Blue-Collar Astronaut has a silly premise and simple gameplay. Anyone can pick up and play this physics-based “Lunar Lander-esque” title as it is that uncomplicated, but I can’t see too many people actually wanting to. Perhaps in short sessions, making the Vita version your best experience with it in all honesty.
The game doesn’t get very deep in the story department. You are thrown into the cockpit of a pizza delivery spaceship, with the intent of paying off your student loan debt by delivering pizzas around the solar system. Your debt, ironically, stemming from your time in Spaceship School (the game’s tutorial). You then later deliver freight as you work your way further towards your goal. The are many obstacles along the way, even other ships trying to murder you, for whatever reason.
The graphics are fine for what they are, but nothing was too memorable. You are mostly staring at a generic black space and stars background you’d expect for a game taking place in space. The planets are studded with buildings and structures but nothing really eye-catching. It uses an art style unique to itself, so I can give credit where credit is due. Soundtrack was rather plain, nothing that had me liking what I was hearing, but I wasn’t annoyed by it or anything. Sound is just doing it’s job here. One aspect of the game I found funny, was at the end of each level, you are shown the money you earned, and how you spent it in between levels. For example, it will deduct money your character spent on groceries, their internet bill, parking tickets, ship repairs, etc. Just a funny little gag at the end of a level, sort of giving your character some life.
You control your ship by using your thrust, and steering your ship in the direction you need to go. Sounds simple enough, right? It is for the first few levels, but it gets pretty hard to control during more complicated objectives. I like a challenge, but it becomes annoying in later levels where you’re not landing on a planet, but are trying to fly your ship into these portals to progress. You have to be so precise sometimes that you may miss your target by a hair, and have to somehow thrust back in the other direction before you run out of fuel. It is more frustrating than it sounds sometimes. The thrust takes forever to actually affect your trajectory. It got to a point where I assumed it was a bug in the game after I was stuck on one certain level for a few different play sessions. This was all at the same time trying to dodge enemy laser fire and ships trying to take me out. On top of all of that, there is a fuel meter that depletes as you hold the thrust button, and once it runs out you basically just drift off in the direction you were thrusting towards until something kills you. I honestly can see many people giving up on the game at those points because you begin to ask yourself, “Why am I even bothering?”
Blue-Collar Astronaut is an “Okay” experience. Honestly, I don’t feel it is worth the $9.99 price tag, not even close. Maybe $5.00 at the MOST would fit this game as there really isn’t much to it. If the ship was slightly easier to control I could have had more fun with this game. It just became discouraging to keep going when there really was no pay off. I was sincerely relieved when I finished this review and knew I wouldn’t have to play it anymore.
Score: 5 out of 10
Easy to pick up and understand physics-based spaceship game. Short play sessions are recommended for this title as it’s repetitive nature will begin to frustrate you. If you must try this title, wait for a sale.