Sunday, January 19, 2014

Colossatron: Massive World Threat – An Android App Review.

Colossatron: Massive World Threat – An Android App Review.

First off; full disclosure time folks. For the record and in case you aren’t familiar with my situation I am a disabled husband and father of four. So, what that means without putting to fine a point on it is that I don’t have a lot of flexibility with my finances. In short, when it comes to things like apps in general I never ever have the luxury of purchasing them. Instead I make do on the vast array of free apps, Amazon’s infamous Free App of the Day, and on occasion a promotional credit. The later is what I have to thank for the subject of this review.

Now, with that bit out of the way, allow me to continue. Like I said; I recently found myself with a promotional credit on the Amazon App Store and since I never purchase apps I was in a bit of a peculiar position. What do you do with an available credit towards apps when you yourself never can consider buying them? So I began actively looking through the various offerings and tried to weigh my options. Even if it was just a promotional credit and not my own cash I wasn’t about to simply throw it around wastefully.

It took me quite some time (I primarily scouted around sporadically here and there) before I stumbled into a game that both showed some promise and continually kept popping up. Still hesitant, I cross referenced its reviews and preview info on multiple app stores to better get a feel for it. Sadly I am just not one of those people who can comfortably snag something like an app without some careful thought. Maybe it’s the knowledge that dollar signs are attached but in any event I had to rule out some potential pitfalls first.

What I found when I finally took the plunge and clicked purchase was an absolute delight to be blunt. Colossatron proves a positively enjoyable experience that can be described as simple complexity or if you prefer, complex simplicity. What I mean by that is the basic core mechanic of the game is one that is arguably so simple, yet in its simplicity there is a satisfyingly complex blending.

You are the title character of the game, Colossatron, a robotic dragon like creature that crash lands from space to declare itself a literal “Massive World Threat.” As it rampages through cities and towns colored body segments appear that you can drag to join with Colossatron. Each color has a different type of function or capability. For example red segments sport missile launching turrets while blue blasts electricity. But the interesting angle doesn’t lie in the basic primary colored ‘powercores,’ but instead in mixing and matching them.

Just as we all learned in elementary art class; if you mix two primary colors you can get a secondary one. Want to put a red piece next to a blue? Surprise! You then get a purple piece that replaces the previous two (and I might add provides a potent rail gun to blast foes). Put three sections of the same color in a row and they will morph into a superior version of themselves with all three joining into a single piece.

By combining these different sections in a variety of ways you can drastically affect how Colossatron causes catastrophe. If you focus on fewer more refined powercores you can enjoy some satisfying superior firepower, but at the cost of your survivability. Instead, if you are determined to stick with a longer string of smaller segments you can handle much more punishment but struggle with dishing out that devastation.

And if all this wasn’t enough for you, you gain access to unlocking an array or upgrades via an in-game armory purchasable by ‘prisms’ you obtain during each city. Or, after defeating a zone’s capital you open up new gadgets that provide you with flexible new powers or abilities to enhance your play style. Your gadgets are even changeable, albeit at the cost of prisms.

Between each city in a zone you also gain access to a handful of other options available to you for purchase via the in game cash you constantly accumulate by destroying everything in your path. You can purchase additional powercores (which you can click on to rotate through the different colors before connecting), repair all your powercores at once, or buy special power ups like shields, mega bomb and rapid-fire. And, unless you have already unlocked a gadget to do so at will, you can pay to reconfigure your various sections into an alternative order.

All in all, these seemingly simple elements manage to masterfully mix into a complex creation of fun. Each zone is a similar series of scenarios that once you get the hang of is familiar but still challenging. And, should your Colossatron be defeated you have the option of reforming him back to the state he started the level with at the cost of some prisms. If you can’t afford to do so, or simply find it more prudent not to, you can allow the set back to start back at the first city. You do keep any cash or prisms however, and I find that at times it can be wiser to do so.

The prevalent themes in the plot are pun-filled cheese that never takes itself seriously and even pays homage to 80’s/90’s animation. There is an antagonistic military figure known as “General Mustache,” for example. A desk bound news caster chronicles your exploits while his intrepid field compatriot is ever on the scene to relay breaking updates. The entire story is simple and satisfyingly enjoyable.

My only caveats I can highlight are the fact that at times the chaos of your never-ending campaign of carnage can be a little overwhelming on the screen and cause you to lose track of things slightly. Coupled with the fact that your prisms are used to unlock various mechanics or revive yourself – a feature that you can purchase more in game with real money is potentially a problem for less patient players. I’ve never had any trouble with beating zones and moving forward on my own, all that has been required is some patience and playing my way back through the zones cities.

I haven’t beaten the game yet but I do get the impression that it isn’t exactly going to be much longer so if you have issues with short games that might bother you. But for me the game is so much fun as it is that I can easily see myself simply starting it over as soon as it ends. The game does allow for players to replay previous areas in a ‘survival mode,’ to try and best their friend’s high scores online. I haven’t tried this aspect yet and in truth see no real appeal in doing so. However if that is something for you it is an option.

Colossatron: Massive World Threat is a game that is easily worth its $0.99 price tag in my opinion. I’d give it 4 ½ out of 5 stars no question. My only reservation that might keep it from a five star rating would be the fact that others might see the in app purchasing element a requirement for being successful in the game and I would be thrilled to see it perhaps a tad longer in length ( with more areas or slightly different tactical challenges for some). Everything aside; Colossatron is a blast that excels at playing for short sessions to kill time or relax. I may not ever have experienced it otherwise but I am glad I was able to – it’s a load of world wrecking fun.

 Colossatron is available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and many more.