When I decided to set up Independently Speaking, I knew I would get to play some fantastic games that a lot of the gaming world would miss out on. Problem is, so many gamers believe if it’s not sitting on a shelf wrapped up nicely in a box, it can’t be that good, right?
Point in case – Caster. The brain-child of Mike Smith, a senior programmer at Hidden Path Entertainment, he recently promised me that it’s all about ‘feeling powerful’. Oh boy, he wasn’t kidding.
Caster throws the player into the world of Middon, where the Flanx race has taken over the land by, kinda… standing around. Our hero, a young Caster recruit, has the job of roaming the land blasting them all the smithereens while collecting up all the energy balls he finds.
What begins as a typical linear shooter grows into something much more. A tutorial level here, an easy ‘get to grips’ map there, and THEN we’re off. Enemies start to fire back, lazers fly everywhere and energy balls become a lot harder to reach. Thank god, then, for the shop upgrades.
See, the energy balls aren’t just for show (or score). Energy means cash and cash means prizes, so to speak. Power up your rush, add some oomph to that blaster, pump that health gauge. By the time you’re halfway through the game, you’ll feel like a supreme destroyer, completely devastating the land and tearing the baddies to shreds – you’ll feel like the god of Middon.
Problem is, that’s halfway through the game, and it didn’t take you long to get there. Yes, as is quite a trend at the moment, Caster is just too short for its own good – however, unlike others, it has a backup plan in the form of future episode releases – and at no extra cost. That’s right, just pay for this first part and you’ll get the remaining episodes for free. For $10, you really can’t say much better than that.
So that’s the game length issue cleared up. But what about those pixely graphics, hey? It looks all blocky, right? Well… yes and no. I mean, alright, it’s not the nicest-looking game ever created, but at the same time what’s wrong with a few polygon edges? It’s a 3D world created by 1 man! It was never going to be a artistic masterpiece.
But you know what? What is there… is pretty nice. I mean, some of the scenes look pretty spectacular – the motion blurring when your character sprints across a lake towards a sparkling tree, the sky filling with the flash of lazer fire, for example. You’ll most definitely see sights you wouldn’t believe from an independently developed experience.
Sound-wise, prepare for techno beats a-plenty mixed with more mellow… melodies. It’s what you would expect and it’s all done really well. Yep… nothing more to say on that. It’s all good.
In conclusion, here is what I’m trying to say – for $10, you are getting more than your money’s worth, especially with future *free* releases promised. Caster is fast-paced, high-action, explosive fun and an absolute delight to power you way through. Pick it up and feel the force.
Verdict: It’s your pathway to total power and you’ll love blasting your way through every second of it.