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A Good Shooter with an Even Better Level Editor
Blast Works: Build, T rade, Destroy is one of those games that will get you hooked thanks to its addictive single-player and co-op campaign and will keep you enthralled thanks to the addition of a great level editor. There’s a lot of fun to be had with this side-scrolling shooter, and you’re likely to spend countless hours playing the game with friends and creating your very own shoot ‘em up levels. The game is not without its flaws, but the pros definitely outnumber the cons.
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At first glance, the gameplay in Blast Works appears to be similar to most other side-scrolling shoot ‘em ups. But it won’t take you too long to see that, despite its similarities to other old-school shooters, Blast Works is a fairly different experience than most others. This is because aside from all the shooting, you’ll also be doing a lot of collecting. No, you won’t be looking for hidden items on the screen or engaging in fetch quests; you’ll be collecting any enemy ships that you destroy.
The main draw in the campaign is the ability to magnetically attach any fallen enemy carriers to your ship. You’ll shoot down an enemy, and as that ship falls, you can fly up to it and have it (along with its weapons) attach to your ship. It’s a unique gameplay element, and before you know it, you’re likely to have created a huge Katamari-like fighter plane. If your ship gets hit directly, then you’ll lose a life. That’s what makes adding parts to your ship so essential to the game. If one of the parts you added to your fighter plane gets hit, then that piece will fall off, but you won’t lose a life. This adds a bit of strategy to the game, and you’ll find yourself trying to methodically place the fallen enemy carriers around your fighter for the utmost protection.
Blast Works allows up to two players to cooperatively take on the game’s campaign mode. This adds another layer of fun to the game, and playing alongside a buddy is hectic and addictive. You’ll find yourself desperately trying to add a piece of a fallen ship before your partner can get to it despite the fact that it’s a team effort. Additionally, the game features an arcade mode, which lets up to four players get through the game and shoot for the highest score.
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While the game’s main campaign will draw you into the world of Blast Works, it’s the level editor that will keep you enthralled for hours upon hours. The editor is deep, robust, and features expansive options to help you create your very own Blast Works masterpieces. This is the same editor used by the developers to create the levels found in the campaign mode, so you’ll be able to create either the simplest or most complex stages. You can customize everything from the shape of your bullets to the look of your ship. Enemies, foregrounds, and even backgrounds can all be edited to your liking as well.
If that wasn’t enough, you can go online via Nintendo’s Wi-Fi Connection and share your stages with others as well as download user-created content. Before you can do so, you’ll have to register your Wii on the Blast Works website, but this isn’t a hassle at all, and it beats having to register individual users’ Friend Codes. Once that’s out of the way, you can upload and download content as much as you’d like.
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Graphics and Sound
Some people will scoff at the simple graphics in Blast Works while others will appreciate them. The visual design of the game is indeed very simplistic, but it still retains a clean look to it that can be visually appealing. Backgrounds, while lacking in detail, are decent enough, and levels themselves do have a certain aesthetic charm to them. In any case, you’ll see a lot of action going on, so you probably won’t think too much about the game’s visuals.
The sound in Blast Works is almost as simple as its graphics. You’ll hear countless techno themes throughout the game’s stages, but none of them ever get annoying. The music isn’t over-the-top techno, and you’re likely to get a few of the game’s songs stuck in your head. In terms of sound effects, everything here is very basic as well. You’ll hear simple firing, crashing, and blasting sounds. Nothing is overly conceptual, but it works for the game.
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You can easily get through the campaign’s 15 stages in less than an hour. Of course that mode can last a bit longer if you play the game on a higher difficulty setting, in which case you’re likely to retry several times. Yes, the game is easy on the lowest difficulty level, but even at normal it gets considerably tougher.
Playing with others only adds to the game’s lasting value, and you’ll enjoy taking down enemy ships alongside your friends. There are also a few unlockables thrown into the game. Completing certain tasks will reward you with bonus creation materials, the original TUMIKI Fighters game, and other nice extras.
Still, all of this bonus material easily takes a backseat to the game’s level editor. Be forewarned: there is a pretty big learning curve in terms of the editor. But those who can give it a chance and take the time to get the hang of it will find a vastly deep creation mode that literally allows you to create anything you want.
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Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy is different from most other shoot ‘em ups. This is thanks to the game’s quirky style of gameplay, which isn’t deep at all but literally allows you to customize your battleship as you play, and the game’s level editor. With or without other people playing with you, you’ll be entertained with the campaign and arcade modes, and the extra games are worth playing too. But it’s the level editor that truly shines as the crown jewel in this package. Blast Works is definitely worth the price of admission, especially considering it’s a budget-priced title to begin with. Having said that, this is a game that can be appreciated by both shooter fans and gamers who love to get involved with create modes found in video games.
More articles about Blast Works for the Nintendo Wii.