Between all the many Asteroids remakes floating around, this one stands as one of the most original. It's not for particular innovations in the gameplay, aside from some creative bonuses like the Bounce Shield or the Radiate Gun, or the "Attract", which transforms the ship into a sort of black hole which attracts even its own shots (!). No, it's for the graphics. The game makes use of an incredible variety of fireworks, fade and color-cycling effects. Added into the weird designs of the enemies, it results in a screen always full of lights, colors and explosions, and an overall "hallucinated" look – in fact, the definition "Asteroids on LSD" often came to mind. Sound isn't less weird, with its "New Age" effects – they are very hard to describe, you should just listen to them. Anyway, they add a lot to the "Chaos" that is the game's trademark ;) The graphics are highly customizable, with a lot of background effect to choose from. Just don't select the "Smooth" or "Fluid" modes, the game is virtually unplayable with them, but they are great if you like extreme psychedelia :b |
The gameplay classic Asteroids: simple, but good for both quick or long blasting sessions to break your previous records – a design that really stands the test of time. Like with the graphics, the gameplay is highly customizable: you can choose, for example, the frequency of boss attacks, or the percentage of bonuses per enemies destroyed. There are four multiplayer modes, the best being the Race: the first player to achieve a certain score, wins. When playing alone, the ship can be "locked" at the center of the screen: this way, I rarely lost track of it even in the most confused moments, even because, as opposed to the strange enemies, it's just a triangle!
At first, you'll be overwhelmed by the extreme confusion. Personally, after getting used to it, I kept playing and playing, just to see another strange enemy pop up, and blow it to boost my score. Even losing a life is cool, when you explode like the Universe was collapsing ^^.
So, Spheres of Chaos is a game you either love or hate, but it deserves at least a try in every case, considering how small the download of the demo version is (there are Linux and RiscOS versions too). The registration price was also cut in half recently, so be nice and don't use cracks – the author found out that one of them could be a trojan, and doesn't know if others are the same! You don't want to take risks like seeing your credit card number stolen, right? :b
Reviewed by: Davide Mascolo