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Astro Duel 2

Developer: Wild Rooster

Competititve Mutliplayer
  • Price: $19.99
  • Release Date: Mar 7, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1 - 6
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: E [Everyone]
  • Watch this review on YouTube
    A pretty nice marriage of a well-thought-out multiplayer shooter and a reasonably fun single-player campaign of sorts

    Some years ago, near the dawn of the Switch era, I was tasked with checking out the indie title Astro Duel. With my wife and kids help we checked it out, and it wasn’t too bad, but the fact that it was essentially a dedicated local multiplayer game only, without any single-player options beyond simply playing against some AI bots, made it feel awfully limited. While it had some smart ideas like you being able to regain your ship if you were able to stay alive for a few seconds floating in space, making for some tense situations at times, it just didn’t have enough to offer to give it much longevity.

    Now, more than 6 years later, Astro Duel is back with a sequel, and to the developers’ credit some changes have been made to give it more variety, including the addition of a bounty mode which can be attacked solo or with the help of some friends. The result is definitely a case of taking the positives of the original and fleshing things out. The Versus mode (which supports up to 6) remains pretty intense, with plenty of potential for last-second saves, generally destructible environments, and power-ups worth the risk of making a mad dash for. The new addition, the Bounty mode, features a growing network of locales for mixing things up since you can destroy enemies from the sky or take battles inside as well as you fight on foot in specific gravity zones.

    This time around, given the variety of play, there are less downsides, and the option to play solo, against AI, against friends, or even with friends does provide many more chances for enjoyment. It’s really a matter of taste, but keep in mind that the nature of the action isn’t terribly diverse. There’s still a pretty simplistic overall essence to gameplay that’s very reminiscent of old-school arcade-style titles that you’ll either embrace and enjoy or possibly burn out on relatively quickly. 

    All told, the good news is that this sequel absolutely eclipses the original by taking everything that worked well and expanding on it. More ways to play, more opportunities for fun whether alone or with friends, and more surprises and variety help to make everything a bit more exciting. All that said, it being very arcade-like in nature, there are going to be people who absolutely dig it and those who’ll just want to keep moving, especially since there are plenty of local multiplayer games to choose from for just about every taste possible.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Good [7.8]

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