I like indie games.
You know, those games that aren’t
released through some giant publisher
or made by giant teams of giant… people,
but rather developed and released
by small teams of talented
and possibly small people,
dedicated to the cause and sticking it to
It reminds me a lot of how games
were made up until around the mid-’90s,
and I really miss that mentality in games.
So when I got the opportunity to review
a new indie game by Chronic Logic,
I was pretty intrigued.
The game in question today is AstroDriller
The game is a downloadable title
for Windows and Mac OS X,
and it’s only about 20 MB,
so it’s pretty lightweight.
Apparently, you can also get a physical CD-ROM
which I think is awesome because…
well, let’s just say I have a thing for physical
And if it comes with this guy on the front
of the case, that alone would be worth it.
Dude’s getting WAY too much
enjoyment from drilling that rock.
AstroDriller 3020 is… eh, it’s a bit
hard actually to compare to anything else.
The whole premise of AstroDriller is that
you’re a faceless, formless space entity
that must collect the asteroids
falling from an astronaut
through manipulation of a laser
turret and a rainbow of containers.
Yep, a flashy “collect falling things” game.
You start off by creating a simple
profile to record your progress
and then you dive straight into the tutorial.
It just sort of throws all the
different game’s ideas at you,
and I guess it does a decent job
of explaining what’s going on,
but you’ll really just have to play the game
to really understand what the heck you’re
supposed to be doing with your laser weapon.
In the game, you never actually see the laser
but I like to imagine that it looks something
You control it by clicking and
dragging lines on the screen
that kind of look like lightsaber
curtain rods or something.
who looks darn similar to the
guy from Jetpack, by the way,
will eject asteroids from his…
and it’s your job to guide the falling rocks
into the appropriate containers on the screen.
But a vanilla asteroid doesn’t carry many
and this is where the curtain rods come in.
Each time a rock hits a laser,
it will shave off a bit of rock.
Eventually it will be ground into a fine
gemstone, which is what you want.
You will then need to make sure it
lands in the correctly colored container,
and really, that’s the gist.
The whole thing really reminds me somewhat
of an odd mix of Peggle and InkBall,
with a little something else in there.
AstroDriller is definitely its own game
and I can appreciate that.
Just like a classic arcade game,
the entire goal is to collect the
maximum amount of points
and move on to the next level.
You are graded along the way
by way of a progress bar,
kind of like in PopCap’s Big Money.
Once you reach a certain amount of points,
you will be able to pass to the next level
once the timer runs out,
at one of three levels of
success and one level of failure.
These levels of success will
determine how many credits you get.
The better you do,
the more credits you’ll have to spend.
These can be spent on various upgrades,
and this to me is really where the game gets
While it’s enjoyable to collect
as many points as possible,
judging by how harshly you can violate your
the upgrades are really the incentive to keep
Along the way there will be plenty of variables,
like these little swirly Shmoints
things that multiply your score,
additional upgrades for your turret,
the ever-growing ability to boost your asteroid’s
and plenty of level variations along the path
of 90 total levels.
However, getting through all of these levels
may turn out to be more than you’d expect.
The game gets difficult really fast,
about a dozen or so levels in,
especially if you haven’t grasped
the game’s multiplier system.
And all of the constant clicking and dragging
can really start to wear on your hand
after more than 10 or 15 minutes or so.
Mainly it’s the dragging that bogs it down.
I’d really love to see this on like an iPad
Anything with touch controls
I think it could really benefit from.
Also, you’ll have to learn to live
with the game’s annoyances.
It’s pretty freakin’ repetitive,
but it’s a pick-up-and-play physics puzzle
so I guess that’s to be expected somewhat.
And the physics themselves can
be pretty bizarre at times, though,
with asteroids just sometimes
doing whatever the heck they want
or getting stuck inside of a container.
Also, that astronaut.
Welcome to Mediocritysville!
I’m pretty sure I want to kill him.
We make a good team!
We make a good team!
He says something every time you do ANYTHING!
We make a good team!
So after about five minutes,
any bit of affinity you had for him
has turned to unadulterated HATE!
There needs to be a way to turn him off,
but sadly all you can do at this point
is silence the games .OGG files
or replace them will vuvuzela sounds or something.
That would be less annoying.
So is AstroDriller 3020 worth buying?
On the basis of gameplay alone, I find it
hard to wholeheartedly recommend it.
considering how limited the gameplay is
and sometimes the unforgiving difficulty.
Many people are just gonna get
bored or pissed off pretty quick.
On the other hand, it’s only about $10,
and there’s a demo to try before you buy.
It is a very unique game and
it’s enjoyable in short bursts,
once you figure out some strategies.
So if you’re into PopCap-like games,
and just want something to fart around with,
I’d say AstroDriller
is definitely worth a try.