Sometimes it’s the simple game ideas that end up being the most addictive and most playable. These days I firmly believe that as games become bigger, more involving, have deeper storylines and push hardware further and further to the limits, there are times when sheer unadulterated fun gets pushed aside for the sake of the gaming “experience”. The need to have total control over the character in the game becomes essential to the point that many games are drowning in their own complexity. Yes, I admit it, I miss the old days when the instructions for a game could be written on the inside of a cassette inlay or even better when you could pick up a game you had never seen before and start playing it having never looked at a single page of instructions nor needed a tutorial before getting straight into the action.
And that’s what I love about PlayStation Mobile. The entire format, like the Minis before them, puts gameplay first and makes games as accessible as possible to a wide range of gamers. Whether you’re old-school like me, a casual gamer like my wife and daughter, new to gaming… there will be something for everyone but most games seem to appeal across the entire gaming spectrum.
So onto Cosmic Clean-Up and it’s another release from Ripstone and has been developed for them by one of their regular teams, Green Hill. You’re a cosmonaut… a cosmonaut on a mission. The galaxy is in a mess. Space exploration has left it in… well, a pretty bad state really and there is debris everywhere really and now you’ve been left with the job of cleaning up after everyone. The problem is that you haven’t actually been given any equipment to help you do it. You’ve just been sent off into space on your own with nothing more than your solitary spaceship to get you there.
Set over 40 levels spanning 4 different worlds, you have to fly your trust spacecraft into orbit around each planet destroying everything floating in space using nothing more than the jet flames that shoot out behind you as you hurtle through space. That would be simple enough if it wasn’t for the fact that your engines are permanently engaged so you’ve got to get to grips with the inertia of your ship while trying to steer to destroy everything behind you. All you can do is steer your spaceship left and right and even the slightest touch of anything in space will send you to your doom…
It gets worse though… there’s an outer orbital boundary that you need to stay inside and if you do struggle to keep your ship on the straight and narrow and wander a bit too far then you’ve only got a few seconds to get back on track or once again you become space dust. There is help on hand though. Scattered around in orbit are powerups that you can collect giving you more powerful thrusters to destroy objects quicker, temporary invulnerability and more.
Controls are incredibly simple. It’s been optimised to run equally well on the PS Vita or any PlayStation Certified mobile device so it only makes use of the touch screen to control steering but touching the left hand side rotates your ship left and the right hand side rotates right. One thing I did find impressive was the fact that to start any game two red buttons appear on screen and you need to press both simultaneously so you can’t start a game by accident.
Graphics are bright and colourful and while they have taken a cartoon style rather than a futuristic, sci-fi feel to them they suit the game well enough. Sound is probably the weakest link in the game… the title music is a rather short and repetitive 90s second-rate sci-fi movie style futuristic track which will have you reaching for the volume control, the in-game music doesn’t fare much better and there are minimalistic and passable sound effects. All of this is wrapped up with a minimal amount of speech (just a countdown before your craft departs each planet) and for a game that has been targeted at an international market through the PSN Store, I am surprised that this speech isn’t in English.
However, despite that extremely minor niggle, this is a great game and while it isn’t one that will have you playing for hours on end, it is one that you will keep coming back to long after you’ve completed it to keep pushing yourself further beating your personal best score. A worthy addition to the PS Mobile range and an absolute bargain at the price.
At A Glance
- Title: Cosmic Clean-Up
- Publisher: Ripstone
- System: PlayStation Mobile
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 38Mb