REVIEW : Have a Blast (PC)
Spacewar was one of the first video games ever developed. Spacewar! would be one of the most significant video games and a predecessor to one of the earliest coin-operated games, Computer Space, which was only available on pricey computers owned by institutions. Asteroids will later include similar gameplay. So why am I bringing up these old video games? Because Have a Blast! has gameplay that could be described as a modern-day version of Spacewar!
Have a Blast! is a party game that is played from the top down. In four separate game modes, you command one of five different ships and battle against friends or bots. The function of each ship is the same, but the appearance varies, and ships are named according to the specific skill they possess. For example, the Sniper can fire a strong rail-gun-like bolt that can destroy ships in a single shot. The explosion forms a blast zone surrounding it, and so on. Ships are subject to inertia and will not stop unless reverse thrust is applied. Weapons also cause your ship to fly rearward violently. While it has all of the elements to be a great party game, it falls short in terms of execution, particularly when it comes to shipping control.
I understand that the ships in Have a Blast! are probably designed to be tough to manoeuvre, but they can be mastered with practice. I don’t mind games that use Asteroids!-style momentum, but Have a Blast! Goes too far and seems sloppy, as if there’s a string tugging at your spacecraft all the time. Each arena is packed with traps and obstructions, and each ship can only take so much damage before exploding. The screen’s edge isn’t a barrier either—you may walk from one side of the screen to the other, adding to the confusion.
Have a Blast! Features four different game modes. Versus is a four-on-four free-for-all, whereas Team and Mothership pit two two-player teams against each other. In addition, mothership introduces a larger ship that you must defend, as you will not be able to respawn if it is destroyed, and your attackers will win. Finally, a challenge option also pits you against the AI in 1v1 battles across Have a Blastmany !’s arenas.
Have a Blast! It’s visually appealing, but it’s hardly innovative. I love it when a neon style is used successfully, which is a great example of that. Some of the venues are visually appealing, but they aren’t anything new. But it’s at those moments of brilliance that I can’t help but think, “damn, this game could’ve been so much better.”