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A new take on tower defense games

Arcade titles are an interesting lot, ranging from complex, original IPs to crappy ports of classic titles and everything in between. Comet Crashers falls in the category of “simple, yet complex”, a game that is easy to learn yet somewhat difficult to master. So does this PSN title stay afloat in a sea of arcade games? Let’s find out.

While I think there could be somewhat interesting story attached to Comet Crashers, there is not. Instead, the campaign is made up of various scenarios taking place on various comets (what else). Each scenario tasks you with overcoming a new technology in order to take down the computers base (I’ll get to the mechanics later). After completing each stage, you are then able to use whatever new technology was used on you in future scenarios, each of which get progressively harder. Overall, it’s a pretty simplistic setup that only serves to get you acquainted with the things that you can use in the game. The only real draw to going back to the campaign once your done with it is to improve your score, which is ranked out of five stars and based on the time it takes you to complete each mission. But while each new challenge is puzzling the first couple of times, you’ll be flying through the stages when you try them again and frankly, it gets repetitive. At least you can change the difficulty if you want more of a challenge.

Playing the game itself, however, is different. After completing a straightforward tutorial, you realize just how easy this game is to play. It’s essentially a tower defense game with very simple controls and objectives. However, the thing that sets it apart in the genre is that, instead of surviving as many waves of enemy attackers as you can, your objective is to destroy the enemy base before they destroy yours. In this way, Comet Crashers incorporates some RTS elements into its gameplay. You’ll still be required to fortify your base with turrets among other things, but you also have to amass a large army of various units with different functions, such as the fast but weak scout, to attack the enemy base. Strategically placing your defenses is key, but building large enemy to wipe out your enemy is also important. And frankly, seeing hundreds of your units fill the screen and they march towards the enemy is the coolest thing in the entire game, at least in my opinion.

However, Comet Crashers is still different from other tower defense games because you can build anything anywhere, as long as it doesn’t completely block the enemy’s path to your base (because that would be cheating, but the same goes for your enemy, CPU or not). Sure, you can fortify your base with walls of turrets, but you can also place a turret next to your enemy’s base, provided you have enough money (or rather the resource you use to buy things in the game) to upgrade the turret to withstand the onslaught of enemy firepower. Or, you can place turrets all along the enemy path, thus destroying enemy units before they reach your base. This can be especially frantic in multiplayer, in which four players can do this, thus creating all-out turret wars. Speaking of which, the multiplayer is quite robust, with cooperative and competitive play that are the true fun of the game (aside from facing off against the computer in a regular battle). And since the game is so easy to play but hard to learn, these matches can range from nicely played casual bouts to all-out war fest, which keep the game fun for a good while.

Comet Crashers isn’t the best arcade game out there, but it’s certainly up there. It has robust multiplayer, an easy-to-play setup with a good amount of depth, and it looks pretty good too (I didn’t touch on that but, although simple, it has impressive graphics). It’s too bad that the campaign wasn’t something greater but this is one of those games where the campaign is really just a quasi-unimportant look of what the game has to offer. And in the case of Comet Crashers, there is a lot too be had. Well worth your money, Comet Crashers will keep you entertained for many hours and is an enjoyable experience throughout.

+ A simple design and control scheme, coupled with a deep, nuanced look at the tower defense genre, robust multiplayer, and good graphics make a great package.

– I do wish the campaign had a bit more to offer. Improving your score on levels you’ve gone through multiple times will only keep you entertained for so long, and the repetitive nature of the campaign also drags the experience down.

8.8 Ninja Heads out of 10

Ninja score 9 out of 10