Of the two shooters in the review pile, Have A Blast was the go-to title and the one that unleashed my inner evil child. Is that a good thing? Ask Social Services, but more specifically, my kids after obnoxiously revelling in every single round I won.
It wasn’t 100% clear what the game would be other than a party shooter, drawing on classics like Asteroids, and utilising a few tried and tested methods of getting the crowds going in some quick-fire deathmatches that are easy to play then moving on to the next.
Some of the above is an accurate description, notably the Asteroids reference. The concept in Have A Blast is the same, only the rock formations are enormous, and your little vessel will bounce backwards with each shot you take – forcing you either off-screen or into the path of a meteor carrying Bruce Willis and rock band Aerosmith. They’re still there.
Have A Blast Review
But that doesn’t mean that Have A Blast (from Firenut Games) is that easy to understand, either. I have minimal interest in online play unless against people I know, and without any friends that still play games in our old age (sad, I know), local play is where it’s at, mainly with my girls. So going to a quick two-player mode, you can set up a round of mini-games for a ‘best of’ however many games you select.
It’s easy to get started with up to four players. Choose a spaceship with a special skill, then highlight from a selectable star system which games you wish to play, take a quick sip of whatever, then let the games commence. We played all of them, and immediately Pitch Black and Black Hole were our (my) favourites. The latter is a central black hole that will end anyone foolish enough to listen to my advice of “it takes you to a power-up” lie, and the former mini-game is an almost pitch black arena where you have to take out your enemy.
But after a decent amount of games, we changed it up in the options to include Mothership, as Teams were self-explanatory. Still, it got mildly confusing as many mini-games were essentially the same but with a different name. Do you direct debris into the path of your opponents’ mothership, or do you blast it yourself? After taking down the shields, you can spam the shoot button until you run out of ammo, reload, then do the same. Unfortunately, this worked for practically all of these scenarios, so it defeated the volume of games as they were more or less the same.
Return To Mother
Perhaps the worse part of Have A Blast is your ammo capacity. A bona fide party game with no campaign, therefore no upgrades or skill trees, the amount of ammo you can hold is quite scandalous, meaning in the Mothership mode, you have to return to your ship to restock frequently. This makes the quick-fire stages drawn out as you have to use ammo on the shield, then only have a short window (and now minimal ammo) to do some damage. But this lack of ammo is also one of its greatest strengths in games without the motherships.
You end up fighting to get the ammo first, and the sometimes one-hit-kills are borderline euphoric when taking out your cocky kids – even the four-year-old who is on the verge of tears. Let me bash out a disclaimer: I’m the type of gamer who feints an “oh no, you’re thrashing me!” line to encourage non-gamers to enjoy themselves, or my youngest, who may lack the skills. Have A Blast brought out the worst in me because any opportunity where I could get in a win, I would.
It’s pretty even as some of these games can feel quite random with mines spawning behind you or floating your direction from a previous explosion, then wiping you out. Or perhaps it’s the rebounds in Disc Room as everyone shoots at the walls in the hope it’ll hit their opponent. It’s like UFC and anyone’s game, but when it comes to accuracy, if you have the time to pull it off, then that’s where you excel.
Party Over Here
The classes include sniper, explosion, punch, rockets and drones. Out of those, I wouldn’t select anything other than the sniper. All those Gang Beasts rounds where my eldest would wipe the floor with me were soon balanced out as I’ld kill her instantly with one shot in Pitch Black or similar. It was so liberating to be the teacher of games for once, and in that aspect, Have A Blast is brilliant as a party game.
With the extensive customisations of mini-games, Have A Blast does feel like it’s feature-packed, but once you scratch the surface, a lot of the games are the same. That said, they’re killer experiences (literally) in most scenarios, and due to the pick-up and play feel of it, accessibility of controls and the randomness of who’ll win, this is a party shooter worthy of any collection.