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BlastPoints

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad
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Do a barrel roll

Product: BlastPoints | Publisher: Checkbox Studios Pty | Format: iPhone | Genre: 3D, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.2
 
BlastPoints iPhone, thumbnail 1
If the worlds of Battlestar Galactica and StarFox were to collide, the ensuing spinoff would be BlastPoints.

That's a difficult pill to swallow for those hoping for a 13th model of anthropomorphic fox Cylon, I know, but BlastPoints has plenty to offer if you're looking for a 3D space shooter.

Set in a dystopian future where rogue computer-controlled spaceships rise up against the plucky forces of humanity, BlastPoints recalls the glory days of PC-based space combat shooters while mixing in modern graphics and episodic missions well-suited to gaming on the go.

Coming in hot

The game is an Unreal-powered space shooter, similar in appearance to the Pocket Gamer Silver Award-winning ARC Squadron.

But beyond the Unreal graphics engine and interstellar setting the two games don't share much common ground. ARC Squadron is a classic rail-shooter, while BlastPoints is a free-roaming space combat simulator.

In each level of BlastPoints, you're given complete control over your ship's manoeuvrability as you're tasked with bringing down waves of AI-controlled space fighters in the name of survival.

While there are quite a few gameplay types - ten in total - they all revolve around shooting down enemy fighters and earning the game's eponymous currency: BlastPoints.

Earn enough of these credits and you'll be able to purchase everything from railguns to EMP Blasts, along with missiles and some fun, enemy-shredding lasers.

In for some chop

Unfortunately, BlastPoints has a few things working against it form the outset. The controls aren't as responsive as you'd like them to be, and they feel altogether soft at times.

This might sound like a mincing complaint, but you'll want a certain level of precision when you're trying to evade an enemy missile while banking around a nearby space station.

Soft controls in this case translate to wide, gracefully arcing turns, which in turn translates into your spaceship docking nose-first into the wall of said space station.

BlastPoints also has a few problems with difficulty. A steep learning curve in the early levels makes it a difficult game to develop a feel for, but after a few choice weapon upgrades (namely the railgun) the missions begin to feel altogether too easy.

The last thing working against BlastPoints is, well, its BlastPoints.

The currency is fairly and freely awarded throughout levels - you'll even earn some credits if you fail a mission - but it becomes obvious rather early on that you'll need ample reserves of credits if you want to purchase consumables with any regularity.

This introduces an unwelcome grinding element to the game that ultimately detracts from its graphics and free-roaming fun.

BlastPoints for trying

Despite these misgivings, BlastPoints is an enjoyable and gorgeously rendered space shooter with an episodic nature that makes it perfect for mobile gaming.

That said, it might be best to give BlastPoints some time to get its house in order. Future updates may clear up the soft control issues and the occasional button glitch that sometimes switches the "fire" command of your special weapon with the trigger to do a barrel roll.

If that happens - and if you can put up with the other flaws - it's worth a look.
 
BlastPoints
Reviewer photo
Matthew Diener | 2 January 2013
Lush graphics and free-roaming environments compensate for a steep learning curve, spotty controls, and a reliance on in-app purchases
 
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