It is down to you to save the planet from utter destruction. Again. These are the pressures that gamers have to deal with nowadays!
Guardian, developed by Willow Ridge Software, is available on the Xbox marketplace through the indie games category for 240 MS points. The game is a planetary defence shooter and charges the player with defending the Earth from all manner of asteroids and alien spacecraft.
Gameplay revolves around controlling the targeting of a small defence satellite that is orbiting the Earth. As the satellite spins around the planet, asteroids will hurtle towards the Earth from all directions. The player will need to move the targeting reticule over these asteroids and fire the primary weapon in an attempt to destroy them. Should they reach the planet, the Earths shields will be depleted and eventually large chunks will be taken out of the planet. Once the Earth is destroyed, it is game over.
Alien spacecraft may attack the planet at times, and it will fall to the player to defend against this. Destroying an enemy spacecraft will give access to new technologies and additional weapons. The player will also have access to self targeting missiles and even nukes to aid in stemming the ever growing tide of asteroids.
The game features four difficulty levels, co-op play for up to four players locally, a global scoreboard and a full tutorial to help new players get to grips quickly.
Guardian has the type of endless gameplay that will have players chasing the highscores. The game is very simple to pick up and play, but really is difficult to master, especially on the higher difficulty levels. The first thing that the player has to come to terms with is that if the planet is between the satellite and the asteroid that is being targeted, firing the weapons will only result in damaging the planet itself. This is actually a difficult concept to grasp, and will lead to quite complicated strategies being developed. The speed at which the satellite orbits means that moving the reticule to the other side of the planet is too slow. So careful planning and quick thinking are the order of the day.
The player must survive wave after wave of asteroids and alien spacecraft, with the planets defences being slowly chipped away at. The use of the missiles certainly helps, but it soon becomes a frantic race against time in order to survive that little bit longer and increase the score. Playing in co-op mode is a lot of fun and even increases the craziness of the game.
The graphics are very simplistic and basic, looking as though they belong in the antiques roadshow. But that does not detract from the gameplay, which is what this game is all about. This is the type of game that would have fit in well in the arcades from years back, the type of game that would gather small crowds to watch as some skillful player manages to beat the highscore.
Although all about the gameplay, it would have been nice to have some eye candy too. The gameplay is great and certainly gets the heart pumping, but the repetitive nature does not lend itself well to todays gamers. With a distinctive retro feel, this game would be more suited to players that want the nostalgia factor. Guardian is also available on the iPhone, which I think is a more suitable platform. However, the game has a low pricepoint, so may be worth a blast and will certainly entertain for a short time, if not in the long term.