Fastar! takes run-and-slash iPhone fun and injects it with some great tongue-in-cheek silliness, providing me with my latest on-the-go addiction.
Genre:Adventure Developer:Box Games
Cat-In-A-Box Games claims that is an Action RPG for when you just don’t have time for an Action RPG”. After a few hours of play, their claim is absolutely confirmed. The whole game seems like a rush, from killing the enemies to upgrading your stats… and the end result is surprisingly good.
The object of Fastar! is delightfully simple. Basically, all you do is run to the right, kill everything that moves, collect coins, spend those coins on upgrades, and make it to the finish as quickly as possible. What makes Fastar! so much fun is the insane amount of variety in the game. While all the enemies you will come across are squares of different sizes and colors, they all behave differently. Some are extremely aggressive and lunge right towards you as soon as they appear on screen, while others will do everything they can to avoid your attacks including jumping clear over your character’s head. There are giant squares that move slow but do tons of damage, very fast moving small squares, and the different squares can even use the several magical spells included in the game. It’s really strange how much personality these squares manage to have, and how you get to know them once you spend some time with the game. (Argh, damn you, green squares!)
Controlling our hero is easy. He runs by tilting the iPhone left or right, slashes by tapping the screen and does a charge attack by jerking the iPhone to one side. You’ll also get to choose a spell to take with you, which can be cast by tapping its icon on the screen. Spells include attacks, healing or stat boosts.n top of all the different enemies, there are 24 different game modes which all manage to feel different even though the gameplay itself is essentially the same. For instance, there are three standard game modes ranging from easy to hard that provide the “classic” Fastar! experience which pits you up against various enemies to complete the game as fast as possible. Alternatively, there is “profit” mode which emphasizes making money and puts the player to the task of collecting as much money as possible in five minutes, “showdown” mode where you fight 25 enemies as quickly as possible, “sudden death” mode where you only have 50 hit points and basically one hit will kill you, and many others. I’m preferring “arena” mode which is a survival mode of sorts with an endless supply of squares to kill with high scores measured by the number of rounds you’re able to survive.
For example, the game tells you that “You enter a quaint village.” But then the next time you pass one, it says it’s now a “secluded” village. The adjectives change every time, even for the same place. Also, these villages have silly names like Soupy Point or Shovelton. Not exactly high-brow dwellings. If you start travelling to the left rather than the right at the beginning of a level, you’ll encounter an arbitrary dotted line with the the note of “End of the world.” It’s little touches like these that really draw you in.
the start of each game mode you can choose one of nine magic spells to use on your quest (except in “battlemage” mode where you can choose two). These spells cover the standard array of RPG spells such as fire or lighting attacks to damage opponents, temporary defense boosts, healing, and there’s even a spell to instantly warp you back to the previous village. Activating these spells is as easy as tapping a button in the top right corner of the screen, and each spell uses different amounts of power which is displayed in a gauge that slowly refills over time.
The best part about Fastar! is how far above and beyond Cat in the Box games went with polishing this game before its release. I know how incredibly cliche it is to describe a game as “polished” and I hate doing it, believe me, but I can’t think of a more accurate way to describe all the little touches here and there that combine to make Fastar! even more awesome. Every part of your Fastar! character is customizable with different colors, and each game mode has its own online leaderboard where your little dude appears exactly how you tweaked him out along with showing which spell you chose for your adventure. There’s even four different control modes to play with on-screen controls, swiping, tilting, or one handed.
Fastar! also behaves fantastically as an iPhone game, a pet peeve of mine that far too many games fall victim to. It loads quickly, resumes quickly, and saves your progress exactly where you left off when you quit the game to do something else. It even remembers the last game mode you chose to play and has a big button to mash to replay that mode on the main menu. The game over screen is even fun, as just like when the squares explode in to glorious showers of coins, your character does as well when he’s finally slain, and the square that killed you hops on top of your corpse then back and forth collecting all your loot.
Fastar! features a boatload of modes, including various difficulty levels, gameplay challenges and the ability to play levels consisting entirely of one type of square. With global leaderboards and just a whole lot to try, Fastar! is loaded with replay value.
If there is a strike against Fastar! it’s that there is only one type of enemy to defeat. However, since the subtitle of the game is Fight Angry Squares: The Action RPG! it’s hard to blame the developers. We’re not sure why the squares are angry, or even who we are, but it doesn’t matter. Fastar! ends up being a wonderful, light-hearted timesink that will tickle your funny bone as well as your twitch-gamer muscle.