Review: Astroslugs – Tetris with a sinus infection?

Review: Astroslugs – Tetris with a sinus infection?

Platforms: Windows PC, Mac

Game Name: Astroslugs

Developer: Bit Barons

Genre: Puzzle

Release Date: January 27th 2011

Developer Summary:

Astroslugs is a colorful and soothing puzzle game for Windows PC and Macintosh that is extremely easy to pick up. It features interesting puzzles which require you to fit a number of different shapes upon a board. Fill all available spaces with all the available shapes to solve each one.

The evil but slightly incompetent Astroslugs strife to leave their home planet and conquer the universe. Their only problem: They have no source of energy to jumpstart their space craft. Now they turn to you, a young and promising slug archeologist, to solve the riddle of the ancient slugballs, power the ship and get them on their way to universal domination.

What We Think:

Charming in its presentation, Astroslugs packs in more puzzles than you could ever drag your slimy underbelly over.

Ooze you can use

Ooze Hound

The first puzzles the player encounters are simple, and are more a tutorial of the game’s core mechanics; As a “slug archaeologist” the player discovers the slug spacecraft that has been drained off all power. Ancient slugballs are the porous shells arranged in various ways in each stage. By dragging the mouse across them in certain patterns, the player links them up using slug slime. Once all the shapes in a level have been connected, the circuit board is complete, and the energy for that stage is harvested. Collect the energy from all levels in a stage to advance to the next one.

As the levels progress, so does the difficulty level. Certain slime patterns are going to require some careful crisscrossing with other shapes. The amount of energy awarded depends wholly on the difficulty level assigned to each stage. Puzzles that net the player one or two energy pods are fairly easy. Hidden levels that can net upwind of seven units are just plain nasty, and are not recommended for anyone likely to throw things at other things.

Glowing pear + 2 = any given primary color. That's space math!

The Lion Seeps Tonight

The trek will take the slug archaeologist all over the globe (those ancient slugs smashed up their craft goood) leading the story through the jungles, forests, tundras and deserts. Each new area sports impressively designed visuals, and the critter and slug animations on display are often highly amusing. While the occasional change of scenery is welcome, it is merely a change in background skin, and it doesn’t noticeably augment the gameplay. Somehow, it feels like an opportunity might have been overlooked.

A hint system might have been a nice addition for those less spatially aware. Perhaps by firing through a stage quickly enough, the player can earn points towards a clue? In considering some of the outlandish slime-patterns the player is tasked with properly housing, even giving away one of the larger pieces might spell out the rest of the solution. Maybe it just was not meant to be.

Stick the Landing

With a solid, endearing presentation, and boasting over 40 stages of head-scratching puzzles, Astroslugs will have players clicking and dragging, with the level of delight versus frustration left wholly up to the individual. The 9.99 Euro pricetag may seem a little steep; unfortunately, other than the varying levels of difficulty, there isn’t much else that the game offers in variety. There are no extras to be found, so what the player sees is what the player gets. A great title for those looking to ease through puzzles without the frustration of timers ticking down.

[xrr rating=”3.5/5″]