MobileInfocenter
Developer: The Price:
  • $14.95
The Pros:
  • Nice color graphics
  • Not too challenging for the beginning gamer

The Cons:
  • Too common of a game plot
  • Too easy for an experienced gamer

PalmInfoCenter.com Ratings*:
Design:
Cost/benefit:
Coolness:
Overall:

*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms



Astro Defense Review
By Pepper
5/31/2002


Overview
Astro Defense ScreenshotAstro Defense is a classic, asteroid-shooting style game from Astraware. It has easy controls and several difficulty levels.

Game Play
The game is based on a rather simple, and common, plot -- hit the asteroids before they hit you. You are on some planet and you have two shooting stations, and a few other buildings as well. Of course the stations have a limited amount of ammo and are used to protect you not only from asteroids, but from aliens as well. When you shoot an asteroid it doesnít just disappear, it breaks into littler pieces and youíre forced to shoot the debris to protect your space colony. When all your buildings are gone the game is over, although once your shooting stations are gone there is not much you can do

Itís really simple to shoot, just tap the screen. No hardkeys, aiming, or other inconvenient features to deal with. Of course, that makes the game pretty simplistic -- thereís not much skill in taping a screen. The varying skill levels are helpful in the respect, although experienced game players wonít feel especially challenged. Fortunately, if you donít get bored in the first few minutes, thingsíll liven up a tad.

Graphics
Well, for starters, the game isnít too snazzy on a monochrome screen, but the design crews for greyscale devices didnít exactly consider gaming as a top priority. Of course the game is fully playable and easy to use, but nobody will be too awestruck if they see you playing it on an m100.

The color version, on the other hand, is rather pretty. The background picture is a nice touch, and some of the details are wonderful. There is an option for the graphics level, of course you have to decide your favorite balance between looks and speed. On high, the explosive debris is a great touch, although the game may feel a little sluggish at times.

Astraware decided to build in a hidden 'Easter egg' lunar-lander game. To access it write a graffiti 'L' on the title screen and the mini-game will start.

Conclusion
Astro is a fun game, and fun to show off on color devices, but itís a little too easy for the advanced gamer. If you just want a simple game to entertain you between meetings, Astro will work great (although you might want to turn off the sound effects), but donít expect a giant challenge.

Article Comments

 (48 comments)

The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Comments Closed Comments Closed
This article is no longer accepting new comments.

Down View Full Comment Thread

Best games on Palm

I.M. Notorious @ 5/31/2002 8:53:35 AM #
Hehe, first post...

Astraware games stretch Palm's hardware to the limit. No doubt, it is the best game softwarehouse (for PalmOS, mind you) in the market. Just imagine what's going to be possible with the new ARMed Palms... Just take a look on the PocketPC (argh!!) section in their homepage just to get an idea.

I.M. Notorious

RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 9:52:25 AM #
Are you on crack or something?

I love my Palm (owner of Vx, m515, Rex), but have to tip my hat to the PocketPC.

The PocketPC has an incredible Gameboy emulator that plays at full speed with sound. Also, PocketPC has an NES emulator that also runs at full speed.

And now PocketPC owners can play Ultima Underworld. Need For Speed coming soon. Lara Croft Tombraider coming soon. Check out www.ziosoft.com for one example of a company creating games that blow away astroware's games.

And forget Zap!2000. Try Turjah: www.turjah.com
This blows away Zap!.


RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 10:01:43 AM #
Astraware games stretch Palm's hardware to the limit.

What are you smoking when you decided on this?

http://www.kickoo.com/
http://www.ardiri.com/
http://www.red-mercury.com/

These guys stretch the Palm hardware to its limit more than Astraware. Puzzle games and simple shoot-em-ups dont warrant kick-ass games. You should do your research before you bloat information like this. I am waiting for someone to add another complaint for another Astraware based news item.

RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 10:06:30 AM #
Okay, here you go. Is Astraware the ONLY company out there??? How about a review on someone else's software?!!!
RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 10:50:05 AM #
Another great PalmOS game company is 3DAgames. http://www.3dagames.com I haven't played anything nearly as fun or challenging.
RE: Best games on Palm
Altema @ 5/31/2002 11:06:45 AM #
"I haven't played anything nearly as fun or challenging."

Challenging is right, I have yet to get past level 27.

RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 11:49:08 AM #
Come on Pepper and PIC...

This is three or four Asstraware reviews in a row. There are plenty of other Palm game companies that have products to review.

