Game: Battle Stations Blockade
Genre: Arcade, Action
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam (Windows), Xbox and PS4 & PS5)
Developer|Publisher: Mission Critical Studios | eastasiasoft
Age Rating: EU 12 | US Teen
Price: US $9.99 | UK £8.99 | EU €9,99
Release Date: December 6th, 2023
Review code provided with many thanks to eastasiasoft.
Battle Stations Blockade Arcade Action
Battle Stations Blockade is an arcade shooter that reminds me a lot of those levels you used to see in old adventure games where you would control a gun turret for a level. Only here, it’s the entire premise of the game. There is fun to be had here, but I’d probably suggest bringing a friend along for the boat ride.
The game’s premise is that you are on an urgent mission to intercept stolen military intelligence and destroy the enemy’s advanced weapon systems. That means you take control of a gun turret and pretty much shoot anything that flies or floats on your ride through the level.
Graphics are presented in voxel 3D sprites, which give a simple yet crude feeling to its design. It doesn’t stand out and lacks details. Looking down at the water, it’s hard not to be distracted by the black grid and that any weapon you fire into the water doesn’t even react with it, not even a ripple.
Between missions, your commanding officers bark orders at you in a weird voice, then on mission success, give you a military salute. It’s one way to transition between levels, but it didn’t get me hyped for the experience I was about to undertake. There is a decent variety of enemy vehicles to shoot down from boats, submarines, planes and gun turrets.
Things get a little more creative when the game throws some usual mecha creatures at you to the extent I kinda wish it just leaned more into this creative side than sticking with the bland military feel. If I were to dig for an extra positive, I did like how the voxel sun and moon would rise and fall through your progress in a level.
Prepare to Fire
The gameplay could not be easier. In single-player, you control two gun turrets. Point your turret with the crosshair using the analogue sticks and shoot. Easy to pick up for gamers of all skill levels. It feels like quite the missed opportunity, and it didn’t make use of motion controls or gyro aiming, which the Switch is capable of.
Levels are on rails, so you only need to focus on shooting everything on screen. You will get hit, but don’t panic. In order to keep your health topped up, you just need to shoot more enemies to restore it. Enemies all have a small meter of health to help you prioritize which targets to focus on. In single player I found the game to be kinda fun, but the experience quickly became dull. Battle Stations Blockade tries to make things exciting by throwing giant vehicles and enemies at you, but I found the levels to be a real slog to get through. The game also adds mini-objectives like shooting down a specific number of enemies.
Battle Stations Blockade throws a generous amount of weapons for you to select and play about with on your path to destruction. There’s the standard machine gun, missile launcher, mine launcher, laser weapons and many more. Each weapon serves a unique purpose with stats like rate of fire and range. It was fun to experiment with each weapon but the game does suffer a major flaw. When you select a new weapon, you hold a button down and select from a weapon wheel. This entire process takes quite a bit of time, time in which you will probably get shot at by the enemy.
The game doesn’t allow for much breathing room to change things up, at least in single-player. The experience feels much more tailored to co-op multiplayer, where each player controls a single turret and can select their own weapons. This gives you the chance to strategize with each other and enjoy some brainless shooting action. You can band together, or alternatively, you can compete with one another in an effort to get the highest score.
Conclusion: You Sunk My Battleship
Battle Stations Blockade is okay. It’s a simple arcade shooter that does what it advertises but doesn’t offer anything new to the formula. In single-player, the game quickly became quite boring and lacked a certain spark needed to keep me engaged. I would recommend the game to players looking to play in co-op. Some gamers just want something fun and dumb that you can play while chatting socially. It is an experience worth considering for game night, but certainly not for everyone.
Final Verdict: I Like It