Bit Blaster XL is a retro-style indie space shooter that makes you feel like you’re playing an old school arcade game. The music is great and for for it being under $1.00 you’re not going to be mad it’s now in your steam library. Also, the screenshots don’t do it justice.
So is this game worth a dollar, sure. If you find it under a dollar then definitely buy it. Will this give you hours and hours of fun? For most people I’m going to be honest and say no, you’ll probably play it for an hour or less and never touch it again. Others though might put at least 2+ hours into it which is great! Even if you don’t play it very long the almost 4,000 reviews that are overwhelmingly positive shows that it’s worth your dollar. Now that we got that out of the way let me tell you the good things about this game.
Again, it has great music. As soon as the game opened up and I heard the retro 8-bit music style I just started smiling, I knew I’d enjoy what was coming! When you start there is a basic ship you have but there are others you can buy, each with different stats. Some more shields, bombs that blow up everything on the screen, size, speed, whatever you’re looking for. You buy them with coins which sometimes spawn off of dead enemies and you collect them. There are a variety of enemies from your normal asteroids flying around, to different types of enemy spaceships shooting lasers at you and some that even chase you down and try to kill you. There are even blackholes that spawn and suck everything into them, including you! There is always something to look out for.
As with most games like this there are a variety of power ups (weapons) that you can get during the game. As far as I can tell there is just one level you play until you die but it does stay fresh because of the random spawn of power ups so each play through is different. There are triple shot lasers, bouncing balls of death, a jedi-like laser beam that shoots out of your ship, heat sinking missles (the “H” which are the best!), and many other varieties.
By default your ship is set to auto-fire but this can be turned off if you want to manually shoot. Both have their pros and cons, you’ll have to find what is best for you. Although I started manual I went back to automatically firing, it’s easier to keep track of bad things trying to kill you if you dont need to worry about always firing. When I was doing manual I was getting about 10K scores, with auto I was at 30-40K.
The game has simple controls but it’s actually pretty hard. Dying happens, a lot, but it doesn’t make me mad, I just laugh and think “Damn it not again!”. Because the space ship never stops moving it can be hard to control, even when using the break. Finding the balance between break and boosting is key, both of which are not infinite and must recharge (bar at bottom of screen). After about 20 minutes into the game you’ll get the hang of it though so never fear! It’s a good feature because it keeps the pace of the game intense. Another good thing about Bit Blaster XL is you can’t kill the bullets flying at you so you must dodge! I’ve definitely been coming up on an enemy ship to kill it and I’m so close that when the other ship dies it gets one last hit on me.
As you may or may not guess, touching the edge of the map is instant death. This begs the question, why am I in some box flying a spaceship where asteroids and ships try to kill me but someone is handing me powerups so I can try to survive? Aliens got me! Damn it! Oh well, nothing I can do but keep trying to kill them all.
Well if you decide to splurge and buy this game I say good luck and just enjoy it for what it is. It’s an indie retro arcade space shooter, it never promised to be anything more. Also, if you have a controller I’d suggest it but computer is still fine you may just need to edit the keys. Enjoy!