Blast Factor PSN Review - 30/07/2007

Blast Factor is one of the PSN's pioneering games, drawing similarities with Asteroids, Geometry Wars, and…well, most retro space-shooters. The question is, have Bluepoint Games and Sony delivered something to match such iconic products?

The first thing that hits you when you play Blast factor is how easy it is to pick up and play, unlike some others in the Playstation store. I'm looking at you Gripshift. And although many have said it is the Playstation Store's version of Microsoft's Geometry wars - it does alot of things the Xbox Live game didn't. Like for example the ability to use the SIXAXIS, which is implemented perfectly and keeps you twisting and thrusting the pad like it was a match made in gaming heaven. Top marks to Sony for that. And another thing, it pulls you in and keeps you hooked for hours on end trying to finish Cell 4. Just wait until you get to that one. It’s a better price than Geometry wars at a mere 3.49 pence and an overall better buy.

As for the gameplay, everything stays fluid and you get one of those "get in there!" moments when you complete a section and unlock hard [which isn't always rewarding..]. The system is when you complete a section it records your time and depending on your time it unlocks hard, medium or easy. There isn’t really anything to unlock apart from that but its still a lengthy title and it’ll take up quite a lot of your time.

Overall, the graphics are as good as you get for 2D shooters that cost less than you get for pocket money and its all nice and crisp in high definition. The virus's and bacteria that you are sent to destroy are all in different colours and all have their own abilities and all look beautiful in their own right. Well, maybe not but it does look the part. Abilities range from being unable to shoot due to an armoured back, which can only be upturned by using the sixaxis, to swarms of little bacteria coming out of a star-like ‘being’ when shot. Weird – I know. It's like a next gen 'Space Invader' but one main aspect that is in both is multiplayer.

The co-op is awesome and it doesn't feel tagged on, like in certain games. Basically you have to work together to kill all the bacteria and enemies. Although it’s exactly the same as the single player game – it does work well. Another mode is ‘Grudge match’ which is designed to get you to ‘settle a grudge’. You have to work together [again] to destroy all of the bacteria and the winner is the player who scored the most. Me obviously. Me – I just played it to thrash my little brother, not to settle a grudge, but whatever floats your boat I guess…

One bad point: the saving system is dreadful, I don’t know what Bluepoint and Sony were smoking when they decided on it, but it must have been extremely strong. There's no option to save the game, not in the starting menu or when you pause the game, and unless you get to the end of a series of segments and fully complete a ‘cell’ then you can’t save it and have to start from scratch every time you turn it on.

With more add-ons planned for the Playstation Store [those damn Americans have already got one, which is a multiplayer ‘add-on’ that lets you play online..] this is looking like a title to remember. It's probably the best title out on the Playstation Store at the time of writing and well worth the 3.49, or whatever they're charging these days…

Verdict: If you’re looking for a cheap game, that’ll keep you glued to the telly for ages, Blast Factor’s your best bet. With a better saving system, it’d score in the 9.0s.

- Tyler Roberts



Bluepoint Games