"Asterash" is a well-made interpretation of a classic game idea.
6 years ago, I met Facundo Balboa aka MonoFlauta and interviewed him for Fettspielen.de. This wunderkind was just sweet 17 (I repeat: seventeen) years old, when he developed an insanely good flash game called “Kingdom In The Clouds”, that you can still play on Newgrounds. But that’s not the end of the story: Now, at the age of 23, the prodigy became a professor at the Primera Escuela de Arte Multimedial Da Vinci in Buenos Aires.
The question is, can our prodigy also surpass old childhood memories? His newest masterstroke named “Asterash” is nothing short of a retro space shooter, that totally reminds me of “Invasion of the Mutant Space Bats of Doom” by Pop Software, one of my favorite games back in the 90’s. Time for the battle of the century.
What do you expect from a vertically scrolling retro space shooter? Right, a visual overkill. I want non stop action, explosions, fire, bombs, rockets and spaceships all over the place. The good news is that Asterash provides all of this. The game stands in the tradition of games like the above-mentioned “Bats”, who’ll carry your visual capacity to the grave. Earth to earth, Asterashes to Asterashes!
Although both the gameplay and the visuals are completely arcadesque, I wouldn’t say that the game is just some kind of remake. It does feature all tunes of the well-known space shooter song, but it’s a unique and enjoyable mix. For example, you can only carry two weapons at the time, which makes you analyze your gameplay and select the most suitable powerups instead of gathering everything you find. Moreover, the soundtrack is a real killer. Big respect to CoreWars for contribuiting a suitable trance-techno soundtrack that adds a lot to the atmosphere of the game.
However, not everything about this game sky-rockets like a space missile, some things go down like a lead balloon. Like my scores. I know, it’s maybe meant to be a tribute to the good ol’ times, where all games were hard af, but I say it with the authority of a man, who’s beyond 30: Even back then, we had something like a learning curve! Or at least different difficulty levels! Or the option to destroy the enemies’ rockets! In Asterash, we have none of the above and my rocket-avoiding skills aren’t extra- but subterrestrial. Especially when my spaceship is always covered by the status bar…
Unbelievable, that there are people on the leaderboard with a six-digit score! Must be real astronauts. 😉
So, who’s the winner of the space shooter battle? The future or the past?
I would say, this 2017 version of “Bats”, “Space Invaders”, & Co is a great mix of old ingredients and with a few tweaks (improving the learning curve, rearranging the UI), it would be a perfect adaptation leaving nothing to be desired. MonoFlauta did a great job here and although I’ll always keep on playing my old favorites, “Asterash” has proven equal to the old classics. So get into the spacesuit and play the game here.