This title was reviewed on Nintendo Switch, but is also available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
On September 28th 2018 Developers at Inertia Game Studios released a party game about space cadets blasting enemy ships while trying to keep their ship alive that was aptly named Catastronauts. The game was marketed as chaotic and with the release on the Nintendo Switch, which is marketed as a console meant for quick playing with friends I have tried my hardest to find out how good and chaotic this game really is.
Firstly,Catastronauts‘ art style comes off as if it was made for children but I argue that the art style is both made to be whimsical and silly as to help with the chaotic theme. The characters all look really simple and you can see that in both how they look and how they move inside the ship. This also has the potentially unintended effect of making them look like they are too dumb to understand the chaotic situation they are in.
The colours are very bright and distinct which is helpful for differentiating between the many different pieces you need to keep track of. All in all when it comes to the appearance of the game I’m glad to report that it is fun to look at for long periods of time.
While I remember the sound being frantic and that there were a few sound cues for some of the things you need to keep track of, I can’t say any of it was memorable. But on the other hand, that could be because I was so focused on the game itself so your mileage may vary on this one.
Now onto the story: To be honest the story is an excuse plot for the game to exist. A general names you all space cadets and then gets kidnapped by some villainous scaly menace. It is now your job to save him by destroying every enemy ship and killing every enemy indiscriminately. But that’s okay because through the dialogue you get after you finish a level and go back to the hub world, the main enemy leader makes it clear he wants to do the same to you.
To begin with, the gameplay is simple. Your ship is met by an enemy ship in space and it fires at you periodically, so you take a fire extinguisher and put out fires. Take a toolbox to cracks in the ship and fire your guns. In fact the early levels are so easy that if you’re playing with two players like I was, you can just have one person focus on guns and the other focus on fixing the ship – but this doesn’t last long. Eventually the levels add new mechanics like solar flares which will instantly kill your character if you aren’t in a special room, bombs that you have to pick up and drop off the ship, Airlocks that can be tampered with by the enemy, and my own personal worst enemy otherwise known as batteries that charge your guns. Each level is a combination of these mechanics and a few others that I haven’t mentioned which creates enough variety to keep you addicted to the challenge.
As a small challenge if you play the game by yourself, you are left in control of two characters that you switch between which changes up the game by having you manage your second character as a resource.
Catastronauts is a game that blends chaos and teamwork very well. The challenge was very addicting and it was fun with even just one friend. This game is a definite must play when you have a few friends over and are looking to play a cooperative game. My only gripe was with the music and even then, as I said earlier there is a good chance I was just too focused on the game itself to notice.