This game doesn't even come close to pushing the limits of the Palm. It's a SIMPLE-SHOOTER that could a written in a few days and should be selling for $5, let alone almost $15. I guess Tic-Tac-Toe is a great game too (NOT!). I suppose when your groupies will buy anything for any price and love it...

RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 11:56:58 AM #
arcade linear shoot them up is passe, it's last season game.

what's hot now is not yet determine. Most ambitious games lately are 2D RTS and epic single player RPG.

RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 11:58:24 AM #
Let's review.

Astraware makes several shoot-em-ups, several puzzle games, an episode guide program for TV shows, and a time management application.

Kickoo makes a Stratego clone and a Breakout clone.

Red Mercury makes an image viewer, a solitaire clone, a Freecell clone, and a Breakout clone.

Ardiri makes two Donkey Kong clones, an Othello workaline, a Lode Runner clone, a broken Game Boy emulator, a "crack" which wipes out all data, a Mario Bros. clone, a tennis game, and three rip-offs of Game & Watch titles.

Astraware and Ardiri are running neck-and-neck. As a tiebreaker, consider that Astraware is not going to be run out of business by Nintendo for making cheap rip-offs of their games without paying royalties.

RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 11:58:34 AM #
RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 12:10:53 PM #
I guess ardiri.com's Deity3D (Doom-like) and Lemmings clone don't count since they don't make your agenda. BTW, Astraware published their share of rip-offs and clones in the past (Asteroids, Fire, etc).
RE: Best games on Palm
ardiri @ 5/31/2002 12:11:47 PM #
Ardiri makes two Donkey Kong clones, an Othello workaline, a Lode Runner clone, a broken Game Boy emulator, a "crack" which wipes out all data, a Mario Bros. clone, a tennis game, and three rip-offs of Game & Watch titles.

to get defensive here..

the game & watch titles are from way back, like mid 1999 - not exactly something we write these days :) LodeRunner: The Legend Returns is an official LodeRunner port on the PalmOS platform - under the license agreement, we were permitted to keep Hoards of the Deep Realm as our own product. Hexxagon was written by a new project member as an exercise to learn game programming, Mario Bros is still, one of the better platform games that has been on the Palm (albiet very hard to master). The tennis game was a freebie for IBM and the pda game for Wimbledon 2001, Australian Open 2002 and - an updated version is in the works for Wimbledon 2002. Liberty is not a broken gameboy emulator - it works, however, its a partner project, done with GambitStudios. if you have complaints about it, direct them to support@gambitstudios.com :)

you seemed to have left out our biggest titles..

the freeware Lemmings, and our Deity3D demo - which, has recently been licensed to produce a range of 3D games on the Palm, which should be announced very soon. did i miss anything else?



// az
aaron@ardiri.com
http://www.ardiri.com/

RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 12:12:23 PM #
> Okay, here you go. Is Astraware the ONLY company out there??? How about a review on someone else's software?!!!

***

I smell something fishy. Someone must be receiving kickbacks to do Astraware reviews only.


RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 12:17:31 PM #
>>Ardiri makes two Donkey Kong clones, an Othello workaline, a Lode Runner clone, a broken Game Boy emulator, a "crack" which wipes out all data, a Mario Bros. clone, a tennis game, and three rip-offs of Game & Watch titles.

Ardiri happens to also make the only real 3d engine for Palm - and will be releasing 'Deity' a full game based on this, shortly:

http://www.ardiri.com/

....demo is kind of unplayable in b&w (as are most fast paced graphical PalmOS games) - but the color should rock.

RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 12:17:31 PM #
How about a review of Siberian Strike? This game is better then Zap! series. Best shooter on Palm OS platform (have you seen the beautiful 'smart bomb' effect' in this game? Gorgeous)- yet we get 3 reviews in a row from Astraware?
RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 12:17:31 PM #
Or how about a real-time-strategy game for Palm?

http://www.deloach.com/conquer.htm

Dont think this has even been mentioned the PIC. And for more RTS there's always Galactic Realms, of course.

RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 12:17:31 PM #
>>its nice to have beta's floating around the development team - it'll be a real pity if we never let them out. keep in mind we are not in it to make $$$ - we cover our costs.. we never have to release the stuff we write :)

Ardiri - don't tease us while we're down! What to you guys have planned for an RTS? Give us SOMETHING to be hopeful about (after this spate overpriced Atraware stuff). Just a few details!

RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 12:17:31 PM #
So Adiri - give us some details of the RTS. Oh and don't bash the Astraware guys too much on the midway ports - i loved Spy Hunter.
RE: Best games on Palm
ardiri @ 5/31/2002 12:20:19 PM #
... for the record,

i think we'll put off the desired delivery date of our RTS game we were planning - i am sure some of you would love to beta test a cannon fodder/warcraft/command and conquerer based game variant for PalmOS, PocketPC, Sharp Zaurus and eventually Symbian in native resolutions...

oh? starting to now realize why we have been so quiet lately?

its nice to have beta's floating around the development team - it'll be a real pity if we never let them out. keep in mind we are not in it to make $$$ - we cover our costs.. we never have to release the stuff we write :)

it has been fun playing with the new hardware we received by visiting events like PalmSource et al :) freebies are nice too...

// az
aaron@ardiri.com
http://www.ardiri.com/

RE: Best games on Palm
htomlinson @ 5/31/2002 12:23:08 PM #
Two quick comments:
"(Asteroids, Fire, etc)."
David and I wrote these back in the days when there was very little software about, and it was just a hobby for us. (Rather like it is for Aaron and most others now).

We removed these (without making a public fuss, mind) when we incorporated, since we knew that going legitimate was by far the best route. (Hence why we're approached to do lots of licenses nowadays.)
There is no 'etc' - these were the two :)


"I smell something fishy. Someone must be receiving kickbacks to do Astraware reviews only."

Errr, that's a chuckle :)
The only kickback is a registration code for the reviewer to use.

Note to all Palm programmers - get in touch with PIC with an offer of a registration and some info for a reviewer, and you'll stand a good chance of seeing a review!

Take it easy, folks, and have a good weekend :)

Howard.


RE: Best games on Palm
ardiri @ 5/31/2002 12:36:28 PM #
Note to all Palm programmers - get in touch with PIC with an offer of a registration and some info for a reviewer, and you'll stand a good chance of seeing a review!

i dont want to sound biased here, but, maybe PIC needs more reviewers - some that actually can understand the difficulty in writing games for PalmOS, and can realize if it is really an achievement of a few days of simple coding.

We removed these (without making a public fuss, mind) when we incorporated, since we knew that going legitimate was by far the best route. (Hence why we're approached to do lots of licenses nowadays.)

actually, memory serves me correctly you were forced to remove it when Hasbro (i think) contacted you claiming rights to the Asteroids game. the Fire! clone you only recently removed for what it is worth :)

http://www.astraware.com/palm/astroids/
"Unfortunately, this product has been withdrawn due to possible legal action by Hasbro, Inc."

you dont need to be a "big incorporated" company to get licenses - we have also done some custom development work (licensed LodeRunner, PDAce et al) and many other companies have done similar.

i personally believe the midway games were done in too short a period of time (not your fault - this is stupid marketing folk making bad decisions), and they have resulted in the applications not being what they should be (quality wise). its a pity, but, thats how it is.

puzzle games sell - and Astraware have people to pay salaries to; your forced to do these types of games - not your fault, but, you'll get public backlash anyhow. thats how the cookie crumbles.. i'll get back to my vim and bash shell now :P


// az
aaron@ardiri.com
http://www.ardiri.com/
http://www.mobilewizardry.com/

RE: Best games on Palm
htomlinson @ 5/31/2002 12:41:10 PM #

We always do repeat discounts for our own customers, when we release new games, and I thought it might be nice to extend my original Astro Defence offer to PIC readers:

http://www.astraware.com/shop2/basket.php?add=004033

(That's $9.95 instead of the usual price)

The review above is fair - try the game and you might like it, register it if you do!

(Oh - the 'special effects' option is cool to turn up to full if you're an overclocker type ;-)

Regards,

Howard.

RE: Best games on Palm
kickoo @ 5/31/2002 2:51:32 PM #
> Kickoo makes a Stratego clone and a Breakout clone.

These games are not *clones*, or we don't have the same idea of what the word *clone* may mean...

You can talk of an exact clone when a game is vusually identicall and seem to run exactly like the original one.

You may also say a game is almost a clone of an other one if both versions are very similar, with no change or at least no real innovation compared to the original one.

TakTik does not have the same board, nor use the same pieces nor even have the same rules than Stratego !

How can you call that a clone ???

Kickoo's Breakout ( which is the high resolution version of Ababall, by the same authors ) is not a clone of Breakout...
What you can say is that it is based on Arkanoid, maybe, but even here, there is a lot of changes and even innovations compared to it : some options and special bricks are new and was never seen before on this kind of game !

Just try it and play all the levels, you should be able to see the difference...

But you are right, a ( video ) game is almost always based on an other one, it's quite difficult today to be 100% innovative.

