Ion Assault HD was released on North American PSN on April 2nd, 2013, nearly a year and a half after its original European debut to the store. The game itself features a unique twist on the classic Asteroids gameplay where you’ll be collecting ‘ions’ that literally litter the maps. The more ions collected, the stronger your attacks will be and powerups further serve to assist your ship in laying waste to the field’s space rocks and gravel.
Note: The copy reviewed and information in this article refer to the PSN version of the game only. Release dates for PC and XBLA may differ.
A few key differences from the classic Asteroids games: The map does not cover the entire screen. You will have to navigate with objects off screen and instead of it extending through infinite (warping from one end of map to the other when you reach its boundary), the borders instead act as a bubble to bounce you off. Also, the more ions collected, the more powerful your shot and the larger an object you can destroy with one hit. Some objects need to be shot with a certain power just to break them into smaller pieces, others to be destroyed outright.
The graphics and music lend themselves well to the ambiance that is generally a floating space shooter. Think Wipeout meets old school asteroids with an HD twist. Well, not quite Wipeout’s epic soundtrack but the atmosphere is present, especially later on where speed and agility come in high demand to maneuver through the many obstacles a given stage has to offer. Other ships shoot at you, powerup wielding becomes a must, and the frenetic pace might fly you crazy.
Final score – 7 – Great Value!
While Ion Assault HD game can be quite a fun distraction, it is ONLY available on PSN and not for your Vita. The score would have been much higher had this title been available for play on the go as that is what it feels like: A glorified mini that fits your pocket better than your HDTV at home. Perhaps that is too harsh a judgement. For $1.99, this game feels underpriced and you’ll easily get your 2 bucks worth if you decide to pick it up. But the feeling that it should’ve been a Vita or PSP game leaves something to be desired.
Below is TRG’s grading scale for smaller titles and indie games. We list this key to give a better understanding of how we score those types of games which are released at a low cost instead of the $40 or $60 debut games that are standard in console/PC gaming. The scale reflects the quality of the game compared to its price.
I’d Pay Any Price! – Score 10 – Underpriced. Game offers an experience worth more than the money required to play it. (Excludes free to play)
Worth Every Penny! – Score 8-9 – Whatever the price, you’ll get your money’s worth.
Great Value! – Score 7-8 – A great game that belies its low price.
Decent Buy! – Score 5-7 – May or may not be worth your time and money.
Forgettable – Score 3-5 – Neither a good value nor a worthy distraction. Passing on this game won’t harm your gaming life at all.
Way Overpriced! – Score 1-3 – Overpriced. A poorly valued game, even if it is cheap.