Now this was another pleasant surprise and, unless I miss my guess, another hidden gem of the Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) catalogue. I certainly haven’t heard anyone talking about it (feel free to post links to other reviews in the comments to prove me wrong, though). “Massteroid” is not like anything I’ve seen before, and I really like it.
You could compare it a bit to Katamari, I guess, but that’s not really a fair comparison as you don’t merely grow, you also shrink every time you get hit by a mass-depleting obstacle (like space mines, or missiles); that growing/shrinking element reminds me more of “Solar” and its sequel, though “Massteroid”‘s arcade gameplay would never be confused with any of the above.
The actual gameplay reminds me a bit of forced climbers like Machiavelli’s Ascent though, again, you can’t mistake one for the other. There’s even an element of Sonic in there with “Massteroid” fast action, dodging, and the fact that picking up/losing mass is a bit like picking up/losing rings in Sonic. Though, again, you would never mistake the two.
And perhaps that’s the best recommendation I can give “Massteroid”. It feels simultaneously both familiar and new, and that makes it an easy 80 Microsoft Point recommendation. And just when you think the game’s a neat buy at a reasonable price, you start to explore the other game modes and discover that there’s more here than first meets the eye. The other game modes extend the game with an endless mode where ridiculous quantities of collectible objects and avoidable threats are thrown at you, and even a gourmet mode where you spice up meals for a gourmand by collecting the ingredients while avoiding threats. A scoring system further encourages “just one more turn”. I recommend a download of this fun, and largely unheralded, game.
Here’s what the developer (Jasonal) has to say about the game:
“Steer an asteroid through space, collecting as much space junk as possible. Try to get as big as possible before crashing into Earth for mass destruction! There are multiple modes of play to try out.”