Halfbrick Blast Off Review (PSP)

Posted by Christophor Rick (TheSuperGuido), Dec 02, 2009 14:14

Even a Halfbrick has some form of attraction we call gravity. Blast Off Box artBlast Off puts you in control of a rocket that needs to pick up some astronauts, avoid some obstacles and get to the gate to move to the next level. You get points based on Air (how quickly you do it), astronauts (picking up more nets more points) and remaining fuel. This game is sort of like the opposite of Gravity Sling on the iPhone where you had to propel the astronaut to the home planet.

The game offers 45 levels spread across four difficulty levels - Easy, Medium Hard and Insane and gives you reason to go back and play again (see below).

The difference between Blast Off and some other gravity based games I’ve played is that the gravity is all wonky in my opinion. Due to centripetal force, you should be able to put something into orbit around an object at a specific speed and have it maintain a stable orbit for some length of time. In Blast Off I was only ever able to do that once which tells me that the ’gravity’ in the game is far too strong. Oddly, I could pace other things in the game which maintained their orbits and yet my ship was pulled into the planet and would crash. So that will frustrate some to no end and is a flaw in the game’s mechanics the way I see it.

Also, attempting a gravity slingshot which is using the gravity of a planet to gain speed as you move around it, is nigh impossible in the game. Something seems to slow your progress. It’s almost as if the game has friction and air resistance being taken into account, which we all know is pretty much non-existent in space. 

halfbrickblastoff_screen_003 Another problem with the gravity is the fact that many planetary bodies, asteroids and other objects can all have varying sizes and shapes but the exact same effect in regards to their attraction on the ship. It almost seems as if the ship has a fairly large gravity itself and therefore is pulled into everything rather quickly.

Now most of us aren’t rocket scientists so I won’t get into Lagrange Points and a lot of this is all gibberish and really you want to know if the game is fun or not. The fact of the matter is that while frustrating at times, the game is fun and challenging.  I know it sounds like I’ve been quite negative about the game but I’m not. I did, in fact, play through every single level in it which means the frustration level was low enough and I was able to compensate for the game mechanics.

For more video game reviews on this and many others head to Game Rankings

Our Rating for Halfbrick Blast Off Review (PSP)
9.0 Replay
What? I’ve been flying around space for another 2 hours? But, I must achieve Brick status!
7.5 Graphics
Lilliputian astronauts float through beautiful space backdrops in hopes of hitching a ride from a fat little rocket.
9.0 Sound
Soothing tunes ease your mind when you can’t find the Lagrange Point and just zoom for home.
8.5 Gameplay
Perceived gravity flaws aside the game manages to pull you in and keep you in orbit for hours and hours.
0.1 Multiplayer/Online Content
Sony does not allow networking in Minis, an error on their part I think.
8.5 Overall
A fun game with boundless hours of gameplay even if it is a bit frustrating at times. I look forward to more Halfbrick titles coming soon.

Rating: 0.0, votes: 0

#1 Dec 4, 2009 16:19:23 Dec 04, 2009 21:23
Christophor Rick (TheSuperGuido)

I was contacted by the game’s creator in regards to the gravity and he had this to say:

Just wanted to let you know that the gravity in the original Blast Off 
for Xbox Live Indie Games was based on real gravity ...
but yeah, you’re right, it isn’t ’true gravity’ in 
the PSP version.
We changed the falloff from exponential to linear and we introduced a 
velocity cap (to stop people being flung off into space).

In Gravity Sling, you get lost in space sometimes. It’s a realistic problem so I never thought it a bad idea.

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