Mar 31, 2011
The mobile gaming market has seen a renaissance for dual-stick shooters, and Meteor Blitz is another entry in this venerable genre. Meteor Blitz is less akin to a game like Geometry Wars (and many, many other dual-stick shooters on mobile OSes), but rather closely follows after Super Stardust HD for the PS3. You’re dropped on to a planet, tasked to destroy asteroids and other assorted enemies, including fire and ice meteors that you must destroy with your ice and fire cannons respectively, along with your neutral element cannon. You have the standard bombs that you can unleash to clear the screen, a boost attack to get out of hairy situations, and a gravity gun that you can use to suck in asteroids, and shoot them back out at enemies. You have an Arcade mode that takes you through 25 levels and has you collecting rings that go towards persistent upgrades, and a Survival mode that puts you somewhere in deep space, and tasks you with scoring as many points as possible with only 3 lives. This mode also makes you start out with all your upgrades from scratch each time you play.
The game runs great on the Galaxy S, and supports widescreen resolutions properly. It also rarely if ever slows down. The game has a nice difficulty curve to it, especially if you’ve played the game that inspired it – it’s downright fair by comparison. The game doesn’t really start to ramp up in challenge until the 3rd world, and even then, the challenge still feels very beatable. Also, the gameplay has a lot more variety than other games, as the multiple weapon elements and wide enemy selection means that there’s a lot to experience in the game. Plus, it’s nice to destroy something besides geometric shapes – Geometry was rough on all of us in high school, but some of us have learned to move on!
The problem is that the game is practically a carbon copy of Super Stardust HD, from the similar (if not entirely identical) weapon types, to the similar dash and bomb mechanics. Seriously, nothing about this game feels original at all, which is a momentous achievement, even in this genre. The gravity gun isn’t really a notable addition, either – I never really felt like it was very useful, especially since you have to let go of the fire joystick to launch the projectiles you’ve collected – it just feels kind of like an unnecessary complexity at times. There’s also no online high score system of any sort, which is a shame, as it’d be nice to compete against other players of the game, especially in the Survival mode.
Meteor Blitz is both original and unoriginal, considering how it apes an established title, but it follows a path few other dual-stick shooters have gone down. If you loved Super Stardust, and want something you can take with you on the go (let’s ignore the PSP version – dual stick shooters weren’t meant to be played with face buttons), or just want a dual-stick shooter that goes off the beaten path a bit, Meteor Blitz is a good call. However, I can’t help but get the feeling like this is something that I’ve played before, because I have, and a little more quality work towards originality could have gone a long way.