Day 478: Astro Cluster

Posted: 2012/03/02 in Indie Games

After going to the platformer well for the last three days, with three different takes on platforming brilliance, Mass Deduction changes course today with “Astro Cluster”. This game took what could have been another me-too outing, and made it absolutely brilliant.

The first thing I noticed was the wealth of options, including system link and online play for up to 16 players, as well as split-screen for 2, with both co-op and competitive modes. I also found the variety of objectives for campaign, and modes for multiplayer, rounded out the package. That’s good because “Astro Cluster” is a dual-stick shooter, and it’s hard to differentiate yourself in the market. Thankfully it does.

Your 80 Microsoft Points gets you a game that not only looks good, but plays well. There’s an interesting risk/reward system at play (and I’m always a sucker for that) where shot-down enemies often drop bits that can be collected; the more of them you collect, the more health you have and the more powerful your shots, but the longer you get and (therefore) the harder to dodge enemy shots. I don’t recall such a (dare I say it) Snake-like element in a twin-stick shooter before, and it really mixes play up, and allows you to approach the levels in different ways.

Planets in the game have gravity wells that must be either navigated around, or fought against. Power-ups are here too, as you would expect. All in all, in pretty fantastic package and well worth purchasing.

Here’s what the developer (Scott Lowther) has to say about the game:

“Dominate the galaxy in this unusual multiplayer twin-stick shooter. Destroy your enemies, take their clusters and navigate cosmic dangers across a wide variety of levels and game modes. Improve your skills in the co-op campaign then take the fight online to prove who is the Cluster Master!”

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Comments
  1. Thanks for a nice review! I might have to organise some more Astro Cluster XB Live Developer matches.

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