Published on February 24th, 2012 | by Chris Ramirez, Editor
Atari Asteroids Gunner+ Review
Platform: Apple iTouch, iPhone, iPad [Reviewed]
Release Date: Feb. 10, 2012
It has been over 30 years since Atari released Asteroids. Asteroids had charm and took skills to complete the game. That was Asteroids of the old. Atari completely overhauled the classic arcade shooter in Asteroids Gunner +. Gone is the blackness of space, triangle-shaped spaceship and blocky asteroids. In its replacement is a gorgeous backdrop of deep space, options and customization of spaceships, powerups, tweaks and menacing asteroids that will rip your ship to shreds.
Asteroids Gunner + has the same concept as the original Asteroids. Take control of the spaceship and destroy hurdling asteroids before they destroy the ship. Shot a huge asteroid and cause it to shatter into multiple of dangerous pieces. The goal is to survive all 50 levels of all different environments. Each environment has their own different difficulty levels and challenges other than your run-of-the-mill asteroids.
Atari upgraded every aspect of Asteroids into HD gaming. Asteroids Gunner+ looks amazing with the Apple’s retina display. The backgrounds are amazingly layered with planets and animated stars. Atari added great detail to all other aspects of the game as well. Asteroids have an organic rock texture and they float across space with menace and power. Shot the asteroid, watch it beautifully break into smaller asteroids of different sizes, and watch each blast of the asteroid fill the air with space dust. Spaceships take damage when hit by an asteroid and taking too much damage will cause your spaceship to start smoking. The smoke will leave a trail as you continue to destroy and avoid asteroids until you regain health.
The soundtrack of Asteroids Gunner+ is equally amazing. The sound of shooting is not overpowering. Instead you will be treated by soothing music similar to music played in a planetary exhibit. You will also hear each explosion of an asteroid with satisfying bass. The soundtrack is a perfect complement to gameplay.
The gameplay is where Asteroids Gunner+ shines. The spaceship and asteroids are weighted to match the weightlessness of space. The spaceship glides with ease while the asteroids look as if they float effortlessly. Atari added seven spaceships with the classic dart spaceship. Each ship has individual advantages and disadvantages. Each ship is unique in size, firepower, health and speed. In general the more offensive power a spaceship has, the more vulnerable the spaceship is to asteroid damage. The opposite is true as well; the more defensiveness a spaceship has the weaker the offensive firepower. In addition to the spaceship options, Atari also added random in-game power ups and upgradable spaceship options.
As you break down huge asteroids, you will notice powerups and crystals becoming available. Crystals are used as currency in the game. Crystals are also awarded for completing challenges. Collect more crystals to buy powerup slots, powerups, omega tech slots and game tweaks.
The power-ups range from a protective shield to weapon enhancements. Weapon enhancements include rapid fire, triple shot, missiles, shockwaves, claymores, etc., just to name a few. To activate the power-ups, simply run into them with your spaceship. Purchase a power-up slot and you will be able to purchase power-ups that you can start the wave with. If you are in a middle of a power-up and pick up another one, the second power-up will be available to you in your empty slots. The omega tech slots are game tweaks. Examples of tweaks include asteroid speed, crystal drop rate, longer powerup meter and point multipliers. With the addition to the spaceship options, power-ups, and omega tech options, Atari brought depth and strategy into one of its classic games.
Atari’s focus on detail is superb down to the physics. Collisions between asteroids, the ship, or power ups will cause the objects to react appropriately by changing direction of travel. The touch screen controls are responsive and accurate. Two circle pads are located at the edge of the screen. The left pad controls the spaceship and the right pad controls the direction of firepower. The powerup slots are located above the right touchpad for easy access. The game will start off slow at first but grow in difficult extremely fast. As each big asteroid is broken down, the screen will be filled with fragments of the space rock. Each piece can be just as damaging as the bigger rock depending on the spaceship chosen. Having such great controls allows the game to be enjoyable, challenging, and fun even in its most difficult moments.
There are three unique cosmic levels filled with 50 waves that will provide hours of fun. Atari has also included a Challenge mode that will allow players to log into their Game Center account to access leaderboards or challenge a friend for the highest score.
With extreme amount of detail and content, Atari’s Asteroids Gunner+ has all the elements of great game you will expect to find on Steam, PlayStation Network or Xbox LIVE Arcade. To have this game available iOS devices is a complete and enjoyable surprise. With hours of gameplay, replay value and Game Center connection Asteroids Gunner+ is a great game to have with you on the go. Getting Asteroids Gunner+ will remind you exactly why Atari’s library of games are classics and each of their games should be given this updated love as well.
+ Power-ups and tweaks
– Not multi-platform