Astro Tripper is another game that’s been added to the ever increasing top-down shooter genre. Oddly enough, the genre label is pretty much the only similarity. So is Astro Tripper worth your time and money, or should you just pass it up and play one of the other offerings from this genre?
Many people will probably look at Astro Tripper and think, “Why should I buy this? I’ve played this kind of game many time before.” And yes, in some ways you would be right. You play looking down on the level, you control a ship, and you battle enemies. There are several kinds of enemies and the occasional boss fight, but that’s where the similarities end.
Astro Tripper takes some new approaches to the top-down shooter genre. First off, the controls are different. The left stick moves you around, but you will fire with X instead of the right stick. Circle will switch between your two weapons; one shoots straight, the other shoots in multiple directions. You can only face two directions, either looking left or right, and circle will switch between the two. This aspect alone makes it vital that you get used to using both weapons.
In addition, the controls are laid out differently according to the type of platform you play on. Your movement will be restricted to the platform, whereas some of your enemies will be able to drift on and off. Also, there will be some levels where there is a slight pitch to the platform, so unless you’re shooting on that slope or that particular level, you will not be able to hit your enemies.
All of these features add up to not only a pretty fun game, but a rather difficult one. Fast reflexes are a must, and great skill is required to master the game, even on the easiest difficulty setting.
Beside the mentioned reasons, there are also a few more things that make this game rather difficult. In total, there are 4 worlds, and each world is broken down in to a different set of levels. Once you reach a particular world, you will unlock it and be able to select it at any time. The flipside of this is you cannot select the individual level within each world. For instance, if you are taking part in a boss battle on the 4th level of a world and happen to die, you will start all over on the 1st level of that world.
If you die on any particular level, even if you still have some extra lives, you will not respawn at the exact section where you died and will have to start that level over again. This is obviously a pain since you only have three lives at your disposal.
A major problem with these types of games is repetitiveness. Astro Tripper does a pretty good job at keeping you on your toes. Since the game is broken up into four worlds, each world contains a variety of enemies. All are vastly different from one another, and require unique strategies to defeat. In addition to the new enemies, there’s also a boss for each world. Like the enemies, every boss requires a different strategy to succeed.
Another nice feature is the ability to use custom soundtracks. The soundtrack included in the game isn’t too bad, but being able to listen to your own music is really the best way to go. My only real problems with this game are that there should have been a few more worlds to progress through as it is pretty short. And having a true checkpoint system in place would have saved me from a lot of frustrating moments.
Astro Tripper really is a fun game, and manages to separate itself from the crowd. Even though it can be rather difficult at times, the fun factor should bring you back to play through multiple times. If you are a fan of this genre and want a change of pace, this is the game for you.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
Lack of checkpoints can be frustrating.
Takes unique approach to the top-down shooter genre.