(WiiWare)

Astro Bugz Revenge (WiiWare)

Game Review

Astro Bugz Revenge Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Bryan Griffin

Revenge is sweet

It's a tale that's old as time: a puzzle game is released that requires you to match up three of the same colour in order to clear the screen and advance through levels. It is inevitably compared to Bubble Bobble and Bejeweled, and usually labelled as a clone of one or the other. Astro Bugz Revenge can safely be added to the list of these games, but its unique features and personality help to set it apart from its common counterparts. The game adds a dimension of action to the mix, with enemies that shoot you and several power-ups that can save you when the going gets rough.

You control the game with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, using the control stick to move your ship left and right across the screen to collect stars, and the A button to shoot a bug at the twirling mass of invading Bugz slowly making their way down the screen. The colour of your next shot is indicated by a beam of light emanated by your ship. If you can get three or more Bugz of the same colour to connect, they will disappear, which releases power-ups and earns you points. If the horde of space-insects reaches the bottom of the screen, it's game over and you'll have to repeat the level.

Power-ups come in many forms, from stopping the progress of the Bugz creeping down the screen to fireballs that shoot directly through the enemies regardless of color. Some are more useful than others, and you’ll want to avoid collecting a certain power up if the situation isn’t right. For instance, you’ll almost always want to collect the power-up that makes each bug smaller, giving you more time to clear them all away. You may elect to avoid the wild card power-up that causes your shots to become any colour near the end of a round, because you may end up adding to your enemy's forces accidentally. The random nature of the power-ups adds some excitement to the game, but they are just frosting on the cake, not what you’re playing for. Going out of your way to collect power-ups when you should be focusing on clearing the screen is a quick road to losing the game.

The fun of Astro Bugz Revenge comes from its several different modes of play. Each mode offers several difficulty levels to choose from, and the bonus of playing with either 1 or 2 players. You can keep four different save profiles per mode, and the game automatically tracks your progress.

Classic Mode represents the heart of the game, with the typical objectives that have been featured in several other games. You’ll also be avoiding enemy fire and coping with the rotating nature of your enemies. The mass of insects you’re battling doesn’t move towards you in a straight line, it slowly rotates and grows. Because of this, you’ll have to time your shots carefully and think ahead. If you miss a cluster of Bugz the first time you’ll have to avoid cluttering up the area so you can get them the next time around. There is a percentage number at the top of the screen to indicate your accuracy; if you're able to complete a level with an accuracy of 80% or higher, you enter a bonus game where you shoot Bugz by pointing with the Wii Remote. The bonus round is more like collecting star bits in Super Mario Galaxy than classic light-gun games like Duck Hunt, because you don't use a button to decide when to shoot; you simply sweep the cursor across the screen. There are fifty levels to complete, and because the game tracks your accuracy and high scores, the replay value is high.

Revenge Mode is where Astro Bugz Revenge starts to deviate from many similar games. This time around, you assume the role of the Bugz, and your goal is to overwhelm the enemy ship at the bottom of the screen. What makes this mode fun and different is that you're able to control the movement of the Bugz you shoot with the control stick. A new dimension of strategy is always a good thing, and with fifty more levels to exact revenge in, the replay value of this game is heading towards being described as "robust", and possibly "extensive".

Versus Mode can be played either against a human player or against AI. The objective is to break through your opponent’s wall of Bugz by clearing them away in the typical fashion. Once you can shoot a bug straight through your opponent’s wall, you score a point. The number of points required to win can be set before the match starts. The AI isn't a pushover, so it's pretty fun to practice against when a friend isn't around. Having a buddy to play with doubles the fun and makes this mode quite addicting.

The graphics of the game appear rubbery and a bit lifeless, but the bright colours and lighting style make up for it a bit. The Bugz themselves seem like they would be squishy if you touched them, or possibly a little slimy or wet. Despite their appearance, the sounds of clearing an insect away is more like a popping noise than a squishing noise, leading to a slight disconnect between the graphics and audio, but you may only notice if you've set out to judge it. The music is typical space-themed fare and generally blends into the background when the action heats ups. Nothing stands out as amazing as far as presentation goes, but at least there aren't any glaring problems.

