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Publisher: Majesco Games
Developers: ABA Games, Budcat Creations
Release Date: Available Now
Reviewer: Christopher J. Troilo
Aero Fighter, Ghost Pilots, Tiger Heli and a multitude of other side-scrolling adventures were all the rave in the arcades of the 1970s and 80s. The basic premise proves that sometimes the simplest concepts are the most addicting, entertaining and engaging. Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy for the Wii attempts to recapture pieces of that magic by allowing the player to feel like they are back in the arcade. Only this time, the players are the ones setting the rules.
The objective is simple. As the screen scrolls left to right (or perhaps up and down), you control a small ship, armed with an endless supply of projectiles that you spray across the screen in an attempt to destroy all of your enemies as they approach. The ships, yours and your adversaries’, are made of simple multi-colored polygons that form shapes such as biplanes or spacecraft. Your goal is to navigate through the web of your enemies’ red bullets to reach the end of the stage.
With Blast Works, however, there are a few twists. In traditional side-scrollers, the objective has been to simply dispatch your opponents and dodge their bullets, but now there is an added piece of strategy. When an enemy ship is destroyed, it breaks into pieces that begin falling to the ground. As they do, your tiny vessel can fly into the debris and absorb the enemy ship’s fragments. If the piece you collect is a gun turret, then your plane has another weapon to fire. Even better, all acquired extensions of your ship act as shields—if they get damaged; only those specific pieces fall away. This causes your once-puny aircraft to become larger, and hopefully more powerful.
The big news about Blast Works is not the core game, but rather the ability to take the above paradigm and create new games. The program boasts a robust editor that allows the player to create almost any ship configuration imaginable by combining a variety of shapes in a three-dimensional setting. Imagine a world of virtual Lego building blocks that you can manipulate however you see fit. This concept is applied to your plane, its bullets, all enemy units and weaponry, and even the background scenery. This allows you to fashion almost any game your mind can envision. By doing this you’re not just “sampling” different games, you’re also using the downloaded models as templates from which to build even more new creations. Majesco has a site on the Web where some of the best are on display (www.blastworksdepot.com).
The controls are simple. You move your ship around the screen with the analog stick and hold down the trigger button to fire. You can also invite friends to play Blast Works multiplayer, which allows you tackle the pre-loaded campaign, or your own creations, with up to three friends at a time.
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