Generally speaking, we are not a competitive gaming couple. While each of us at GIMMGP has a genre that is our sport of choice (Chip- fighting games, Laura- racing games), these arenas rarely overlap in our play sessions. However, there is one type of game at which we are both quite skilled and rather aggressive- puzzle games.
Whether it’s Chip dealing out massive combos in Tetris Attack or Laura devouring piles of tasty creatures in Critter Crunch, the two of us have quite a bit of history with puzzle gaming. Thanks to the rise of the handheld and mobile markets, we have been able to find plenty of great single-player options on our respective devices.
In spite of these portable offerings, we are always on the lookout for any fun puzzle games for two players on home consoles. There is something wonderful about sitting side-by-side on the couch and trying to crush your loved one under a pile of brightly colored digital blocks. Thanks to a recent release on the Wii-U eShop, the joy of puzzle game competition has filled the GIMMGP HQ once more.
Like many puzzle games before it, Astral Breakers focuses on matching objects of like color (in this case, orbs known as Astral Spheres) and keeping your play area clear. After dropping several spheres from the top of the screen, the cursor will begin to glow, meaning you have the option to make the next sphere an “Astral Breaker” for the current color. These breakers are used to destroy clusters of like-colored orbs, thus keeping your play area clean while dumping loads of Astral Spheres on your opponent’s side.
Since the option to activate a breaker is within each player’s control, Astral Breakers allows for different play styles. Some folks may choose to hold onto their breaker option, waiting until a massive pile of like-colored spheres are on the board before wiping them out. Others will activate the breakers as soon as possible, dropping these little bombs on the board for future use.
These options in play mean once again pitting speed versus cunning in the realm of matching colored spheres. As Chip would try to set up two- and three-chain combos on the field, Laura would rush along, clearing her board as quickly as possible. After numerous intense rounds with several close calls, it was Laura’s quick reflexes that won more matches than Chip’s meticulous planning.
Fortunately for Chip, there is more to this puzzler than just competitive play. Astral Breakers features a cooperative mode called SuperNova, where two players work together to survive increasingly difficult waves of spheres being dumped onto the playing field. SuperNova feels akin to arcade games of old, where constantly trying to improve your high score is the real goal.
Along with competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes, Astral Breakers has a Story Mode for individual players, hosted by an adorable star named Kira. The game also features a soundtrack of somber notes and relaxing melodies, perfect for keeping players cool during the more intense challenges. The whole package is a wonderful puzzle title that is ideal for bringing people together to have some fun and compete for cosmic glory.
Be sure to check this game out, and while you’re at it, hop on over to the developer’s website for the equally adorable and lovely story behind the creation of Astral Breakers.