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Review: The Collider 2

Jack Hsuan reviews The Collider 2, a PC title from Shortbreak Studios.

The Collider 2 sees you, the player, take control of a small spacecraft and traverse your way through the ever-shifting corridors of an invading mothership. The game itself has four different game modes; a speed run, a collection run, a destruction run, and a boss battle at the end of each of the game’s six sectors. Each sector is harder than the last, with the corridor through which you drive becoming increasingly constrictive. For this reason it’s worth pushing through the first few, which are more of a warm-up, and can be done with a cup of tea in one hand. The later sectors provide much more of a challenge, and are a lot more exciting to play.

The main source of entertainment in The Collider 2 comes from the speed, from darting through each corridor with lightning reactions. Yet using the boost feature is very rarely necessary, and this is the greatest oversight of the game. The boss fights are fun at first, but quickly grow repetitive, and the collection and destruction game modes can be done at normal speed without penalty, which makes them fairly dull and easy. There are certain rooms that you have to get through before they are sealed, and these are welcome; along with the speed runs they are the most exciting and demanding part of the game. It seems to me that considering the gameplay consists of steering and one button (to boost), that button should be far more important. I found myself boosting in the other game modes anyway, just to make the levels more exciting.

The upgrade system is an interesting addition, though buying a new ship and seeing your previous upgrades wasted is a major flaw – either buy upgrades for the one ship or spend money on buying a better ship; a combination of the two is somewhat self-defeating. I found myself instead putting my hard-earned coins into the universal upgrades – pickups that occur within the runs, such as invincibility or infinite boost (boosting too much will cause your ship to explode). Yet the issue with this was that in later speed runs I found myself relying on luck, hoping that I would get the infinite boost pickups, or else completing the mission was literally impossible, as I hadn’t upgraded my current ship enough.

The aesthetics of the game are perhaps its greatest strength. The tight corridors which you manoeuvre your ship through look fantastic, and the way that they constantly move adds to the feeling of speed on which the game relies. Fundamentally, the gameplay is very much akin to the popular Temple Run, yet it feels nothing like it, and this is a definite positive; the graphic style has carved the game free of its predecessors, more like a modernised Death Star run than an escape from a temple. The fact that you can change from third to first person certainly adds to this. It should be noted that the game is VR capable; although, from what I have heard and seen, the game is much better played with a mouse.

If all a game should be is enjoyable, then The Collider 2 achieves this, despite its flaws. I found myself having a lot of fun, despite the repetitive gameplay. It certainly won’t win any game of the year awards, but it seems to me that it achieves what it aims to be, a quick-paced, challenging piece of entertainment. With some small fixes to the gameplay and upgrade system, and if they manage to sort out the VR issues, this could be a hugely entertaining game.

The Collider 2 is available for purchase on the Steam store.

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