Conclusion

Action-puzzlers come in many forms, and Astro Bugz Revenge borrows heavily from several well-established games. It also has some unique twists and enough replay value to keep you coming back. When you consider that the entire game can be played with a friend, it becomes even more attractive, meaning an entire family or group of friends can share the game on one Wii because of the multiple save profiles you can keep. There is nothing brand-new about how the game is played, but all of the elements come together to form an addicting and fun experience. A great video game is one that is more than the sum of its parts, and Astro Bugz Revenge is just that. It may even bring gamers that don’t usually enjoy this type of game into the fold. If you’re a fan of the genre, it’s definitely a safe bet.

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Game Trailer

User Comments (13)

Macaronius

#2

Macaronius said:

Seems like a nice rip-off of bubble bobble.
Oh, and by the way, revenge is a dish best served second :3

fishman100

#3

fishman100 said:

I consider myself to be a master of revenge...I might as well perfect my skillz in this game!

accc

#4

accc said:

Sounds good but not good enough for me to end my boycott of all games with a 'z' in the title where an 's' should be.

SolarJetman

#6

SolarJetman said:

Sounds like Bubble Bobble, but with elements of Arkanoid and Galaga... plus two-player co-op? I'm downloading it now...

Sean_Aaron

#7

Sean_Aaron said:

I really like this game. It has an odd look to it and the ambient music loop is something that's still in my brain following the preview I did on it ages ago.

I'm glad it got a nice review score because if North American sales are robust enough it has a good chance of showing up in Europe!

justmike

#8

justmike said:

I'm enjoying this game at the moment. I think it deserves the score it has received. Fun to play.

MikeyMikeMike

#9

MikeyMikeMike said:

Do Not Waste Your Money:
This game is a testament to bad game design. While it initially appears to have potential, there are numerous frustrations to be had.
(1) Sometimes when you pop a bug the explosion seems to collide with you and make you lose even though there isn't a reason for it.
(2) Sometimes there are bugs positioned in such a way, that there is no way to break them without causing yourself to lose (they are by themselves and hanging really low), so you are actually wasting your time when you should just restart the level...thought the devs could have figured out that one.
(3) Sometimes you are given bugs that aren't applicable unless you wait for the whole thing to turn over by which point you will lose...but firing them off may not help you as they may either cling to a non visible portion of the mass or worse, you'll keep getting the same color 4 times in a row. Since the game tracks your accuracy to decide if you go to the bonus round or not this is particularly annoying.
(4) On many levels you just can't get the right color no matter how many you fire off and lose within the first 20-30 seconds. This brings me to a more important point....If you can survive the first 30 seconds of any level, then you will most likely beat it in the following 30...like flipping a coin. The game isn't hard, it just doesn't feel as though you are the main reason you win or lose (each time a level restarts the bugs are randomized so there isn't a "correct" solution).

By the way...the reviewer stated that you may want to avoid the wildcard (this power up actually matches whatever it hits...it isn't really wild and you definitely don't want to avoid it). Furthermore the reviewer stated that you are not playing for the power-ups...I should elaborate. When you pop a strand of 5 or more bugs, stars fall out...collecting these stars places powerups (which are typically necessary to beat a level) on the various bugs...You Are playing for the powerups.
(5) Occasionally you'll catch a flame power up which if sent through a bomb in the middle will single-handedly clear most of the level taking out any strategy or challenge with it.

The positives of this game lie in the interesting control method of bugs in the revenge mode as you can stear them after firing...as well as co-op and versus modes. If you plan to play this by yourself you should stick to Bubble Bobble.

I often disagree with reviewers, but if I feel they were attempting to be objective I respect that...even if I personally dislike a game. In this case though I feel the reviewer has done all readers and buyers a disservice...

MikeyMikeMike

#13

MikeyMikeMike said:

Actually I beat about half the game in two sittings hoping later levels would get interesting, then deleted it since they never did. Sorry if it sounded personal...but I put up with that boredom for a few hours trying to figure what you liked about this game, and purchased it on your recommendation....too each his own I guess.
I guess it seemed worse than it is due to high expectations. Still, this is the most boring game I've ever played in my life

Would have loved to see a review that sounded like the one you gave that Fester's Quest game here...like the quote where you stated that this will make you want to do other things like "clean your kitchen."

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