Back in June I reviewed a game called IonBall 2: Ionstorm, a block breaking game that required such focus and dexterity that it wasn't too long before my eyes were spinning around in the same way that a cartoon character's does after being hilariously and catastrophically injured.
That's not to say I didn't enjoy it… quite the contrary! As I said in my review of the game, I thought it was a great success at livening up one of the longest standing game types around. Apparently, however, the mind behind Ionball 2 didn't feel that they had gone far enough which is why they recently introduced a DLC pack to the original game called Ionball 2: Tower Assault.
The question any gamer always asks themselves when confronted by any DLC is what, exactly, does it bring to the party? Is it the kind of add on content that promises champagne and ends up bringing wine in a box? Or does it not only bring the champagne, but delivers it in a limousine longer than your block? When playing Ionstorm 2 I found it fell somewhere between those two extremes and, to be frak, I found that to be just what I was looking for. A few tweaks have been made, some things rearranged, but they left everything else well enough alone. Even the dialog box that pops up doesn't make any attempt at drama; it just offers a simple message.
You needn't worry, though… despite the lack of fanfare, the DLC pack speaks more than loudly enough all on it's own. In the original version of the game your chief weapons are the ball and your own manual dexterity. This time around, however, the game gives both you and your opponents some equalizers. In addition to the standard blocks that were seen in the first game, there are also blocks that have forcefields that turn on and off throughout the match, other blocks that are made of super dense material that your ball with simply ricochet off, and others that have various interesting ways of confounding your attempts to beat the level.
So, that's what new abilities your opponents have, but what about your poor self, standing (or hovering) in front of all these new challenges? Well, actually, quite a lot. Each time you destroy one of the unaugmented blocks, canisters will sometimes drop down. Catching one of these will give an orb you can use for breaking these otherwise indestructible blocks. Sometimes it will destroy by become engulfing blocks in flame, sometimes by a corona of energy, or even fire a stream of bullets that you aim with your mouse. Most impressive of all these abilities, however, is this.
So, should you bother with it? Well, if the screenshots and enthusiastic commentary haven't been enough to sway you, let me give you a checklist to help settle the matter.
- DO YOU ENJOY EVEN BIGGER EXPLOSIONS? Y/N
- DO YOU LIKE MORE CHALLENGE? Y/N
- DO YOU LIKE FIRING DEATH BEAMS? Y/N
If you answered yes to the last question, then this comes as a surprise to no one. Everyone likes firing death beams. On the other hand, if you answered yes to all three, then you will want to play Ionball 2's Tower Assault expansion.
Just keep your trigger finger in good shape.