Catastronauts is an upcoming title that might look a little familiar. Taking heavy inspiration from another chaotic couch co-up game, Overcooked, you and up to three others travel through space beset by problems. The gameplay places familial multiplayer mechanics in a sci-fi environment, adding even more chaos.
A demo of Catastronauts has been playable at a few events this year; featuring five of the 30 levels that will be available in the full game. Each of these threw in enough new elements to give a real sense of variety.
Gameplay in Space
Basic player tasks involve maintenance on the ship and it’s weapons to keep you afloat. These take a lot of cooperation, but it’s the tasks outside of necessities that will really cause problems. In some levels you’ll have a fight on your hands with aliens attacking. You can keep them at bay with the ships cannons; which need charged batteries and a working ship.
Another level features solar flares that you hide from in a safe room. These kind of obstacles add a lot to the gameplay. They make death and the time taken to re-spawn as much of a problem as organization of players in Catastronauts. Because of this, problems will pile up for you and likely lead to some arguments. Catastronauts sets out to prove manned space missions will strain friendships. Much like in Overcooked, the stages have been divided and segmented which will cause you further problems.
The inspiration behind Catastronauts is hard to ignore, the gameplay and art style are both straight out of Overcooked; with some Sci-Fi references thrown in for good measure. However, the gameplay does differentiate itself enough to be worthwhile. Pushing the multiplayer experience into wider and wider spaces in a sci-fi game really makes it feel fresh.
Release on Earth
While it’s likely that Overcooked 2 will bring in new elements that Catastronauts lacks, but it doesn’t lack engaging gameplay. Online multiplayer is being considered by Inertia but is unlikely to feature. This is not a major problem. While online play would be nice, nothing beats ruining friendships in person.
Catastronauts will be released later for the Switch than Playstation and Steam. This delay for Nintendo fans is particularly disappointing given the success of indies on Switch. If it becomes a long wait, this could wind up being a more expensive port after discounts in other stores. Although this is a problem that’s all too common, developers seem committed to delivering a quality product on the Switch.
With a launch date set for the end of 2018, Catastronauts will have enough of a window after Overcooked 2 to not crowd your time. This space adventure will definitely be a title to keep your eyes on.