Classic 1990s style point and click adventuring. With space trains.
In recent years, there’s been a huge increase in the number of games that try to capture the essence of the 90s era of gaming. In particular, a huge number of point and click games have spawned. Developed by Hungry Planet Games, Astroloco: Worst Contact harks back to those humorous point and click adventures of old, with the addition of space trains.
Astroloco revolves around Gibert Station, and there are two characters you play as. There’s Ronald, the station’s janitor and Arianne, Gilbert Station’s supposed ‘best driver’. Through a series of series of absurd events, you need to keep Gilbert Station out of the clutches of the evil Dirk McScoundrel, an old-timey looking villain complete with cape, top hat and a long moustache that he twirls with his finger.
In keeping with the 90s-esque vibe, Astroloco has a retro, pixel based look to it, complete with a similar retro soundtrack. The game is fully voice acted as well, which you can turn off if you wish, but you will miss some of the subtleties of the humour without it.
Unlike most point and click games, there isn’t a traditional inventory as such. Ronald has a set of tools he can use, and Arianne has a gun. Any items you pick up along the way will be used when you interact with whatever you are supposed to use it on. This does mean that you’re not going through your inventory and trying to find the right item for the job. However, it does take quite a bit of the challenge out of figuring out what you’re supposed to do. If you pick up every item you can on your way, then you won’t have a problem advancing through the game.
There is a lot made of the combat trains, though the train-to-train combat in the game is only a tiny portion of it. The combat involves you moving your train around a grid and on each turn you can adjust your speed, turn or shoot.
The story itself is absurd, silly fun. There are plenty of geek references, with a Star Wars reference and a puzzle that pokes fun at the old PC anti-piracy method of having to find a specific word in the instruction manual. There’s even the odd joke poking fun at the graphical style of the game.
Astroloco isn’t a particularly long game. It took somewhere in the region of three hours or so to complete, and the ending and final confrontation with McScoundrel seems to be over a bit quick. There’s also no real reason to replay it other than to see all the jokes again. But with a launch price of £3.99, it’s inexpensive and enjoyable.
Astroloco: Worst Contact is a fun, charming point and click game with clever writing and absurd situations. If you’re a fan of classic point and click adventure games, then you’ll have a great time with this. The ending seems to roll around and be over very quickly, and it’s not the most challenging game, but it’s enjoyable and well worth a few hours of your time.
You can find out more info at the Hungry Planet Games website.