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The PSP Mini brand of games are intended to be short, downloadable titles that just about anybody could pickup and begin to play without much effort. Being utilized to entice the “App” obsessed community to switch from their jack-of-all-trade gadgets to the less capable PSP Go, there hasn’t been much success generating a worthwhile PSP Mini. That is, until now.

Halfbrick Studios comes bearing a delightful little stocking-stuffer right before the holidays in Blast Off, and their latest venture into the digital marketplace. It’s hard to praise or knock games that are priced less than a gallon of gasoline, but this PSP Mini definitely embodies the mini ideal, and should serve as an example for all others to strive for.

Blast Off is the quintessential PSP Mini available on the PlayStation Network. The gameplay simply breaks down to rescuing stranded astronauts with your trusty spaceship. While completing each mission and finishing the game aren’t very difficult, mastering its technique and achieving the high scores will prove both challenging and wildly addictive. Gravity-based gameplay has never been such a blast.

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Your objective throughout the game is to guide a free-roaming spaceship to pick up astronauts around the level and return to a warpgate to proceed to the next level, all the while battling the forces of gravity. The ship’s direction is controlled by the analog stick or d-pad, and you can go faster by boosting your engines with the X button. You’ll have to be careful when applying power to the engine, as too much will send you flying into the vast unknown. You do have fuel and air meters, but they pose little hindrance in your efforts to rescue the free-floating spacemen.

The tricky part lies in the maneuvering through multiple fields of gravity produced by the planets and black-holes scattered around each level. It isn’t very deep at first, but as you progress through the 45 levels and five difficulties, the amount of gravity fields increase dramatically and provide for an intense experience. You’ll have to resist each objects gravity pull as you fly around space, which will require some precise movements and boosts from your engine so you don’t collide and explode with the interstellar scenery.

Frustrating, yes, yet as you get the hang of it, it becomes very addicting. Once you’ve completed the easy and normal levels, the fun really begins as frequent use of the “Reset” function (hitting the L button) will be necessary. Although the challenge is a ton of fun, you may need to resist the urge to fling your PSP against a brick wall once you get to the hardest stages; some of the levels tend to get a bit ridiculous.

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Blast Off may sacrifice depth for the sake of an awesome challenge, but the music certainly doesn’t. Your ears will be graced with some really great tunage that fits perfectly with the games’ mellow feel; a superb mix of calming beats, chilling melodies, and some light, interstellar techno. You’ll most definitely bop your head along to the music as you play during a commute or while you’re just wasting some time on the couch, foregoing the need of a custom soundtrack.

If you’re looking for an epic, role playing driven narrative, then you’ll want to look elsewhere. But if you want a killer challenge, unique gameplay, and stellar music to boot, then Blast Off should be your next purchase, especially at the awesome low price of $2.99.

Rating Category
8.0 Presentation
Though many of the levels look similar, it doesn't affect the game in the slightest. It's a very simple, yet pretty art style for a simple game.
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9.0 Gameplay
The gameply may not be revolutionary, but it sure offers a whole lot of simple, addicting fun.
9.0 Sound
In such a simple game, you'd never expect to find the awesome music that has been spliced together in Blast Off. A great mix of soft-techno and mellow beats.
8.5 Longevity
While you may finish the game pretty quickly, reaching those high scores and mastering the game is where all the fun lies.
9.0 Overall
Blast Off is the best PSP Mini to hit the PSN so far. Though it may not have much in terms of depth, the challenge offered is tremendously addictive. Blast Off is a shining example of what all Minis and gaming-Apps should strive for.

  1. avatar MrPainful

    Absolutely agree that Halfbrick are onto something with this game and another game they released recently, Echoes on the PSP minis. I for one, can’t wait to see what they bring out next!

  2. avatar Alh

    well the chinese ones are fileld with problems and half of videos on youtube say that it is better to avoid them. on the other hand samsungs galaxy pad is like 800$ so too expensive.

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