BlastPoints Hands-On Preview

StarFox-style space combat sims are in pretty short supply on the App Store, and besides recent gems like Arc Squadron, it’s been hard to find a good 3D pick-up-and-play iOS game with lots of lasers and photon torpedoes. BlastPoints from Pub Games is an upcoming, Unreal-powered space shooter that seems to meet a very particular need for action gamers. It doesn’t have much in the way of characters or a story, but it’s got plenty of action.

In BlastPoints, you can customize a one-person spaceship with all the armor, weapons, and special abilities you’ll need to survive a series of combat challenges. Add-ons cost in-game currency called blast points, which you’ll earn by choosing one of four different levels. The levels are randomized, so you never know what’s going to appear on the menu.

In our early build, the four levels were separated by difficulty. The easy round was a timed survival level, while the hardest was an insta-gib gauntlet of 60 enemies. Each level was also set around a different space structure, like a giant floating cylinder, or a gyroscope with deadly moving pieces.

Once you’re in combat, the controls are fairly simple to follow. You can fly with a virtual analog stick on the left, and adjust your speed or fire three different weapons with buttons on the right. Certain special moves, like EMP blasts, are in limited supply, so you’ll have to restock them with your blast points.

Because BlastPoints doesn’t contain a story, it’s hard to find a reason to keep playing missions and upgrading your ship. Are you trying to win an intergalactic destruction derby, or save your home planet from destruction? The cause isn’t clear, but it’s still fun to play these randomized missions.

BlastPoints also makes decent use of the Unreal Engine– the game runs smoothly, even with dozens of enemies onscreen. However, the combat sequences feel largely empty, and the ships themselves aren’t very complex.

BlastPoints certainly has some strong points, and we think it’s shaping up to be an enjoyable and simple shooter. It’ll be available on the App Store on December 6 for $2.99.