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Reviews of Close Approach v2.03

At present there are no reviews of the latest version of Close Approach. Watch this space.

Reviews of Close Approach v2.0

VB Gamers Ring  
In October 2001 Sketch at the VB Game Programming Web Ring posted an in-depth review of Close Approach v2.  Unfortunately the VB Game Programming Web Ring is no more, but here is the review...

Sunday, October 14th, 2001

~ ~ ~ Close Approach ~ ~ ~

*** Review by Sketch *** 

I had to review this game =) ... it's not every day I get a full version of a game just for review!  Even with the demo levels, though, this game would easily deserve this review ... the good and the ugly ... but mostly the good..

The game starts off with a windowed-mode main menu .. even though the game plays in full-screen mode.  When I saw this, I immediately mentally subtracted a few points for professionalism.  I understand a window-mode game using a windowed main menu ... but a full-screen game?  Actually, I take that back ... it had a window-mode play setting .. that I could never get to work =(.  Other than that, the main menu has detailed instructions, full control over screen resolutions and other settings, and oodles of other fun things to look at.  There really were a lot of options available and that was a few points added back.

My first impression of the game was... WOW!! ... amazing 3D graphics .. smooth movement with the mouse .. and a haunting musical track..  Then after 5 seconds ... is this music just looping onto itself again?  ... and after 5 minutes .... God help me .. I'm going crazy! =) .. I exaggerate of course.  The music is actually ambient sounding for the most part and can be played looped almost indefinitely.  I've seen this done before at end-of-level sequences and in-game menu's .. etc.  Still, it doesn't seem to fit into the main arena of gameplay.  On the plus-side ... the music .. even for being so short .. is really amazing!  I'm guessing this stuff is original ... and it truly sounds awesome ... better than a lot I hear today .. period.

The graphics aren't exactly eye-candy... except for the asteroids themselves ... but they are crisp and in-theme.  They fit into the mood of the game perfectly.  All of the gameplay takes place inside a force-field designed to keep the asteroids inside.  I don't exactly understand why they can't just blow them all up from outside the sphere ... but then again .. what kind of of game would that be?  Now the asteroids themselves are texture-mapped irregular spinning masterpiecesThey look absolutely great.  I'm sure a huge amount of work was put into just getting these things to look this good.  Even the lighting on the asteroids is amazing ... if the asteroid is between you and the light source, you see a silhouette of the asteroid.  There are also evil red flying saucers that you must dodge and destroy.  These are just straight-shaded undetailed polygonal objects, but they are crisp.  Other than that, there are other flying saucers outside of the sphere that watch you complete your missions ... I'm sure they were laughing at me more than approving =).  There is also a full star field background that rotates with the screen angle ... as well as planets and other celestial bodies .. no .. not Jennifer Love Hewitt.  We can't win 'em all.

Now on to gameplay.  This is what I don't understand ... ok ... when you move with the mouse and stop... the screen slowly stops moving.  When you use the keyboard .. the screen stops moving on a dime.  Why is that?  Other than that ... the mouse buttons were well utilized ... the left button for firing .. and the right button for thrust.  This made sense immediately.. "a few more points added back".  The speed of the thrust was great ... not too fast .. and not too slow.  Still, I could stop on a dime just by letting go of the mouse button.  Not very good physics I'm thinking... never been in space to test it myself, but I'm pretty sure I'd float a little bit before stopping.  The mouse-look feature is well-written as well ... the speed seems to have been play tested and play tested until they found the perfect speed.  I could "with the mouse" .. follow the path of an asteroid chunk .. and fire ahead of it .. to hit it straight on.  I really did like the distance aspect of the whole thing.  Firing at an asteroid does nothing but waste time .. since it's already past that spot when the "bullet" reaches it.  This, in itself, sets this apart from some other shoot-em-ups I've played.  As for special effects ... this game doesn't carry many ... an explosion when an asteroid is hit ... and a polygonal heap of trash when you ship is destroyed ... but they look to be done decently as well.

Now comes my one complaint about the interface... hunting down that last asteroid.  It seems to take forever to view the entire 360 degree area with your small view of the screen.  Maybe a widening of the camera angle would be in order.  This would also help a lot with getting killed because of an asteroid in your blind spot ... there are just too many places to look for oncoming asteroids at times.

Last .. but never least ... is the fun factor of this game.  I'd bet that most people's immediate reactions would be that this game is too hard or complicated... but the learning curve is amazingly fast.  After my 3rd go at this game I had already reached the 6th level .. no small feat!  .. and now I'm even farther along.  The mouse movements feel natural ... and I've learned how to use the power-ups I receive from destroyed saucers.  oops .. did I forget to mention that part of the game?  All I've seen so far is Rapid Fire and Rapid Movement ... but they are both welcome additions to my arsenal!  .. Too bad there isn't an auto-fire ... it gets a bit annoying clicking the mouse button that quickly ... which is why I use the space bar to fire now.  Still, other than a few choice options I would've added, I find this game extremely fun and a bit time-consuming.  I think a head-to-head over the net version would be viable in the near future.  Single player games don't seem to interest me much unless they are pure RPG in nature ... so it's surprising that I am actually still playing this game =) ... and the final score?  1000 points to Wayne, Collin, and Ryan ... but that's ok because the points don't matter ... just like a firewall on a PS2.  =)

I seriously recommend checking this game out .. and finding out what can be done in Visual Basic when one's mind is set to the task! .. besides .. it's fun!




Old Reviews of Close Approach v1.1

ZDNET   www.hotfiles.com
" Although the plot sounds a little familiar, the gameplay is delightfully innovative. The 3D environment makes piloting a real challenge, and you'll find you need a stable hand and head to avoid vertigo. "


Shareware Junkies   www.sharewarejunkies.com
" This program is 3-D, I mean really 3-D. Trust me. This program is a keeper. The graphics are fantastic, the game is great and you can't beat the price. Even if you HATED asteroids, you should download this program and try it. I think you'll be playing with this one for quite some time to come. "


ROCKETDOWNLOAD.COM   www.rocketdownload.com
" The authors did an excellent job in developing the game. The latest gravity propulsion and asteroid research was infused into the game. "

     Emoticon Rating

GAMEDUDES   gamedudes.aveiro-digital.net
" Asteroids with a twist and taken into the 3D realm. Close Approach, using simple gameplay, gives you the ability to 'freelook' much like Descent-type games and succeeds in making a good game. "


Jumbo!  www.jumbo.com
" Close Approach is the next step towards perfection in 3D asteroid shooters. The game delivers graphics with a third dimension that adds a totally new level of excitement to the good old-fashioned Asteroids game! ... Over all, the game is a great catch. The graphics, controls and 3D environment make this game the ultimate Asteroid shooter of today! "


What PC?  UK
" If you like the gameplay of Asteroids but would like to try a more '90s-style game, take a look at Close Approach. It's an exciting 3D accelerated version of the game where you must destroy the asteroids before they collide with Earth. "


PC Gaming World  UK
" Excellent Asteroids tribute. "


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