Evil Kronkoid battleships have been discovered near the planet Kulin and they are taking advantage of waves of comets headed towards populated planets to expand their galactic dominance. You, however, are equipped with a tower building spaceship and the fate of the galaxy rests in your hands as you defend the comets from the Kronkoids and then push them back and destroy them.
When it comes to real-time strategy games, the tower defence subgenre has proved a pretty good fit with consoles: we sunk many hours into games such as PixelJunk Monsters and so here we have a PlayStation 4 exclusive sequel to the award-winning original PlayStation 3 space-based Comet Crash. What’s new about Comet Crash 2: The Kronkoid Wars is that while it keeps the slick, console friendly control mechanics of the first game, it comes packing a whole new campaign, more online and offline multiplayer options, and either solo or co-op play.
The basic premise is for you to defend a home base on any given comet from the evil Kronkoid aliens by building a defensive array of weaponised towers – from the humble auto turrets which mow down ground based assailants through to anti-air lasers and heavy duty bomb lobbing agents of death. As the commander of Earth’s forces you must wield this variety of tower weapon, upgrading them as you can to destroy the Kronkoid raiders who will come and try to blow up your base.
In a nice twist, defending your base is only half the battle (literally) as Comet Crash 2 has you build up a force of attacking units as well via a breakthrough scientific process called ‘Thorium Synthesis’, which allows you to turn harvested Thorium into units which you can dispatch to attack the enemy’s stronghold. The Warcraft-alike system of resource gathering and unit production adds masses to the strategic side of the game as you must balance a steadfast defence with sufficient attacking options to win the day.
The controls work surprisingly well on the DualShock 4, as you control your main spaceship, which is used not only for building towers and base structures but also mining Thorium ore and precious metals required to build up and upgrade your forces. Ore is found only in passing small comets which must be grabbed and returned to your base for processing, while building is as easy as clicking on an empty space and choosing the required structure from a pop=up menu.
When the Kronkoids come attacking they follow a specific route – helpfully marked out for you in arrows. You can change their attack course by building things in the way, and, of course, destroying them before they reach your base is the essential objective because if your lose your home it’s game over.
Basic towers and unit production structures can be upgraded by using additional resources which can do things like up the damage delivered or extend the attack range. Strategic trial and error plays a large part as you work out whether the map you’re playing is better to risk placing towers near the enemy to bombard his defence or rush him with a mass of ground units in one swarm attack.
As you progress through the campaign which has 50 plus missions you’ll find a nice variety of challenging scenarios to tackle. You can feel that a lot of thought has gone into the design so as to not make each level feel too similar. The difficulty ramps up, too, so you’ll need to switch up tactics and utilise new units as they become available. There are also options to research super weapons that can really sway the tide of battle if you have the patience to invest in them and the brains to stay alive long enough to see them come to fruition.
Because the core concept is strong and the controls refined from the first game, everything feels slick and works well. Sure Comet Crash 2 isn’t going to make any jaws drop in terms of graphics or sound but it isn’t ugly and does not suffer from significant slowdown however many units are filling up the screen.
If there are any qualms to be levelled at the game, it wouldn’t have hurt to have some more detailed introduction when new elements are introduced to the battle, in order to show players why it’s worth trying out new units. But learning the hard way in the face of battle is often fun and forces you to think on your feet so it’s by no means a deal breaker.
The real ace here though is the fun multiplayer which is a blast either in co-op or competitive modes and gives those commanders who get a taste for the game plenty of replay value as you never know what you expect when pitting yourself against human opposition. There are a nice range of options including 1v1, 2v2, and Free-For-All battles to get stuck into, and playing online allows you to unlock upgrades for your control ship as well as XP.
With genuinely fun gameplay, a groovy mix of weaponry, and a decent control scheme, Comet Crash 2: The Kronkoid Wars is a quality addition to the real-time strategy genre and should definitely be checked out by budding armchair generals.