Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Genre: Shooter
Release Date: 07/11/08
PC gamers who browse through online offerings of free games for download on the internet are by now very familiar with the game Tumiki Fighters. If you haven’t played it yet, I’d highly recommend you try it, as it’s a fun space shooting game with a great original premise that doesn’t require a super-powerful machine to run. Or, you could just wait until it hits the Wii, in the form of the newly-redubbed Blast Works.
For those unfamiliar with Tumiki Fighters, the idea is that you’re blasting your way from left to right in the space shooter tradition of games like Gradius and R-Type. Both you and enemy fighters are constructed out of simple geometric shapes, and when you destroy an enemy, they disassemble into their component parts, which you can rush into and attach to your ship’s hull, making it a part of your own. This increases your ship’s weaponry (adding whatever weapon the part you’re attaching had), but at the same time it increases the size of your ship, making you a bigger target, and one hit is all it takes to bring you back down to nothing. The idea is that you have to moderate your ship’s upgrades so you don’t become so big you can’t avoid enemy gunfire.
Far from a straight port, Blast Works will include additional content like a editor mode as well as 4-player co-op. In the editing mode, players will be able to design their own ship, editing various features like its look, basic weapon and so on. Players can also edit levels, and store numerous ship designs. As for the co-op mode, it plays pretty much just like the single-player, although this time a friend is helping you blast enemies away (and also potentially stealing the ship upgrades you want).
The demo we were shown at E3 used the nunchuck’s analog stick to move and the A button to fire, although we’re told that the final version should also allow other control schemes, like holding the Wii remote in the NES-style. Also, while the screen got pretty crowded in the demo (especially when multiple players jumped in), there are plans to have the screen zoom out when ships get big and things get hectic, especially when additional players join the fray, so it seems that the folks at developer Budcat Creations are already well-aware of tweaks that need to be made.
Frankly, the Wii has been dying for good original games, and Blast Works may very well be just what they needed. While the game is shamefully low-tech and doesn’t make use of any of the Wii’s unique motion-sensing features, its simple, addictive gameplay makes it hard to let go of the controller, making Blast Works a likely candidate to be the Wii’s Geometry Wars (which is kinda’ ironic, what with the Wii due to be getting a port of Geometry Wars as well).
Simple and addictive, and while there are still a few kinks to work out, Blast Works is well on-track to being a wonderful arcade-style experience on the Wii.