After all, Arkanoid is based on Breakout which is based on Pong, but you have to admit there is quite some differences between Arkanoid and Pong, no ?
;-)


Daniel Morais
http://www.kickoo.com

Sports, Astraware Rocks!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 3:21:49 PM #
Howard or Ardiri,
When will there be a half decent sports title out for the Palm? The DADA series hasn't been updated in a LONG time and i'm sure you guys could do better! :)
Looking forward to a good Game!
RE: Best games on Palm
ardiri @ 5/31/2002 3:47:40 PM #
Daniel (kickoo) - welcome to the boards :) some guys here just post for the hell of it; without checking any facts.. it was nice to see your games mentioned at least - high quality stuff; keep it up :P

// az
aaron@ardiri.com
http://www.ardiri.com/
http://www.mobilewizardry.com/
RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 5:00:36 PM #
I agree, Sports games are lacking on the Palm Pilot!
TakTik sucks
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/1/2002 1:20:25 AM #
I wish Daniel would get it through his thick skull that TakTik sucks and is worthless as a one player game. You can literally make random moves and still beat the computer. What a pathetic attempt to substitute eye candy for a real game.
RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Notorious @ 6/1/2002 10:44:50 AM #
Trollers

Read my post: "...it is the best game softwarehouse (for PalmOS, mind you)". Of course I'm not saying that PalmOS games smoke PocketPC games, even a moron can see that as for HARDWARE ONLY PocketPC devices are king. I said: "Just imagine what's going to be possible with the new ARMed Palms" and took as comparison PPC games from Astraware.

Look, Ardiri sure makes fine Palm games, but seriously, do you think Phire! or Lemmings take too much of Palm's hardware? Deity3D is an interesting game, but it lacks playability (can you spell SLOW??). As for Liberty, I wasn't able to play it at decent speeds (DB33mhz, AfterBurner@49mhz, FastCPU@55mhz). Siberian Strike looks awful good also, but I had some bugs playing the demo version.

Zap2016, in the other hand, not only looks good, it is also VERY playable at default speeds. Overclocking it, forget about it!!

Actually, reading a post before flaming it might help you NOT look like a bozo, but you never know, eh? ;-)

I.M. Notorious

RE: Best games on Palm
wilco @ 6/1/2002 12:23:10 PM #
I don't think Astraware bribed PIC, (or not enough) as one of the review (Round Up) is negative. Astraware is just more visible than the other companies. Maybe PIC should consider adding more guest reviewers as some Blog sites like Palm Addict is offering more information than PIC. PIC still rules for definitive and accurate information but sometimes less accurate but more frequently updated websites makes a better read (like PocketPCThoughts on the Pocket PC front). Sorry for veering offtopic.

RE: Best games on Palm
ardiri @ 6/1/2002 2:43:59 PM #
Look, Ardiri sure makes fine Palm games, but seriously, do you think Phire! or Lemmings take too much of Palm's hardware?

actually, Lemmings requires around 400k of dynamic ram - has over 400 sprites, can handle over 100 sprites on screen at any time do full screen scrolling without slowing down at all. lets not mention the background music capability of the game - its one of the only to provide smooth music in addition to sound effects (although, they are simple beeps). the graphics routines have been customized specifically for the game, as for the fact we had to write our own memory manager to get the amount of dynamic ram we wanted. even Palm employees were amazed at some of the techniques we used to make this game possible on the Palm. did i not add that it works flawlessly on a PalmOS 5 unit with an ARM processor?

the problem these days is people out there dont know anything about actually creating software for an embedded system such as the Palm - and, start spinning awful bull**** about how "easy" something is when they have no justification to do so. people like you suck. if you dont like the games, or, the technology we are dealing with - dont use the software. or, better still - how about trying to write some of these games/software yourself, and, then, we'll come back and criticize the hell out of you in return.

// az
aaron@ardiri.com
http://www.ardiri.com/
http://www.mobilewizardry.com/

RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/2/2002 12:24:55 AM #
It's not like 'amazed Palm employee" really worth a big bragging right, considering the "cutting edge" hack they have writen so far.
RE: Best games on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/3/2002 4:11:13 PM #
>>It's not like 'amazed Palm employee" really worth a big bragging right, considering the "cutting edge" hack they have writen so far.


Screw you - what the hell software DO YOU have in mind for Palm OS thats some damn cutting edge? A 3d game engine - oh right - Adiri and co have that! I suppose you think that '2d bubble thing XXXXVII' from astraware pushes the platform to the limit? Troll.

