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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Blast Passage - Game of the Day

What is it? – Mr. BomBear is a space bear trapped on the dark side of Planet X. In Blast Passage, you’ll have to navigate a series of oxygen-free levels packed with hostile creatures, and use bombs to blow a clear path to the sunny side of the world.

Who made it? – The game was developed by King.com.

How does it play? –You move your bear around using the arrow keys, press the spacebar to drop bombs (up to two at once), and the Enter key will use a collected potion – eliminating all on-screen enemies. Each level must be completed before your bear runs out of oxygen (read: health), but you can replenish your supply by picking up canisters scattered throughout the maps. The level progression is also somewhat non-linear, often allowing you to choose which level comes next.

Enemies are endlessly generated from “spawn towers” which can be destroyed with a couple of bomb blasts. Keys scattered across the level must be collected to unlock other sections of the level. There are even indestructible “Grim Reaper” enemies which can only be eliminated by using a potion.

You’ll do your attacking in “hit and run” style. Plant a bomb in the path of your enemies, and get the heck out of the way. Your bombs will also hurt you and destroy power-ups in the blast radius, so you’ll need to be careful not to shoot the food… I mean power-ups. Planted bombs can also be kicked, but it can be tough to do in the heat of battle.

Presentation – The action takes place from an isometric 2.5-D perspective, and sports sharp visuals. There is a wide variety of enemy-types, and they’re all attractive and easily distinguishable from one another, and it’s impressive how many on-screen enemies can be visible without any slowdown.

Positives – The game excels at blending two classic gameplay types into a compelling and fun hybrid. The game also provides a decent level of challenge, though nothing worth smashing a monitor over.

Negatives – If onscreen chaos isn’t your thing, you may be put off by how frantic some levels can get. I also occasionally ran into a minor issue when trying to place bombs while on the move, but the problem wasn’t consistent or overly frustrating.

Why you should play it – If you took the classic arcade games Gauntlet and Bomberman and threw them in a blender, you’d likely end up with a tall glass of Blast Passage. It effectively rips-off some classic gameplay mechanics and design, but fuses them to create a very original, fun, and frenzied experience that stands on its own.

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