This game was reviewed on the PS4, also available on Steam & XB1, soon to be released on Switch. A code was provided by Inertia Game Studios.
If you like your local co-op games ‘overcooked’ but feel like you need a little Sci-Fi in thrown in then boy do Inertia Game Studios have the title for you. This game can be played single player but it really comes into its own when you need to rely on others to achieve your goal. With co-op mayhem a plenty you and your friends can try to save the galaxy, just resist the urge to blow them out the air lock.
After completing a basic training mission you and your fellow team mates graduate as Cadets. At the graduation ceremony the Space Fleet commander is kidnapped by an alien who has escaped prison and is out to cause mayhem. It’s up to you and your crew to defend against this attack and save the commander.
The commander will guide you through the training level to show you the basics such as how to open doors, put out fires and use the ships weapons. Once you get into the main hub you are able to take each mission one at a time.
There is a health bar for your ship and one for the enemies. Your objective is to keep your ship together while firing at their ship. What you need to do to maintain the ship will increase in difficulty as the levels progress, starting simply with putting out fires and fixing cracks that are caused by enemy fire to the more complex like using teleporters to move items between rooms and even having larger cannons that require 2 players to load and fire. Assigning roles to each player seems to be the way to progress but if someone misses something or doesn’t help when a player is stuck that’s where things can get heated between friends and where the fun really comes from for this game.
Having played the game with 2 other players certain levels will leave on player in a room by themselves with a teleporter to move items like fire extinguishers and repair kits from room to room. The catch here is only one side of the teleporter has a button next to its pad so it’s up to someone on that side to be regularly move items around.
A later level tasks you with charging missiles before loading them into a cannon which then has to be moved into place before another player can fire, this offers an extra challenge as not only do you have to work together just to fire the one gun but if you hold a charged missile for too long it will explode causing your character and the room they are in to be on fire. Add to this the fact that your characters have their own health bars and taking too many hits or getting burned by fire can cause them to die. But don’t worry as with what I can only assume is a cloning machine another player can bring your character back and you even have a health pad you can go to that will restore your health before the worst happens.
The graphics of the game work well for its gameplay with levels showing an almost top down perspective but where you can still see you individual character quite clearly. Each character is very cartoon like and you can choose between both humans and alien characters and they all wear their Star Trek like uniforms which is a nice touch.
The cut scenes are basic but colourful slide shows giving the game a feeling of being an older title and actually reminding me of the cut scenes from the very first infamous just obviously no where near as dark. The only unfortunate thing about these cut scenes is the dialogue and this could honestly be the only thing to let down Catastronauts.
During cut scenes and during your time in the hub world you will be in communication with various characters giving instructions or furthering the story but all of the information is delivered by subtitles while the dialogue itself is just jumbled noises. Don’t get me wrong this kind of thing isn’t usually a problem, when I bought Yooka-Laylee I found this endearing and reminiscent of classic gaming titles but here it just gets on your nerves to the point where it was preferable to many players with me to mute the game and just read the subtitles. The commanders voice even managed to still sound stereo-typically British which can annoy the Limey in me.
In all seriousness this isn’t much of an issue and the game is still great fun even with the sound on and I have found it a great to bring out when folks are around and I really wanna test their patience with others.
There’s no denying that Catastronauts feels like a clone of a popular co-op game with a very similar gameplay style and look but the sci-fi setting and the tasks you need to achieve give it a twist on what is a great formula for couch co-op games. This is something I would like to see more of in this modern generation of gaming so I welcome this and any other game like it.
If you are looking for a local co-op game for 2-4 players then be assured you can choose much worse than this title. The game is a blast of multiplayer madness that even non gamers can pick up in a couple of minutes, great for whenever you may have some friends over or if you can convince your family to sit down for a friendly little game.
If this sounds like the multiplayer madness you are looking for then you can pick up Catastronauts from you digital store. In the immortal words of everybody’s favourite captain…..
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