Game Reviews

Cosmic Clean-Up

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| Cosmic Clean-Up
Cosmic Clean-Up
| Cosmic Clean-Up

Space may be the final frontier, but that hasn't stopped mankind from treating it like a local rubbish tip.

Thousands of pieces of debris are currently orbiting the Earth, to the point where any launch has to pick its way carefully through bits of metal and plastic.

What we need is an interstellar garbage collector, which is just the role you take in Cosmic Clean-Up.

Refuse re-entry

Fortunately, this doesn't mean waking up at three o'clock in the morning and shuffling alongside a lumbering space-truck, lobbing blacks sacks into the back.

Rather, it involves guiding a nimble rocket ship out into space, using its thruster to burn up any interstellar rubbish.

Of course, you also need your thruster to propel yourself forward, and thus comes Cosmic Clean-Up's simple-but-tricky balancing act.

Once your engines are ignited, you can't stop them from burning - you can only steer left and right. Taking out a stray satellite or asteroid involves flying in at and angle and then turning sharply away at the last moment in order to disintegrate it,

Fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy

It's incredibly straightforward, but also very rewarding - especially when each piece of fried space junk yields valuable scrap pieces, which can be put towards temporary power-ups or better rocket ships.

Still, this fly-and-fry system can get a little repetitive after a few levels. The developer works against this by getting creative with the nature of the debris itself.

You'll soon encounter huge space stations that need multiple passes, and explosive barrels that require you to escape before the shockwave takes you out. You can even use the latter to help your out with the former.

You also get deep space satellites that orbit right at the limit of your range - and sometimes outside of it. You can only operate for four seconds outside of each level's orbital limit, requiring a speedy dip in and dip out.

Fast-moving debris, on the other hand, needs a careful approach, as it can either take ages to catch up to or advance on you alarmingly quickly depending on your vector.

Burn out

All of these touches are entertaining enough, but Cosmic Clean-Up is still a little too lightweight for its own good. It remains apparent that you're doing the same thing again and again, and the aforementioned variations can actually make the game duller to play.

Catching up to a fast-moving object or making a dozen passes to take one out simply isn't fun. In fact, it can be outright dull, and every inch the grinding job that the term 'space garbage collector' suggests.

When it works, though Cosmic Clean-Up is simple ephemeral fun - burning brightly for a relatively brief time before sputtering out through repetition.

Cosmic Clean-Up

Cosmic Clean-Up is mostly good clean fun, but its limited premise leads to repetition and one or two dull patches