Blue-Collar Astronaut Review

 Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bngxKwjlnVA

Name:

Blue-Collar Astronaut

Platforms:

PC, Mac, Xbox One, Wii U, PS4, PS3, PSVita

Developer:

Mutated Software

Genre:

Casual, Indie, Racing, Simulation

Publisher:

Mutated Software

Modes:

Single-Player

Release Date:

14th March, 2017

Engine:

Unity

Reviewer:

Charede

Product Rating:

E10+

Review Score:

60/100 (60%)

Disclosure:

Copy: Press copy

 

I have had the opportunity for the past few months to spend some of my time on an interesting game called Blue Collar Astronaut by Mutated Software which was released in March 2017 for PC, Mac, Xbox One, Wii U, PS4, PS3 and PSVita. Blue-Collar Astronaut is a challenging physics game set in space that harks back to the days of arcade-style games. The game revolves around a comical adventure exploring the difficulties of achieving employment after being stacked high with student debt and the trials and tribulations that come with these jobs.

 

The game starts with the player taking out a student loan and taking on some tutorial levels which cover well the essentials the player needs to know, but I did still feel a bit lacking on some information. I would not recommend going from taking out one student loan to taking out the second one right away as I did. Unfortunately for me, I am not used the control format games such as these have,and as a result, I struggled even with sections of the tutorial. On departing the tutorial things settled down as I got into the groove of the game. However, that rapidly came to an end as some more difficult levels came into the fray, at which point everything became rather frantic but enjoyable. I found this game to be relatively easy to pick up once I had adjusted to the control scheme but no doubt this game is hard to master. The controls felt at times like they were fighting me and the physics can be hard to predict and at times felt unfair. However, that does make it all the more rewarding when you do manage to pull off a tough landing.

 

 

 

The game features nice, bright art, although a bit basic and a soundtrack that, although enjoyable initially, got stale after a while. On the topic of stale, the game also suffers from mechanics getting stale too. What I mean by this is although plenty is introduced early in the game over time as you progress, this isnot further built on and remains basic. The jobs get very repetitive; regardless of which job you are doing it almost always entails going from point A to B. The game would have significantly benefited from core mechanics being further expanded on. More twists or the introductions of something completely new later in the game that perhaps interacted with existing mechanics but modified them would have been welcomed. This would not necessarily be for the sake of providing more challenge but to increase variety and keep the player on their toes with something new to tackle. I did, however, really enjoy the freedom of the format of the game and the ability to choose what I wanted to tackle. This did, however, lead to moments where lack of direction or mini objectives along the path to paying off the entire debt left me demoralised.This could have been seen as playing into the core theme and part of the extensive pokes at capitalism the game references and jokes about constantly.

 

Overall, the theme and message of the game are great. Blue-Collar Astronaut is well presented and structured which  was a major draw that kept me interested for longer. Commentary on capitalism and the situation of those working in blue-collar industries and the toil it has on those workers was on point but kept a lightmood with well-placed humour that enhanced the experience significantly. The developers did not just do this on a surface level but also went deeper by putting little details into the game like humour within the manual that you only find by exploring and isn’t directly shoved in your face awkwardly. The premise of the game is great and peaked my interest when I found it initially, however, I feel that some opportunity to expand on it further has been missed, which is a shame.

 

 

In conclusion, due to the difficulty with the controls and this being a game with more traditional leanings, I can see this only having niche appeal. The game is so focused towards precision with the physics, failing a lot, which gets incredibly frustrating, and the game’s mechanics not developing enough in the mid- to late game draws back from the parts of the game I loved. The game, at times, is really rewarding,and I love how the game plays on the core theme and sneaks in little details that enhance the experience to give a good chuckle. The game overall works well but I feel could have been expanded on, especially mechanically, which would have granted it more staying power and given more incentive to play for longer. With the game in its current state, I will be awarding it 60%. A good little game if you have a few hours you want to pass or if you are desperate for a thrusters-based physics game.

 

 

 

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