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Sunday, June 23, 2024

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Review: Astro Duel Deluxe (Switch)

You know, there’s a great amount of potential for the Nintendo Switch to be used as a go-to party game extravaganza. The portability of the system could help make things easy to set up at any place necessary. Plus, with titles like The JackBox Party Pack 3, Super Bomberman R, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in the Switch market, there are already opportunities for the console to be home to many laugh-out-loud riots to come. Released just before June, Astro Duel Deluxe joins the foray with a brand of its own multiplayer havoc.


This indie darling has the kind of simple, but sleek presentation that many great titles of its caliber embody. The pixels are scrumptiously sharp; the sixty-frames-per-second framerate isn’t too shabby, either. In fact, the graphical effects add nicely to the overall satisfaction of using items and killing enemies. You can really feel the impact of the explosion or enemy strike, especially considering Astro Duel Deluxe takes advantage of the Switch’s HD Rumble features.


There’s something about the general sound design in the game that just feels right. It may be because of how well it complements the simplistic pixel style. Retro vibes are prevalent in the background music and sound effects. I dig the robotic-sounding announcer and the sounds that play out when an enemy is struck (particularly when items are in use).


If you’ve ever played the classic Atari game, Asteroids, you may get an idea of what to expect from this game’s controls. Players propel their ships around given space and shoot at each other; items can be found on the field to level the action with party-esque chaos. It’s a lot like playing the Balloon Battle mode of a classic Mario Kart game, but more fast-paced with some Asteroids in the mix. And that’s what makes Astro Duel Deluxe fun; it’s a blast to play with friends and family as a result!

There are three modes that can be played. All of them play out similarly, but they do have their differences. There’s the standard mode (1-4 players), a more chaotic mode with extra power-ups (1-6 players), and a touchscreen mode that intriguingly highlights the Switch’s portability (1-4 players). Further settings include options for one-hit deaths or necessities to kill the pilots, as well as team deathmatches and how long matches should last.

Unfortunately, there are a few glaring flaws. They don’t regard the gameplay, rather the amount of content as a whole. Astro Duel Deluxe is a local multiplayer title, and only a local multiplayer title. There is no online play, and all there is for single-player is facing CPUs in the modes dedicated to local multiplayer. The actual content is varied enough to keep things interesting among you and your peers; the controller settings are flexible. The three local multiplayer modes make for a good time in their own right. But that’s all they really are: Local multiplayer modes. If you don’t have people to play with, Astro Duel Deluxe would best be used as an appetizer game to kill a few minutes with before going off to play something else.


Overall, Astro Duel Deluxe is a great local multiplayer title that’s mostly held back by its status as a title for that sole purpose. Online play would be a huge addition to the title, and adding single-player modes like an arcade mode wouldn’t hurt. If you do have people that play party games with you, you probably won’t have a hard time getting them into this. I recommend it just enough for how well it plays to its strengths.

*The game has no story to use that will effect the review score.

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