Meteor Blitz Hands-On

If you haven’t been doing your part for humanity and protecting us from space rocks, it’s time to start stretching your thumbs, because Meteor Blitz is on its way to the App Store. We spent some time with the game recently and were mightily impressed.

A clone of Super Stardust HD for Playstation 3, Meteor Blitz is a frenetic top-down shooter that has you destroying all manner of objects out in the cold, endless vacuum of space. You’ll battle asteroids, lava rocks, ice chunks, dragon snakes, spike wheels, and heat-seeking diamonds, among other things.

To control your ship and fire your weapons, you use a dual-stick setup that provides very tight-feeling controls. You have three weapons at your disposal, each of which is upgradeable several times: a plasma gun, a flamethrower, and an ice cannon. Just like in real life, the flame weapon does extra damage to frozen objects, while the ice gun puts additional hurt on the fireballs. Each level takes place over a planet, so even though there are no boundaries on the playing field, traveling in a straight line will eventually bring you back to where you started.

While there are six worlds to play, unlocking them is no easy task. This isn’t one of those wimpy casual games you can sleepwalk through from tutorial to credits. With enemies spawning everywhere, clustering together and surrounding your ship, this game slaps you with the reaper the second your attention flags. We found it helpful to prop our eyes open with the device from A Clockwork Orange when playing.

In each level, you can unlock achievements, snatch temporary powerups, and collect rings to purchase permanent upgrades between levels. If you get in a tight spot, you can double tap to rush forward, which is useful for quick escapes, or detonate a bomb to blast everything onscreen. A survival mode is also available, in which enemies keep on coming until you lose all your lives. Leaderboards track your high scores both locally and against the masses.

Helpfully, there’s an automatic pause feature that kicks in the moment you remove your thumbs from the screen. Also, if you quit in the middle of a play session, the next time you boot the game up you’re put back in exactly where you left off mid-level, with your session paused.

With its generic title and well-trodden setting, we honestly weren’t expecting much from this game. But the level of polish and intense action caught us off guard. It’s ’nuff said that this game should be on your radar. We’ll have a full review as soon as it’s released.

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