Blast Works: Build, Trade & Destroy - WII - Preview
E3 2007 Preview
It’s funny how slowly the side-scrolling space shooter genre has evolved since its introduction in the 80s. Not much has changed since the arcade and NES releases, aside from graphic upgrades and minor control improvements.
Fast-forward to 2007, a year when gamers may finally discover the revolution they’ve been seeking. And it’s coming straight to the platform once known as Revolution – Nintendo Wii. Blast Works: Build, Fuse & Destroy is a space shooter born from R-Type inspiration, quirky Japanese visuals, and Namco Bandai’s surprise hit Katamari Damacy.
The visuals are outrageously different from the norm, with colored and semi-transparent shapes (such as squares, circles, and rectangles) making up the majority of what you see and control. You command a ship that is made up of those shapes, either from pre-made constructions or a player-made concoction that draws from the game’s many options.
That’s the first step, and thanks to a quick ship editor, it won’t take very long. But you may spend as much time tweaking as desired, bending and stretching each piece to create the perfect custom ship. Some of the homemade spacecraft that were being shown looked more like gunships you’d find out at a sea, not a gravity-controlled ship you’d find out in space. You can apply the pieces any way you like, making ships that are tiny or enormous.
The ship editor is very clear and easy to use. Pieces are located on the bottom of the screen and include various types of right and left triangles, multiple circle and rectangle sizes, and so on. After taking a user-created ship or any others available into the game, Blast Works struts its quirkiness with colors and shapes dashing across the screen. The controls are standard for the genre (push the thumbstick in the direction you wish to fly) and are very responsive. Basic gunfire consists of a steady flow of laser pellets, but you’ll gain access to additional firepower very quickly.
Much of that power comes from the attachment of fallen enemies. Everything you shoot in the game – whether it’s another ship or some type of blockade – has the potential to break off and become a new piece of armor and weaponry for your ship. Similar to the way objects are attached in Katamari Damacy, objects will cling to your ship and become a part of its structure. Each attachment brings something special to your ship – armor, additional weapons, or both. If you think back to R-Type, you’ll remember how its attachments – which could only be applied to the front or back of your ship – added an extra bomb, laser beam, or some other weapon to your arsenal.
But since there is no limit to how big your ship can get in Blast Works, and no restriction on where new attachments can be applied, you can acquire enough pieces to have multiple weapon types firing in every direction imaginable. It’s extremely cool, and was by far one of the best surprises at E3’s Barker Hangar.
Only after being attacked will you run the risk of losing an attachment. But since there’s no end to what you can acquire, you can always get back whatever’s been lost. It won’t look or function exactly the same, and that’s part of what’ll keep this game fresh long after players have conquered its 15 stages.