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Est. April 2016. III Version 2.0. III

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CATASTRONAUTS
Party up for a fantastic voyage.

REVIEW
By JAY TEE
04/10/18

As far as elevator pitches go, Catastronauts totally hits the mark and feels like a dream made real. ‘Overcooked meets FTL’ is the perfect way to sum up this charming, chaotic co-operative adventure. Prepare yourself for friendship straining difficulty escalation, a steady introduction of new ideas, and a local party game that has clearly been made with a lot of love.

Although you can (somewhat awkwardly) play the game solo (by switching between two characters), this has clearly been built with 2-4 players in mind. The lack of online multiplayer is a bit disappointing, but there’s also a pleasing retro itch being scratched by gathering your friends on the sofa.

You’ll be quickly thrown into relentless scenarios which will put the cohesion of your team to the test. You’re constantly putting out fires, repairing hull breaches, disposing of mines, and trying to keep your ship from breaking apart. Despite having to constantly play catchup, it’s never anything less than a great time.

THE BASICS - Top down co-op party game, where you’re tasked with preventing your spaceship from blowing up.

PLATFORMS - PS4, XB1, NS, and PC.

PLAYERS - Offline - 4, Online - 0

CO-OP? MULTIPLAYER? - Four player local co-op for every campaign mission.
 
DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT - None currently announced.

TARPS? - At the bottom of all our reviews, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.

REVIEWS KEY:

The Look - Art style, graphics, and overall presentation.

The Feel - Mechanics, controls, and learning curve.

The Sound - Music, sound effects, and dialogue.

The Experience - Anecdotes and random thoughts.

This is definitely as charming as it looks.

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5

FINAL SCORE:

MAKE IT SO - The Overcooked vibes definitely extend to the visuals, with exaggerated character models and bright colourful textures. The presentation is heavily stylised, which lends itself well to the more playful, jolly aesthetic. The uniforms are even reminiscent of classic Star Trek, which is an immediate win in my books.

STRAIGHT AND STEADY - Despite the hectic nature of the onscreen action, a solid, dependable framerate is maintained throughout. This is a crucial box tick, and absolutely vital considering how intense the later levels get. The whole experience would fall apart if you were having to fight against tech issues, but thankfully, the performance in general remains consistent.

VISOR POWER - There are definitely characters based on Geordi La Forge, and the Gorn. Well played Inertia. Well played.

Catastronauts is an endlessly charming co-op adventure. Equal parts hilarious and challenging, Inertia Game Studios have created a memorable party game that’s definitely worth a look.

*We purchased the game ourselves. No code provided.*

I CANNEE REACH THE CONTROL PANEL! - The similarities with Overcooked continue with the control scheme. Interacting with stuff, sprinting, and character movement are the only things you need to worry about, which opens up the accessibility and allows anyone from gaming novices to seasoned pros the opportunity to jump in. It’s the right approach, and feels great.  

INITIATE THE FORCEFIELD - Each level presents a new concept or challenge. These can restrict your movement, add a new threat, and generally try to up the stakes. The sense of progression and accomplishment as you overcome each step up in difficulty is really satisfying, and the more players that get thrown into the mix only adds to the chaos.

SET PHASERS TO FRAG - Things get tough quickly. Prepare to restart levels, especially if you want to go for a three star rating.

UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR - As if this game wasn’t already charming enough, Inertia threw in gibberish voiceover dialogue, in much the same vein as Banjo Kazooie. This totally fits the lighter tone, and  is genuinely responsible for several laugh out loud moments. It’s a sweet little flourish that I really appreciated.

GIACCHINO’S SCORE - The music is a selection of simple orchestral arrangements, which evoke classic Star Trek, The Orville, and other lighter science fiction fare. It certainly does the job, and once again, fits the tone of the game. It’s another thoughtful example of much appreciated polish.

FIRE EVERYTHING! - I always judge games based on their weapon sounds. And I’m happy to report they sound fantastic.

NEUTRAL ZONE - I’ve previously mentioned the lack of online multiplayer. It’s a very disappointing omission, and most likely a reality of a limited indie game budget. Still, it’s something that could be explored down the line, and would be an absolute perfect fit. It almost feels like the game is already built to support it!

THE SWARM APPROACHES - Catastronauts demands your patience, and you’d be forgiven for wanting to hurl your controller in rage induced frustration when one of the later levels gets the better of you and your squad. Disposing of mines is a particularly arduous task, but stick with it, because the fun far outweighs any irritation at… not being good enough…

CAPTAINS LOG - Certain levels allow you to accidentally (or intentionally) eject your friends into space. Brilliant.

LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS ARTICLE!
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW, TWEET US @JAYTEE_GA, OR E-MAIL: EDITOR@JTGA.CO.UK.

TARP BADGES:

The BAM! DONE! badge lets you know that within minutes of picking up the controller, you can play this like a pro.

The BEST WITH FRIENDS badge is earned if a game is significantly more fun playing with people you know.

The PICK N’ MIX badge is awarded for a game that has a wide variety of things to do, or continually presents new mechanics / ideas.

The MAYORAL ELECTION badge is for a game filled with high pressure moments that put your skills to the test.  

The COUCH MADNESS badge is awarded when a game nails split/same screen gameplay.

The UNRAVEL MY LOVE badge is for a game that is clearly a passion project for the developers.

The SMALL FRY badge is for a title from a smaller development team that is absolutely worth your time and should not be ignored.

GREAT