It’s wonderful when a game doesn’t take itself so darn seriously. Fastar! takes run-and-slash iPhone fun and injects it with some great tongue-in-cheek silliness, providing me with my latest on-the-go addiction.
Essentially an arcade hack-‘n-slash, your goal is to guide our unnamed hero along his trail to the finish line, hacking all the enemies you can encounter along the way. Defeating baddies earns you coins to buy healing items in towns you pass through along your journey. The game shows you how much damage you deal to your foes through small text lines like an RPG.
Controlling our hero is easy. He runs by tilting the iPhone left or right, slashes by tapping the screen and does a charge attack by jerking the iPhone to one side. You’ll also get to choose a spell to take with you, which can be cast by tapping its icon on the screen. Spells include attacks, healing or stat boosts.
Sounds pretty pedestrian right?
Well, what if I told you that all the enemies are nothing but giant colored squares? And what if our hero is dressed like a slob? That’s the kind of thing you’ll encounter in Fastar! Everything with the game seems just a little bit “off” but it’s very fun all the same.
For example, the game tells you that “You enter a quaint village.” But then the next time you pass one, it says it’s now a “secluded” village. The adjectives change every time, even for the same place. Also, these villages have silly names like Soupy Point or Shovelton. Not exactly high-brow dwellings. If you start travelling to the left rather than the right at the beginning of a level, you’ll encounter an arbitrary dotted line with the the note of “End of the world.” It’s little touches like these that really draw you in.
The graphics in Fastar! have a fun, hand-drawn cartoony vibe to them, and look like they take themselves seriously even though they shouldn’t. The musical score is heroic and driving, but considering how silly the game is, it only adds to the wackiness here.
Thankfully the gameplay is as solid as the humor. Unlike a lot of game that use the accelerometer, Fastar! uses it perfectly. Small tilts result in slower walks, and the taps for slashing are fast and responsive. As you “whack, destroy, pummel, attack” and lots of other “verb” your enemy squares, Fastar! lets you know how much damage you do, as well as report on damage you take. Upon defeating the different squares, you’ll get to pick up gold. However, be killed by the squares, and the game gleefully reports that the square defeated you and how much gold it picked up. If some gold flew away from you and you don’t press a button to reset the game, the squares will continue to move about onscreen. Should they collect more of your coins, the game dutifully updates the report on the square.
Fastar! features a boatload of modes, including various difficulty levels, gameplay challenges and the ability to play levels consisting entirely of one type of square. With global leaderboards and just a whole lot to try, Fastar! is loaded with replay value.
If there is a strike against Fastar! it’s that there is only one type of enemy to defeat. However, since the subtitle of the game is Fight Angry Squares: The Action RPG! it’s hard to blame the developers. We’re not sure why the squares are angry, or even who we are, but it doesn’t matter. Fastar! ends up being a wonderful, light-hearted timesink that will tickle your funny bone as well as your twitch-gamer muscle.