BulkyPix takes another trip down memory lane with the shooting gallery game Triblaster. For those who spent some time in the arcades back in the day, Triblaster is an obvious homage to the Atari classic Tempest. Not only are the looks reminiscent of the the original’s vector graphics, but the sounds are straight out of the ’80s. The obvious exception to the throwback design are the really cool looking interstellar background images.
Your game piece is a unilateral triangle which can be moved across the playing field by moving your mouse to the left and to the right. You can also, by hitting the space bar, jump off the grid and take some shots at enemy units which have made it to the end of the grid. Your icon will move and fire only if you hold down the left mouse button. It will be shooting constantly, which is OK, but you do not control the rate of fire (not as OK). The consolation prize here is that the control button on your keyboard activates a nifty beam weapon. Use this one judiciously because the beam weapon draws heavily on your energy reserves. Your beam weapon energy reserve is recharged as you collect the small green tetrahedrons (roll over them when they reach your end of the grid).
Another place to collect these little green goodies is during the “recharge zone.” In this zone, a floating head (looks a bit like Mr. Roboto made it to Tron’s grid) spits out a few green shapes. You need to click and move to try to keep the goodies centered so you can intercept them. Collect five in a row and you will be awarded an extra life. Miss the target and all you get is a mechanical “ha-ha-ha” as the head flies away.
The game provides a few types of enemy units, including spikes which hop down the grid, hard to kill sentry units which spew fire all over the place, and carriers which act like troop transports landing grunts on your doorstep. The jump function and beam weapon come in particularly handy with these.
There are a few minor points I can grouse about, so here goes. Your mouse sensitivity will be an issue because if you have it set to move quickly across the screen you will diminish the pinpoint control you may need to hit the most important target. Another oddity with the mouse is related to the dock access behaviour; when you are playing in full screen mode, the dock will appear if you move your mouse to the extreme edge of the screen where your dock resides. This results in a loss of control over your icon. When you are not in full screen mode, this problem is accentuated because the game doesn’t register the presence of the mouse if it moves off the game window.
Also, having to hold the fire button to be able to move is a bit annoying.
The game does increase in difficulty quickly enough to keep the player engaged, but the grids are a bit bland for the first few levels. The game play is complex enough to require more planning than just “keep moving and keep firing.” and there is a decent variety of enemy units and enough “move faster” action to keep you on your toes. There are some issues, but for only $3.99 (on Steam) it isn’t a bad game and is not over-priced.
All things considered, though I might actually want to play Tempest instead. Anybody got a quarter? Ready, player one…
Category: Action arcade
Mac Publisher: Bulkypix
Minimum System Requirements: OS X Mountain Lion, 2.0 GHz dual core processor, 1GB RAM, Integrated graphics card, 250MB disk space (also available for iOS)
Network Feature: No
Availability: Out now