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Astronot Review

By Dave Flodine, on June 25, 2012


Astronot
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Makes you want to take out some graph paper and map the world.
  • Responsive and simple controls.

CONS

  • Scarcity of save points.
  • The “music” is quite annoying.

VERDICT

An 8-bit Metroid style game full of nooks and crannies on a hostile alien world. Perfect for platformer fans and those who love exploring.


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One of the things that make the best games of the Metroid series such a joy to play after all these years isn't just the large map ripe for exploration, but also the sense of loneliness and danger the player feels when traversing a hostile, alien world. You are the lone survivor of your ship after it has crashed on an uncharted planet. Can you stay alive long enough to possibly make it off it?

Astronot uses a traditional on-screen button control scheme. There's a left and right button, a jump button, and a button for shooting or activating switches. All the buttons are large and respond quite well. You certainly won't have any trouble with the controls as you make your way around. The crux of the gameplay is to pick a direction and to start moving until you can't move no more, then either find another new path to take or wait till you find a power-up that might allow you access to previously inaccessible terrain. Most of the power-ups increase your jumping and shooting power, as well as your health bar... oh and there are collectible squares littered around the place as well.

The art style, well it's how you'd imagine a game with this scope would look if it was made back in the early eighties for the Atari 2600 (if that system used pixels instead of filling in the scan lines on your television). Everything is made up of a few pixels of a flat color, but despite the self-imposed artistic limitations, there is a sense of atmosphere as you make your way through the caverns and flee from enemies too powerful for you to tackle at the current point in time. The sound does not covey the same positive atmosphere. What passes for music is quite annoying and will have you muting the game fairly quickly. One final mention for the presentation is the ability to apply different visual filters changing either the skin of the protagonist, or the look of the entire game. It's just a shame you have to quit out to the main menu and reload the game to make these changes.

Astronot is probably meant for the retro gamers out there, but aside from being a well-controlled platformer, it also satisfies that exploration itch that some may be wishing to scratch. The lack of map (and the urge to start drawing your own) is a product of its throwback charm, and whether that's a positive or a negative to you will be a good indicator of whether or not you'll have fun with this title.

Screenshots

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