To Adiri - how the heck can you write custom graphics routines that also work in Palm OS 5?? Amazing, man!

what a PalmOS game can look like

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 4:49:31 PM #
take a look at these pics: http://www.kickoo.com/?page=taktik/screenshots
All game developers need to do is work on the Sony hi-res support. But I guess it's more economical to wait for Palm OS 5 when every device supports hi-res, not just Sony
RE: what a PalmOS game can look like
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 7:23:05 PM #
that's why Palm hired the BeOS team. They know quite a few things about writing gfx API's :)
RE: what a PalmOS game can look like
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/2/2002 2:19:02 PM #
Not only is it simply a board game with static bitmaps, the game itself sucks. It has zero playability, and random moves will beat the computer opponent.
RE: what a PalmOS game can look like
kickoo @ 6/2/2002 2:27:43 PM #
Hey,I.M. Anonymous, why are you posting again and again such false and negative statements, do our games cause you any problem ?

If you don't like them, nobody force you to use them...

While it's true that in TakTik the AI is not strong enough against a good player ( but can be compensated by using some options in the game ), it's completely wrong and absurd to say that you can play randomly and still win !

Do you really think we would have released such a bad game as the one you are describing ?

I really don't understand all those *guys* that post non constructive messages without even knowing what they are talking about...

...or maybe it is intentional ?

Do you really hate us so much to post this kind of messages ?


Daniel Morais
http://www.kickoo.com

RE: what a PalmOS game can look like
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/2/2002 9:23:49 PM #
Daniel Morais,

Your TikTak game is routinely criticized because the level of difficultly is not even adequate for a child. Perhaps if you find it sufficiently challenging, that tells us all we need to know about you.

As for:

>Do you really think we would have released such
>a bad game as the one you are describing ?

Apparently, the answer is obviously yes.

RE: what a PalmOS game can look like
kickoo @ 6/3/2002 4:08:54 AM #
Ok, let's do it one more time...while I admit the AI is not good enough for a good player, you can't say it's that bad !!!!

This kind of game, due to the fact you don't know what a piece is before fighting it, is much more complicated in terms of AI than a chess game !

Every pieces of your opponent can be everything until a certain point, and even your own ones : if you don't want to reveal them too soon, special care must be taken...

This is why it would be really difficult to make a very strong AI for this kind of game !

Just look at the 2 games of Stratego ( similar principles ) existing on PC : despite the fact your PC is much more powerfull than your Palm and the time taken by either programs to "think", their AI quality is a lot under what there is actually with TakTik, and one of the these programs is obviously cheating !

Human brain is a "thing" which is a lot more powerfull than a computer, at least for most people...

Making an AI that offer a great challenge against a human opponent is really difficult : I have an idea on how to improve it, but it will require a lot of time and I don't have it right now...

Since the beginning we put an accent to the fact this game should be played with friends, because that's the way it should be played ( bluffing against a computer does not make sense at all :).

While I personnaly think the AI is not so bad ( in terms of what can be done with this kind of game ), I will improve it someday, just to make all those *guys* ( maybe this *guy*, in fact ) find other arguments to criticize our games ( but I'm sure they[he] will find something else... )

I really think that the day IP of posters will be made public, a lot of non constructive posts will be avoided !

Daniel Morais
http://www.kickoo.com

RE: what a PalmOS game can look like
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/4/2002 1:41:24 AM #
> I really think that the day IP of posters will be
> made public, a lot of non constructive posts will
> be avoided !

My comments don't embarrass me in the least. As for yours, however, I'm surprised you don't prefer to post them anonymously given how stupid they make you sound. If you really think your silly game is a harder game than chess (with perfect information) or bridge (w/o it) -- both of which have able Palm versions -- you are a clueless hack who is under the delusion that he knows something about writing games. I suggest you take an introductory AI course at your local community college and learn something about alpha-beta pruning, probabilistic analysis, and bayesian reasoning and then you might at least proceed half-witted in this argument.

RE: what a PalmOS game can look like
kickoo @ 6/4/2002 5:08:02 AM #
Hey, men, I'm the owner of several world records in the area of combinatorial math and covering designs, so stop taking me for an idiot !

My main problem is that English is not my natural language and it's difficult for me to explain clearly what I mean.

I'm making video games since 15 years, so I think I have some experience I can argue of, don't you ?

And when I say that the AI of a game like TakTik is more complex than the one of chess, it does not mean the game is more complicated...

Just show me a game similar to TakTik/Stratego which have a good AI, and then we'll be able to talk again !

Until then, please keep your rude and unpleasant comments for yourself, thanks.

Daniel Morais
http://www.kickoo.com

Top View Full Comment Thread

Account

Register Register | Login Log in
user:
pass: