Review By: Jesse Mason
Although many don't think so, there's a difference between
a fun game and a good game. A good game is one that is designed and programmed
properly. A fun game can be screwed up as heck but still be entertaining.
The best of games manage to mix the two. Blasto, the subject of this review,
is average as a game, but still manages to entertain. It's all in the
presentation. Blasto offers us a cartoon, not a serious game. The character
flows heavily, even though not much else does. Which is why Blasto is fun
to play, but not much of a game.
Instead of the free roaming, mission style of gameplay, Blasto has you moving
from start to finish. Besides Sony's other superior game, Crash Bandicoot
(and its superior sequel), this style of gameplay in a 3D platformer has
been ignored. Why? Because Super Mario 64 did it the other way and sold millions.
But while Super Mario 64 managed to capture the spirit of Mario, its gameplay
isn't exactly Super Mario Bros in 3D.
But Blasto is Super Mario Bros in 3D with a gun but without
the spirit. Blasto has you moving through the levels in a non-linear fashion,
but you don't explore at all. Instead, Blasto has a first person shooter
style find the key, open the door way of getting through the episodes. It's
refreshing to see start to finish in a 3D platformer, but I would've like
to see more originality in doing it. The levels are large, so you'll be spending
a long time finding the keys (which are computers that open up a door when
you push a button). The largeness unfortunately does open the game to a lot
of repetitive scenery, especially in the beginning. But the scenery does
have character, with cartoony levels that mock the Jetsons and the various
campy space cartoons from the fifties and sixties.
Blasto himself mocks super heroes. Dressed up in a skin
tight suit, he's sort of a cartoony Duke Nukem without the vulgarity. The
late Phil Hartman perfectly provides his voice with hundreds of voice overs
that are actually quite humorous. The enemies are typical cartoon type guys
who say "mommy" when you hit them with your gun. Speaking of your gun, it's
quite useful, but the powerups for it unfortunately are not. The enemies
are relatively easy to kill: a couple shots and they're gone. Unlimited ammo
makes them all the more easy to take out.
Challenge is one of the most important parts of any game.
Get the right balance, and you probably won't be able to save a bad game,
but many games suffer from the wrong balance (insanely hard or insanely easy
isn't the best way to keep someone's interest). Blasto, like so many other
games that have you moving around a lot with this control structure (press
up to move forward), gets most of its challenge from staying away from the
edges. Too bad. Blasto should've had the Super Mario 64 style of movement.
The game would've been better, and it would've forced the developers to find
the challenge in better places.
On the technical side of things, the graphics aren't cutting edge, but have
character and are nice to look at. Campy music plays, while sound effects
are minimal. Lazy programming is blatant, and pretty much everything technical
about this game feels average.
Basically, what you have here is a harmless game that isn't really good but
is rather fun. Sony might have been aiming for a franchise here, but here's
my advice "Stick to Crash folks. He's good enough for me."