Blast Factor originally debuted alongside the PlayStation 3 at the launch of the console back in March. Put kindly the game is pretty similar to Geometry Wars and Mutant Storm Reloaded. A few months after launch gamers have been given an expansion in the form of Blast Factor: Advanced Research but is the game worth an investment or should gamers stick to the aforementioned classic titles?
The premise in Blast Factor: Advanced Research is anything but simple. You are the pilot of a space nano machine that travels into Petri dishes to eradicate viruses, what a bizarre job. The basic idea is that you'll take control of a ship while trying to "kill" viruses, sort of like a 22nd century doctor.
In the game you'll start off in a petri dish as viruses keep coming at you. The controls are rather simple, movement is done with the left analog stick and shooting is done with the right. Like in Geometry Wars the direction you fire is based on where the analog stick is pointing. THe R2 button slows down time and the Sixaxis is used to tilt the petri dish. It's remarkably simple to pick the game up, but unfortunately the game stays pretty simple. Unlike the other games Blast Factor is obviously trying to mimic there is very little challenge in the game at all; being inside an enclosed petri dish makes the battles feel quite tiny and the game never ends up feeling as epic as a game like Geometry Wars.
In Blast Factor you cannot just shoot at enemies and defeat them, as there is quite a bit of variety in how the enemies die. Some enemies can just be shot, others will be shot and then break off into their own little clusters and some enemies will need to be flipped on their back to kill them. Power ups can also be collected, which will do special things such as improve your weapons for a short time.
So what does Advanced Research add to the mix? Well the expansion adds in seven new specimens, eleven new types of enemies, two new bosses, monthly online high score tables, a new practice mode (which seems kind of redundant), some new sound effects, eight new music tracks and dynamic lighting. There are also some new enemies that suppress chaining. These are novel additions and do add a little more to the game, but these changes really seem unnecessary, and they would be a lot more appreciated if the pack was free as well.
In short, Blast Factor: Advanced Research is a game that those who don't own an Xbox 360 will enjoy... mostly. The game isn't all that challenging and is definitely catered to beginners and the battles aren't quite as epic as we'd hoped. The expansion isn't all that essential but if you're a Blast Factor fan then it may be worth shelling out a couple of dollars for just a bit more variety.