(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)
- The Game Itself
- 2 Stars
- The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
- 2.5 Stars
- The Audio: Rating the Sound
- 2.5 Stars
- Replay Factor
- 3 Stars
- Bottom Line
- For Fans Only
The Collider 2
- Street Date:
- April 19th, 2016
- Reviewed by:
- Tyler Treese
- Review Date:1
- April 19th, 2016
- Game Release Year:
- Shortbreak Studios s.c.
- Shortbreak Studios s.c.
Digital PC version reviewed. VR functionality was not tested.
Shortbreak Studios, which is the internal sister studio of Techland, found success in 2014 with their fast-paced arcade game 'The Collider.' The iOS release tested the reflexes of players as they tried to steer clear of obstacles and see how fast they could go. Now two years later, the developer is back with 'The Collider 2,' which aims to build a more fleshed out experience for PC gamers.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Despite the title, players will not want to collide with anything in 'The Collider 2.' Instead they'll be tasked with avoiding obstacles, and to do that they'll need to steer their spaceship into tight openings. This is easier said than done, and you'll know that after just a few minutes of playtime. Shortbreak has developed a fast-paced, action pack affair, and one that never gives the player a second to catch their breath.
Players can either control their ship's flight path with a mouse or by using a game controller. I found the game to be very difficult with a gamepad, as I could never get the ship to move fast enough to avoid the oncoming walls. Changing the sensitivity to high and adjusting the input threshold did little to fix these issues, so I eventually settled in with a mouse.
Sadly, this again became a process of trial and error. The controls can only be adjusted in the main menu, so if you want to tweak the sensitivity you'll have to exit the game mode you're in. This turns the entire process into a rather frustrating ordeal, and much more complicated than it should be. Eventually, I settled on having the sensitivity all the way on high and found that small movements were the way to success.
'The Collider 2' features a campaign filled with over 50 levels. Some levels will simply have players race through a short area (typically no longer than 35 seconds) against the clock, while others will have the player shooting down enemies. Firing the ship's weapon is done automatically, so you'll just have to line up the shot and the foes will be taken care off. It's a good thing that the controls are kept simple (the only other mechanic is using left clicking to boost), as I was far too focused on steering my ship to be pressing multiple buttons.
This is an extremely difficult game straight from the beginning, and that really will determine if you will end up enjoying your time with 'The Collider 2.' I spent my opening hour with the game struggling to do well, but doing just enough to pass levels. I'd scrape by a timed level with a second left, or destroy barely enough enemies. It was tough, but I managed to persevere. I even defeated the game's first boss fight, which you have to beat in a short amount of time to succeed, and I felt like I was slowly getting better.
The grind was extremely satisfying until I found out that in order to progress to the next chapter of levels, I had to earn 15 stars. Since I was barely fulfilling the minimum requirements of levels, this meant I had to replay several of the 9 previous levels until I got good enough to basically run them perfectly. That sucked a lot of my enjoyment out of the game, but I managed to do it.
These star requirement only keep getting more difficult as the game progresses, and I eventually hit my skill cap in the game's fourth chapter. It's a very poor way to handle progression, as simply beating levels mean nothing. You'll have to go above and beyond if you want to experience all the game has to offer, and I got to the point where my reflexes just couldn't keep up with what the game was throwing at me.
It also doesn't help that 'The Collider 2' is still largely a one trick pony. Once you've dodged the first 100 obstacles, you'll feel like you've seen everything to offer. This is fine for small play sessions, but this is definitely not a game I would recommend sinking hours into in a single session. It's just too repetitive, and the action gets old quickly.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
When 'The Collider' released on iOS in 2014, it had a nice minimalistic art style. The reflexes of players were tested as they zoomed by extremely colorful backgrounds. All of that is gone, as 'The Collider 2' has gone for an awfully generic space theme.
From a technical standpoint it's certainly superior to its predecessor. The ships and levels are nicely modelled and have a nice layer of detail, but it gets boring flying through steel colored corridors. All of the charm has been lost, and that's a shame. Sometimes less can be more and instead of Shortbreak expanding upon its colorful world, we now have a drab space game.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
'The Collider 2's sound design is totally adequate, but ultimately forgettable. Your spaceship spurts out a nice "vroom" while boosting, and there's an annoying announcer that chimes in every time you crash to let you know that the "mission failed." Good to know. Meanwhile the soundtrack sounds like the artist tried to do their best John Williams' impersonation, or they found a 'Star Wars' track that got left on the cutting room floor. Everything is fine in the moment, but the fact that I had to boot up the game to specifically remember what it sounded like should tell you everything you need to know.
Due to the design of the campaign, players will find themselves playing 'The Collider 2's levels repeatedly in order to get a better ranking. A successful run on a typical stage only lasts about 35 seconds, but that's assuming it's a success. Most of my runs ended up being high speed failures where I ended up smashing into a wall.
Completionists will definitely find enough bang for your buck here, although the overall package really isn't compelling enough to keep other players coming back. 'The Collider 2' shows everything it has to offer mechanically early on, and then it becomes a game of testing your reflexes and memorization skills. That didn't do enough to interest me to the point where I wanted to constantly up my score, since the reward was just more levels that I had little interest in playing.
However, I did enjoy the game's survival mode that refreshes its leaderboards once a week. It's fun to try to outscore your friends, and it largely works here. A few extra variants on this idea would've been nice, though, as timed challenges in other games have proven more fun by only giving players one run at glory. I never once got the same adrenaline rush here as I did by doing my daily run of 'Spelunky,' and that's disappointing.
There's also a number of upgrades that can be purchased for your spaceships that correspond to your shield regeneration speed (your shield allows you to take one hit before your ship is destroyed), and how long your boost lasts. These are all picked up with an in-game currency that you'll find floating in every level, and it isn't too hard accumulate a large amount since you'll be replaying stages constantly. You can also upgrade power-ups that appear randomly on maps.
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