Real-time strategy games aren’t exactly a dime-a-dozen on PS4, so I was more than happy to give Comet Crash 2: The Kronkoid Wars a whirl when it landed in my inbox last week. As Pure PlayStation readers will surely know by now, I’m something of a fan of the genre, thanks to my Dad’s choice of PC games that I’d sneak a go of as a child. To think my parents were worried about the violence of Command & Conquer Red Alert… Bless their cotton socks.
Comet Crash 2: The Kronkoid Wars is a RTS, though it’s not a full-on entry in the genre. It’s actually a little more tower defense, but we’ll get to that later. Your job is to defend your base against incoming waves of enemies by placing your own turrets, lasers, bombers, and all the rest of them around the map. Strategy is key here as the enemy units will make a beeline for your base without a moment of hesitation. Ha! Simply surround the base in turrets, right? Ha! Not a bloody chance, my lad. Video game logic dictates that you aren’t allowed to do that, so you just need to get a little creative with turret placement in order to slow the buggers down.
You’ll go about your business via your dainty little ship that you move around the game’s 50(!) stages. I think this is actually a really smart move by the developers, and I’ll tell you why. Rather than have you move an on-screen cursor around in an effort to replicate the commands of a genre game usually found on PC with a mouse and keyboard, you move a little starship around instead and it acts as your cursor. Smart, no?
It’s with this little floaty dude that you’ll decide where to place your turrets and what not, but you’ll also use it for farming precious ore which floats around as massive… Wait for it… Comets! Comet Crash. Comet ore. Geddit? Yes, I’m groaning as well, don’t worry.
I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t really a big fan of the controls at first, especially when it came to navigating the menus. The game does have a tutorial that runs you through the basics – and I mean the very basics – before throwing you in head-first. There’s something of a learning curve with Comet Wars 2, and I wouldn’t say it’s especially kind. I imagine that players of the first game will have little issue with it, but if you’re a newbie like me then I highly recommend giving the tutorial a run first, then maybe playing the first level a couple of times over to really get to grips with the commands and what not. Once you’ve got them locked down you’ll be flying around the map like it’s nothing. Just please, don’t neglect the bloody tutorial. I did, and then I raged when I didn’t know what I was doing in the first mission…
As I said, once the controls are in hand and you know what’s what, the game opens up massively. The meaty campaign is 50 stages long and will take a bloody lifetime to get through perfectly – you’re ranked out of five stars at the end of each mission, so trophy hunters had better get their tactical minds to work and maybe put the coffee pot on.
Tactics are the name of the game with Comet Crash 2, though repetition would work, too. See, the game’s tough in the sense that it doesn’t always make it obvious as to what you need to do. An early level had me scratching my head as a great big machine rose up from the map and marched all over my towers before blowing my base into orbit. This happened several times. Was I missing a vital clue? Was I not putting the right towers down? Was I even real? After a while I figured it out and moved on but was very wary of the game throwing another curveball my way. It did. Several times…
Earlier, I likened Comet Crash 2 to a tower defense game, didn’t I? Yep, I just re-read my words and I indeed did. That’s not completely accurate. Tower defense games require you to just defend against waves of enemies until there are no more. Comet Crash 2 actually forces you to go on the attack, too, as you’ll need to destroy the opposing base to pass a level. This is where the game comes into its own, I feel, as the stakes are raised higher. Do I build up a defense in preparation for the incoming onslaught, or do I start surrounding enemy towers with my own and then make a grand push? At first it’s easy enough, but it soon gets difficult to assess the situation without putting a bit of time into a level – sometimes multiple failures are needed to really build up a battle plan.
As with 99.99% of RTS games, you’ll be levelling up your units. It’s not difficult (a simple button press with the ship hovered over the unit) but it adds another layer to the game, as now you’ll be scooting around the map to collect ore while keeping an eye on what the enemy is doing while also making sure you’ve got enough of your own troops ready to send out to the enemy bases. Speaking of which… You can go on the attack by plonking your units down next to enemy structures in the hope that you’ll kill it and then build your own tower where it once stood, or you can play the long game and create a maze for the enemy units to come crawling through. What you need to think about, too, is how your own units will fare in the map you’re now altering with deadly force.
You get your own troops by laying down barracks. Once they’re upgraded they’ll churn out some elite killers that’ll take no shit from no man, but they start off pretty weak. However… You can send hundreds of the little blighters towards the enemy, but… If you’re not smart in placing your own towers and end up sending your dudes down the Valley of Death, you’ll be left scratching your head wondering why you’ve been on the same level for three days while your dog is now eating your toes. Remember to feed your pets, people.
If you’ve got the brain power for a bit of tactical thinking, you can’t go wrong with Comet Crash 2. There’s even a multiplayer suite to play with friends (or strangers) that’ll add hours to the game’s already long running time. I didn’t get too deep into the multiplayer, unfortunately, but what I saw and what I played was decent enough, though I’m probably going to stick to the single player stuff myself. But hey, it’s nice to have the option, right? That’s what Comet Crash 2 is essentially all about: Options. There’s no single given way to win a level, though there may surely be a best way. You’re free to tackle each challenge as you wish. But, again, remember the bloody tutorial…
Comet Wars 2: The Kronkoid Wars PS4 Review
Comet Wars 2: The Kronkoid Wars is a rarity in the console space. It's a RTS that doesn't only work, but excels at what it does. It may not be up there with the greats, and it may not be a "true" RTS when the focus is more on tower defense/offense, but it's a bloody decent game that'll have you punching the air after victory, and slamming your DualShock into the wall after another failure.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Slim.