Cheesy '90s cartoon goodness
In the modern era of videogames that tends to take itself seriously a bit too often, I occasionally enjoy kicking back with ridiculous, over-the-top games. Games that remind me of the '90s -- where teenage turtles and Super Sentai squads reigned supreme, and metal theme songs were commonplace while you sipped your choice Ecto Cooler-flavored Hi-C beverage.
So if I told you that Halfbrick's Colossatron featured a giant robot dragon from space, hell-bent on systematically destroying every major city in the world, while a plucky news team watched with bated breath, would you be interested?
Colossatron (Android, iPad, iPhone [reviewed on an iPhone 5])
Released: December 19, 2013
As the game begins, you'll see the story unfold through the eyes of the "Metro 6 Action News Team," and their "straight shootin'" lead reporter Rick Dalton. A giant dragon robot creature (dubbed the "Colossatron") is heading straight for earth, and it's up to General Moustache to blow it off the map. Yep, this is the team that brought you a guy named "Barry Steakfries" and a machine-gun powered jetpack, and it's just as goofy as ever.
The visual style has a cool classic cartoon vibe, to the point where I would have believed it was a real show. Everything from the names of the characters and the bright colors ooze charm, and it wasn't hard to buy the premise based on looks alone. Having said that though, Colossatron is really slow to start -- as in, sluggishly slow.
Your job is to allow the Colossatron to wreak as much havoc as possible by "grabbing" interlocking pieces of its body floating out in the city, and "sliding" them into its snake-like body with the touch interface. You'll find your basic red, blue, and yellow variations, and you can actually choose the order that they go in based on where you slide them. So in other words, you can have the "tail" consist entirely of reds cannons, and the neck can sport blue snow beams.
That's basically all you do at first -- collect pieces of the snake's body and put them into place, as the game will take care of the aiming and movement for you. Throughout the course of the first world, things were moving painfully slow, to the point where I actually wondered "is this it?" But once I completed the first set of levels, the game really opens up.
At that point, you have the option to unlock "gadgets" for the Colossatron and change its properties in multiple ways. You can add targeting capabilities that allow you to touch a certain part of the screen and focus fire, healing effects, shockwave abilities, and extra weapons like flamethrowers. Each country opens up a new tier of gadgets, which basically let you customize your snake to your liking.
You'll also start to see the potential with combining different colors together, with an interesting overarching risk-reward type strategy. Should you decide to mix primary colors together to form dual combos like purple and orange (all with their own bullet types), you're limiting the overall length of your robot, essentially giving it less "HP" and a higher propensity to explode.
If you go for tons of smaller attachments you may not be as powerful, but your survival rate increases significantly with the right gadgets. It's an interesting system for sure that gets better with time, and it's really unique -- especially given the touch-centric control scheme that wouldn't work as well with a controller. Then you add in a few other curveballs like atomic bomb attachments that can be detonated at will, and things start to get a little more interesting.
Although each new gadget opens up a new window of gameplay for the Colossatron, you're going to be doing the same thing over the course of the game's seven stages, unless you spring for the score-attack portion of the game. Basically, going back and re-doing old countries will open up a "Survival Challenge" mode, in which you go for the highest score possible and compete with friends (sadly, you have to sign into Halfbrick's servers with Facebook or Google+ to do this).
The problem is, it's not all that enticing as the vast majority of your creature's upgrades are earned through the campaign -- so you're essentially playing for points alone with no real motivator in sight. Although I had a great time with the story, I'm already waiting for a content update and more substantial upgrades for my character.
Colossatron takes a short while to get started, but it ramps up into a really fun, simple experience that's best enjoyed in portions. It never truly hits the heights and endless replayability factor of games like Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, but it's a solid offering in Halfbrick's growing list of mobile classics.
Colossatron reviewed by Chris Carter
A solid game that definitely has an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
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