In this post, I want to talk about a new AR shooter that was just released on the App Store called Space Blastards. A disclaimer, I was taking part in designing the game. Therefore I won’t write a review about this game, but rather share general information about the game instead.
About Space Blastards
Space Blastards is an Augmented Reality first-person shooter developed using Apple’s ARKit. The game tells a story of a group of extraterrestrials criminals who escaped from a galactic prison where the most outright criminals of the galaxy are kept. This intergalactic prison is called Space Blastards.
Blastards are those convicts who have received a life sentence and are doomed to serve their life assembling battle robots on the conveyor. One day a villain has decided to free them in order to make them serve his evil cause, to conquer more and more planets in the galaxy.
He opened open portals that send his new recruits over the universe, Earth was on his radar and eventually, Blastards arrived at planet Earth.
his is where you come in. Your job is to protect planet earth and put an end to the invasion.
The game features two game modes: Campaign and Survival. The survival mode unlocked itself during half of the campaign. The campaign is a good way to get familiar with the characters in the game, which are introduced gradually as the player progresses through the levels. It’s also good to get familiar with the weapons, grab mechanics and unlocking new weapons.
There are a total of 20 levels, with new characters introduces in every 1 or 2 levels. Each character has its own unique abilities. Some character like Loopi has defensive abilities, which provides shield enemies, while characters like bomb are offensive. “Bomb” will storm the player in fast speed and explode upon impact, dealing massive damage to the player. My favorite character is the robot character, which is very evasive and very hard to take down, but “Crazy Lulu” is even harder to take down.
In both the campaign and the survival mode you get to meet creatures refer to as “creeps”. Creeps are nasty and ugly little creatures that get out of the portal in groups, move towards the player and deal damage on impact. It’s important to make sure you eliminate them before they get to close. There are several different creeps, some are easier to kill than others.
The survival mode is a wave-based mode that will test your ability to survive as long as possible. Each wave increases in difficulty and you’ll need the most powerful weapons in the game in order to survive.
Before each fight, players have the option to choose two weapons which they want to fight with. When you just start the game, you’ll only have a single weapon, which is the slingshot. You’ll unlock new weapons as you progress through the game. I will talk about weapons in the next section.
Let’s check out some gameplay action!
The “Grab” Mechanic using the Laser Vac
The grab is operated using the left hand. There is a circular lightning icon on the left side of the screen. Once you see a power-up, which can be like a health pack, fast-firing, XP, protective shield, etc, you need to aim the crosshair towards the power-up and tap to grab it. It takes about a second and a half. Once the item is obtained, you can tap on the same button to activate it. Power-ups and items are dropped from creeps and from other Blastards. For example, if you shoot “Bomb”, you get a chance to obtain an exploding bomb power-up. This bomb deals massive damage to all enemies currently in the scene.
This is super useful at times where you want to hold a power-up and use it at a specific time. For example, use the health pack when you are low on health, rather than when its full, or use the fast-firing power-ups when there are a lot of enemies on the screen. This system improves the tactical gameplay and allows the player to survive longer during fights, which is especially important when playing the Survival mode.
The “Armory” is where you can buy and upgrade stuff. There are two sections there: Weapons and Loot boxes.
In the weapon section, you can unlock new powerful weapons and upgrade current ones. Upgrading a weapon will improve the weapon’s damage output and speed.
You can upgrade weapons using either coins or gems. Coins, Gems or Weapon cards. Gems is an in-game currency which you can purchase using real money, coins are obtainable from completing levels in both game modes, loot boxes and when leveling up. You can also exchange gems for coins, with each gem equals to 1000 coins.
The first weapon in the game is a powerful slingshot, and have unlimited bullets, so you can literally shoot forever with it. However, the other guns do have ammo capacity limit. Bullets can be bought using coins. This means that you need to make sure you are prepared to fight by making sure you have plenty of bullets and also you don’t waste your bullets for nothing (“Spray and pray”).
Speaking on loot boxes. There are three types of loot boxes in Space Blastards: Bronze, Silver, and Ultimate. The first one costs 9 gems and offers between 250-500 coins and either slingshot or Corngun (shotgun)upgrade cards. The Silver loot box costs 19 gems and gives you between 500 to 1000 coins and either Slingshot, Minigun or Corngun cards. The Ultimate loot box, which is the most expensive of the three, costs 29 gems, gives you between 1000 and 15000 coins and more cards per each type compared to the Silver loot box.
Loot boxes are given also when you complete levels in the campaign, and when you level up your character by obtaining experience points (XP).
One really cool feature in the Armory is the ability to view each gun in Augmented Reality. There is a little “AR” icon with a magnifying glass at the top-right corner of each weapon. Just tap on it to view the gun in AR. You can zoom-in and out on the 3D model of the gun by pinching and rotate it using swipe touch gesture.
Let’s Talk Guns!
Space Blastards features 4 different guns, which can be unlocked and upgraded using weapon cards, coins or gems. You start the game with only a Slingshot weapon and unlock the other weapons as you progress. There are also other weapons that suppose to come soon according to the game, so watch out for more cool new weapons.
Slingshot – the slingshot is a slingshot weapon that shoots fireballs with a maximum damage of 50 and 120 speed after it’s upgraded fully. There is no limit how much you can shoot with it. This weapon is good when shooting single targets.
Corngun – The Corngun is a powerful shotgun with a wide-spread pallet which can deal massive damage to a group of closeby enemies. Use this weapon when you want to eliminate a group of creeps when they get too close to you. This gun has a maximum damage of 18 and speed of 60. The damage is lower than the slingshot, but the corngun release several bullets at once, so the potential of eliminating a single closeby target is better than that of the slingshot.
Minigun – the Minigun is a super powerful machine gun that deals a maximum of 50 damage per bullet and shoots at a very high speed of 360 bullets per minute. This is a badass weapon that I always use in my loadout. This powerful machine gun can eliminate enemies really fast. It especially useful against the evasive light attack robot enemy.
Railgun – the Railgun is similar to a sniper rifle. It has slow shooting speed of 60 rounds per minute, but it deals massive 230 damage to enemies. This allows you to eliminate slow enemies really fast but once that have high HP.
Blastards features stunning graphics, visual effects, sound effects and story art screens. The characters loaded with personality, some even with facial animation and voices that makes it even more satisfying fighting them. The game also employs some nice filtering effects, like when using the shield power-up.
Things get really intensive when you more towers the end levels and when progressing deep into the waves in the survival mode. The scene turns into a massive battlefield field with those crazy creatures.
Here are some more screenshots.
As I said, because I took part in designing the game, I, therefore, won’t rank the game. I just want to share more information about the game and its features and inform you about its release.
Download the game for iPhone or iPad from the app store here.