WELCOME TO THE GALAXY
You need energy, I need energy, everybody needs energy. In Fly and Destroy, this truth is no different, but I bet you've never had to go into the depths of space to get it, all while dodging a cascade of asteroids. Energy in this game comes in the form of fiery orange points of light. They appear at random and must be collected before they disappear, but many other objects, including asteroids and power-ups share the space with you, so be on your toes.
The game can be bough on Steam for 1.99$.
Fly and Destroy doesn't have much of a story to speak of, and instead dives straight into the gameplay. In theory, the objectives are simple: stay alive and collect your quota of energy. If you can do those two things, you finish the level. The reality, however, is much more complicated. This game functions on a three star grading system, which factors in the time spent and remaining lives. There are also three difficulty levels, the more difficult of which make the levels more difficult to complete by tweaking a few gameplay elements, but making a three star rating more attainable.
Although the power-ups are undoubtedly useful, they come with a handful of drawbacks. When the player has an active power-up, a colored haze creates a halo around the ship. This halo-effect can be almost invisible in hectic situations, like when asteroids are exploding left and right. Also, when more than one power-up is active simultaneously, another color is added to the halo, which can sometimes result in a four-color ring. The green and yellow powers often blend together, making it difficult to discern which one(s) are currently active.
Another issue is the duration of each power. Although the active time can be extended, players have no way of knowing when a power will wear off. The information is available on the upgrade screen, but players cannot be expected to count the exact number of seconds until said power will expire. An indicator, such as having the halo flicker for a few moments before extinguishing, would have been very useful.
Weapons play a key role in this title. Only two types are available, mines and guided missiles, but that should be enough to do the trick. To use either weapon, resources, which are earned by collecting energy, must be consumed. Each weapon has a unique cost and cannot be used again until enough resources have been found. However, the mines are far superior to the missiles, as the AI controlling their movements forces them to lazily drift before acquiring a target. Missiles rarely target the nearest asteroid, instead pursuing more distant ones for unknown reasons. This process can sometimes take so long that the asteroid will leave the screen before the missile can destroy it.
Manipulate Time and Space!
Players possess two other key abilities: freezing time and reversing gravity. Freezing time is pretty self-explanatory, but reversing gravity creates a field around your ship which sends asteroids away from you when they make contact. Both of these are temporary and can be upgraded. Be careful of reversing gravity. Although the asteroid may be pushed aside, it's still very possible to fly into one, and more importantly, what goes up, must come down, and often faster than it did before.
As players complete levels and collect energy, upgrading your weapons and power-ups becomes a must. There are two types of points, each of which upgrades either your weapons or powers. Collected energy can be spent on the four colored powers. Each color can be upgraded in two fashions, duration of the power-up and a unique ability. For example, the secondary red upgrade increases the mine spawn rate, while the yellow energy increases the chance for a weapon to activate a second time for free.
The second type of currency is accrued by earning stars by completing a level. Each star is worth a single point and can be spent to cut the cost of weapons or upgrade the time freeze or anti-gravity abilities.
Graphics and Sound
Fly and Destroy's rendition of space is simply beautiful. The pristine planets glow with a mysterious light. Even the distant stars seem to invite the player's gaze into deep space. In a game where the gameplay remains roughly the same, having a variety of images makes it easier on the eyes. Everything, including the loading screens looks absolutely great.
For a technical perspective, the visuals are less than perfect. Frame rate issues become an increasingly worrisome problem in the later levels. This causes sound cues to seem to play early, most notably when the player loses a life. Although the hit detection works fine, it can seem that the player was destroyed before making contact with a hazard because of the low frame rate. This problem can be remedied by adjusting some graphical settings, but it doesn't completely alleviate it.
This game fairs equally well in the music department. The soundtrack is picked at random for a wide variety of styles ranging from pulse pounding to slow and atmospheric. The track choice completely alters the mood of the game, which further refreshes the gameplay.
Fly and Destroy's controls are a little on the slippery side. There's a slight delay between an input and its corresponding reaction when flying the ship, which is further exacerbated when the frame rate drops. They take some getting used to, but given enough time, players should be flying high in no time. Weapons are activated by right or left clicking, while abilities are triggered by the mouse wheel, all of which feels intuitive and natural.
Fly and Destroy is a simple time-waster game, which is perfect for short gaming sessions. In fact, I hope it will be ported to mobile devices someday. Zooming around the beautifully rendered backgrounds all while dodging asteroids and collecting energy is sure to provide a good time. Unfortunately, the game is not without its flaws. The power-ups should have been balanced in a way that would encourage gamers to use all the tools at their disposal, instead of one weapon to rule them all. That combined with the frame rate drops makes for a slightly frustrating experience. That said, Fly and Destroy is well worth the price of admission. If you're looking for something short, sweet, and action-packed, look no further.
|+ Gorgeous background graphics||– Imbalanced power-ups|
|+ Addicting gameplay||– Frame rate drops|
|+ Great music variety||– Useless missiles|
|+ Fun upgrading system||– Controls have a learning curve|
|+ Game is well worth $1.99|