayhem and kicking up space dust amongst friends is the energy source behind this, and admittedly, when following the request by the book, it seems like a thoroughly self-sufficient one.

There's a satisfying feel to this twin-stick shooter, with a strong sense of force feedback adding to the intensity, especially when charging a shot or weaving through debris. In addition to the charming retro graphics, pulsating nostalgic music and sound, and an interesting opponent vs. opponent take on top-down space shooters, there's also just something intuitive about this sci-fi shooter's arcade soul. Does the fuel last, though?

Screenshot for Astervoid 2000 on PC

Well, that probably depends on how much mileage you hope to get out of the experience. Unfortunately, the single-player component, which is a survivalist-based experience, is not quite up to the standards of the four-player competitive multiplayer. In the latter, one can forgive the lack of special power-ups, or other mechanics to mix things up, since dodging fields of asteroids whilst trying to hunt down foes seems like enough. However, in a single-player context, things are a little more predictable. Dealing with the varying waves of enemies, while initially interesting, will quickly become a little bland, despite efforts to keep applying modular changes. While those looking for a nostalgic arcade experience will certainly want to play through the single-player, it seems ultimately like an afterthought, since the multiplayer is so much more concentrated.

This brings us to the other major issue with this title, which is its lack of online multiplayer features. Only featuring local multiplayer is very restrictive, and it's hard to see why online functionality couldn't have been incorporated, since that would have added more depth and longevity to the experience overall. While there is plenty of fun to be had in the right environment, as they seem to admit themselves with their advisory message, there's also a lot more that could have been worked on to make this a far better, more complex experience. For example, while it's nice to feel so much force feedback, which was quite a novelty in arcade times, the actual implementation here is rather overzealous, leading to somewhat odd and floaty controls. Charging a shot affects the trajectory of your ship quite a bit, which could have been cool if moderated properly, but instead it all too often seems to throw a player into the path of an asteroid.

Screenshot for Astervoid 2000 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Astervoid 2000 earns a lot of points for its local multiplayer spirit, which, when tapped into as prescribed, does lead to quite a bit of fun. The problem is the mechanics are so shallow ultimately, that even a group will probably turn their attention to something with more depth and detail before long. The overall sense of value for this game isn't particularly good, since it's hard to see anyone returning to it on more than a handful of occasions. Overall, then, while it's a nice nod to sci-fi and space-themed arcade games, it's also too frugal and underwhelming in terms of content and inventiveness to be considered as anything other than an average space brawler. Sharing it with friends is its best mode of consumption.

Developer

Mad Capacity

Publisher

Mad Capacity

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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