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Game Info:

Astervoid 2000
Developed By: Mad Capacity, LREVG
Published By: Mad Capacity, LREVG
Released: December 1, 2016
Available On: Linux, macOS, Windows
Genre: Top-down arcade shooter
ESRB Rating: N/A
Number of Players: 1-4 offline
Price: $9.99

Thanks to Mad Capacity and LREVG for the review key!

Once upon a time, buying a game meant you had access to all of its content. Said content may be simple, but ultimately pure in both scope and gameplay. Even now, in the era of loot boxes, micro-transactions, and season passes, it’s the straightforward gameplay-focused games that stand out. It helps, like with Astervoid 2000, if the game is a thoroughly well-built product.

Astervoid 2000 is uncomplicated in its premise: it’s an amalgamation of Atari games, featuring Asteroid-like environmental obstacles and Combat-esque multiplayer mayhem. Two to four player-controlled spaceships, or one against an ever-increasing number of AI-driven ships, duke it out in a constantly-shifting asteroid belt. The ships, while having six different designs, operate the same: a rapid-fire shot that can be charged for a powerful shorter-range blast, a quick dash, and a melee attack activated by dashing with a full charge. Ships have a shield that slowly recharges that can take one regular shot; a charge shot, a melee attack, or an unshielded attack means destruction. Asteroids drift in and out of the field, and come in four flavors: standard, explosive, reflective, and indestructible. They can’t directly harm your ship, but can push you around and interrupt your shots. A large, neutral battleship can occasionally drift in as well, randomly peppering the field with large green bullets.

Astervoid 2000
Highlights:

Strong Points: Great game design; tight controls
Weak Points: Results screen takes a bit too long
Moral Warnings: Ship-to-ship combat; a heavily abbreviated swear (“f’n”)

In the single-player survival mode, your only objective is to take out as many enemies before you explode. Every four rounds, the number of enemies increase, and it won’t be long until you’re juggling six ships, a full asteroid belt, and a stray battleship. The multiplayer aspect is as you’d expect: up to four players, up to two teams, up to a certain number of kills. The survival mode comes with an online leaderboard; the multiplayer is, by design, local only.

This is, in essence, the entirety of Astervoid 2000 – a relatively simple game, but executed masterfully. The controls are tight and responsive, the gameplay is fluid, and the mechanics work in tandem with each other to add a surprising amount of depth. Normal shots cancel each other out, while charged shots blast through just about anything. Your ship slows to a crawl if it’s holding a charge, with the risk offset by the potential for a one-hit kill. Melee attacks make you effectively invulnerable, but wide open upon completion. Firing any shots at all push your ship backwards a little, potentially putting you in a bad position. Rarely, a killing blow will send your ship into self-destruct mode, letting you attempt to pilot your doomed craft to catch foes in the explosion. When it all comes together, it creates a fast-paced, well designed, engaging game.

It’s hard to pick out a weak spot in such a tightly-knit experience – the results screen lingers a bit too long and can’t be skipped or sped up, but that’s about it. The lack of online multiplayer might be a sticking point as well, but since the game is built around the premise of couch co-op, you can’t really fault it. It’s also rather hard to get four players on one computer at once; this is one game that would actually benefit from a console port. Overall, it’s a game best enjoyed in short bursts and with friends, but it’s always enjoyable and easy to come back to.

Astervoid 2000
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 90%
Gameplay - 19/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 90%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Graphically, the game is rather impressive, making use of both competent pixel art and more modern particle effects. Ships and bullets are colorful and easy to discern from the background, and the different asteroid types are obvious at a glance. There are some nice subtle details to it as well, with some wispy clouds and a neat flashlight effect on the front arc of every ship. The songs made for Astervoid 2000 are good, but tend to fade into the background of the in-game chaos. The sound effects do their jobs well, fitting nicely with their paired actions.

Morally, the game holds up just fine. Ship-to-ship combat is the focus of the game, though there’s not even any indication that these crafts are manned. In one of the opening splash screens, there’s a heavily-abbreviated swear word, as the game tells you it’s best enjoyed on a “big f’n TV” – otherwise, there's little text to be seen. In every other respect, this game is safe for all ages to enjoy.

In an environment where too many games chase too many demographics, Astervoid 2000 is refreshing: it knows what it is, and executes near-perfectly. If you enjoy old-school arcade titles and can get a lot of mileage out of short, pick-up-and-play sessions, Astervoid 2000 is certainly worth the price of admission. If you have three like-minded friends – and three wired controllers – it’s a must-buy.

-Cadogan

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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