I recently did something that I hadn’t done in a long time. I hadn’t realised how long it had been until the night was done. No, it’s not that, get your heads out of the gutter. I played a 4-player couch co-op game and it was brilliant. I owe all this giddiness to Inertia Game Studios Catastronauts.
Sit down with your best buds
Catastronauts is a self-described – chaotic couch co-op experience for 1 – 4 players and I have to say they are 90% accurate. This is a wild and wacky game that had my friends and I (a full complement of 4 players) completely going nuts. We were racing between each mission trying to make sure that our spacecraft survive the various invasions we had to tackle.
In Catastronauts you are a crew of 4 who have to make sure that have to work as a team so that they can save their superior officer from the clutches of the villains. Not only that but you have to make sure that your team survives to get to that fateful collision.
All hands on deck
So the gameplay is all about ensuring your ship survives the various battles it comes into contact with. Each level will last approximately 15 minutes and are broken down into several key factors.
- Figuring out what the main mission is and executing it as well as possible.
- Making sure that everyone does their part.
- Don’t get in anyone’s way.
- Don’t accidentally kill any of your allies (this happened a lot to us).
- Make sure to have snacks and drinks on hand (this is a personal choice to enhance the experience).
The right tool for the right job
Right then I’ve told you that you have to defend your ship, but from what? Well as the enemy ship damages your ship multiple issues will arise. They range from fires that spread, well like wildfire to cracks in the hull and so much more. At the beginning of each mission, you are tasked with putting out these literal and figurative fires. How you do this is with the tools available. For there are fire extinguishers, repair tools that fix any cracks in the ship as well as any machinery you need during the mission.
This sounds simple but what makes Catastronauts so engaging and infuriating are the multitude of ways things can go wrong and as the difficulty rises your options become more limited. For example in one mission early on my team and I had to protect the ship from fires and cracks in the hull, simple right? Wrong we had been separated by walls meaning that two people could only deal with one section of the ship and the other two had another section to deal with. This problem was further compounded by the fact that one group had all the repair items while the other had none!
What did we do? Well, there was a two-way teleporter which allowed us to get the tools between each other. This was surprisingly stressful as we were being constantly bombarded by attacks from the enemy. This is stressful enough by itself but the game does not stop there. You also have to destroy the opposing ship. This brings in the factor of using the ships onboard weaponry.
The weaponry at first was simple, press a button it fires, easy. That can’t get more complex right? Inertia Game Studios is over on the side saying – hold my beer. The next complication came in the shape of batteries to charge otherwise the weapons don’t work. Okay, no problem. Next, the batteries are in two separate areas that you have to teleport from one area of the ship to the other to recharge and then you have to hold the weapon button so that it charges. Please stop.
Then came the moment where all hell broke loose. One massive weapon that requires two batteries that are on the other side of the ship and you need to charge them transport them over to the weapon and have two separate players press the weapon button at the same time and if they’re out of sync it doesn’t work, I’m out.
There’s depth behind its simplicity
Catastronuats has a simplistic art style and graphics that would look at home on a high-end PlayStation 2 but don’t let its less than stellar visuals deter you because there is so much to enjoy here.
If there were any issues it would be that you need a full party of 4 spacefarers with you to fully enjoy Catastronauts. I even tested this. With 2 players the first few sections of levels are possible if extremely taxing. However, once you hit the later levels you will literally crash and burn and remember nobody in space can hear you scream.
Catastronauts is a brilliant game. I am so thankful to have played this game and that I got to play it with my friends in the same room. It reminded of a simpler time when I’d head over to my childhood friends house and play nonstop party games. Yes with the innovation of online we were able to close the gap around the world but there’s something truly enjoyable about being with a group of friends fighting back hordes in the same room.
Stay tuned to GamEir for more reviews and let us know have you had a chance to check out Catastronauts.