Blastron, a new game exclusive to iOS, is the latest effort from established games publisher Kabam who have previously brought us many MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) and strategy games, many of which are available on iOS such as Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North and Arcane Empires.
In Blastron, you control a robot, also known as a Blastbot, and partake in battles against other robots utilising an armoury of weapons and boosts to annihilate the competition.
The game consists of two modes; Campaign and Multiplayer. The former allows the player to complete single-player games of increasing difficulty while the latter matches you with players from around the world in a quickfire death match with up to four robots (some other multiplayer game modes are labelled as “coming soon” within the app). Both modes allow you to earn Rivets and Gears (currency to be spent within the app on parts, weapons or upgrades for your bot).
If you have ever played any of the Worms series of games then the controls and gameplay will not be totally alien to you. In fact, the gameplay is strikingly similar – players taking turns to fire artillery at one another with the last survivor being the victor. The graphics are great and the game has a lot of character even if the idea behind the game isn’t particularly new.
There is a fairly thorough practice mode that enables you to get to grips with the game, although the on-screen controls during the game are actually pretty simple and straight-forward. Virtual joy-sticks that gamers will be instantly familiar with are ever-present and allow you to move your robot and aim your weapons, with a toolbar at the bottom for selecting your weapon of choice.
While the game is fairly simple at first, it does become increasing difficult and strategic thinking becomes key. This is good news as the game remains challenging and keeps you interested for longer.
The app experience is generally good too, the app is relatively smooth and well designed, as would be expected from an experienced games publisher. It’s also a universal app, meaning it will run on your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and the interface is exactly the same on any of these devices. It does take a little while to load initially and I have experienced a couple of crashes but this is nothing major and is common with version 1.0 software – I’m sure these will be addressed in future updates.
However, one really negative aspect of Blastron is the intrusive and frequent nature of the in-app purchase prompts. As with many mobile games today, Blastron follows the “freemium” model – free to play, but with in-app purchase to enhance the gameplay. I suppose this is to be expected from free games but in this case it feels like you’re being persistently pointed towards the expensive add-ons. Everything in the game costs something in either Rivets or Gears and these are earned far more slowly than they can be spent. Purchasing in game currency can quickly become expensive in the real world with prices ranging from £2.99 for 50 Gears to £69.99 for 1650 Gears.
While unoriginal and plagued with in-app purchase prompts, Blastron is a lot of fun and potentially packs in hours of gameplay without getting boring especially if you can get over being bombarded with incentives to buy stuff, or can afford to constantly make in-app purchases.
A solid effort, but it won’t be a classic.
TiP rating: 7/10
iTunes link: Blastron