Described as a “2D space shooter bonanza”, Astral Plague is a top-view shooter game with elements of tower defense. It’s a cool mix of those two well established game genres. You play as Captain Riley of the Space Exploration and Planetary Protection (SEPP) ship Paladin, to defend humanity against invasion from a hostile alien race. The game opens with humanity having discovered another civilisation, and despatching the Paladin to make contact with them. But by the time the Paladin arrives, a third race, the Cholerans, have destroyed them. You then need to escape and bring the news back to humanity: we are not alone, and they are not friendly.
What ensues is an all out battle for survival, as the Cholerans follow you and bring war to human space. The story progresses as you defend and later evactuate planets, fight to avoid extinction and learn the reasons for the Choleran attack. If like us, you enjoy a good plot in games, you’ll really enjoy the great sci-fi our writer penned for us. It goes further than the usual game storylines which only provide the barest glue to bridge the levels, and gives you an engaging narrative to follow.
The game-play itself has you controlling the Paladin in a real-time action game with strategic tower-defense elements. You fly the ship, dodge enemy shots, fire back and can use a variety of power-ups and upgrades to help tailor your arsenal to your play style. Additionally, you can pause the game and place turrets (‘towers’) to help you. This blend of game types brings another level of awesomeness compared to similar games by providing more variety in the levels.
There are three different level types: ‘traditional tower defense’ where you have to prevent enemies from reaching the planet you are defending (while also staying alive!), evacuation levels where you need to protect slow and vulnerable transport ships as they abandon planets in the face of the Choleran advance, and survival levels where you have to destroy all enemies.
Steve started designing this game after playing far too many Flash games during his lunchbreaks. He loves some classics of the Tower Defense genre like the Bloons Defense (monkeys with darts!) and WASD/mouse shooters with independent moving and shooting, and wanted to make something that combined the best of both. If you like games like that, you’ll love Astral Plague! But don’t just take our word for it, go look at this review from Paul Wilks at AndroidTapp.