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Battle Stations Blockade Review

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One of my fondest childhood memories was going to the motorway services whenever we went to Scotland as a family. Bear with me, it does get a bit more exciting. Anyway, this one particular services had an Operation Wolf coin op machine, and so we always made time for a bit of gaming. In time it became a bit of a ritual, and to this day it brings back fond memories. 

Well, as luck would have it, there is a game that evokes the feel of those early light guns and it goes by the name of Battle Stations Blockade. Coming from Mission Critical Studios and Eastasiasoft, it is an on-rails shooter in a 3D style that puts us in charge of a gunboat. I couldn’t wait to pull on the captain’s hat and dive straight in. All aboard!

Battle Stations Blockade review 1
If it moves, shoot it.

Let’s be honest – story is not usually a massive part of any shooting game, and so it proves here. We are given control of two turrets on the front of a ship, told there are no friendly targets, and invited to fill anything that moves full of lead. That is as complicated as it gets in terms of the narrative sitting behind Battle Stations Blockade

The game is set from a behind-the-turrets view, as we sail through seas or rivers, and while the land that we can see does have a certain Minecrafty look to it, and the enemies that we have to shoot or all rendered in glorious pixel art, all in all, Battle Stations Blockade works well. The world is full, and I mean full, of things to shoot, from paratroopers jumping out of planes (jumping into the sea seems a little daft, but hey ho) through men with guns on jet skis, right up to massive mechanical crabs and airships. The sound is okay as well, with each of the weapons that you get access to having its own distinct sound. In fact, the game works really well from a presentation viewpoint. 

But the main part of Battle Stations Blockade has to be the action on offer, and this doesn’t disappoint either. In the middle of the screen is an aiming reticle, and we can move this around with the left stick, aiming at the enemies on the screen. We fire with the right tiger, as usual, and the only other control is the left trigger, which opens up the weapon wheel, allowing the choice of which particular round we want our turret to fire. We start off small, as is traditional, with .50 cal machine guns, but we soon gain access to guided missiles, nukes and scatterguns to name but a few. Having something to shoot, in both senses of the term, is never a problem here. 

Battle Stations Blockade review 2
Battle Stations Blockade comes with a range of weapons and enemies

The action is on-rails, meaning that there are no decisions to make about where to go – all we have to do is keep our turrets safe and sound. Obviously, shooting enemies before they can shoot you (or in the case of the floating mines, before they make contact with the ship) is the name of the game, but there is an added touch that makes things a tad easier. You see, shooting an enemy will restore a certain amount of HP to the turrets – a mine is 3HP, a jet ski soldier is 5HP, and so on. The bigger the target, the more HP it restores, but the longer it takes to kill. Are you better off killing a bunch of small fry or one big thing? The choice is yours, commander!

As we go through the various levels, we are given missions, which usually run along the lines of “Shoot X of a certain type of enemy”, or “Destroy whatever boss thing comes along”. Completing these missions gives extra points, and as we all know, points make prizes – except in Battle Stations Blockade where they are used to indicate your prowess at shooting stuff. 

This is not only a solo game, however, and a couch co-op buddy can be roped in to assist. When a second player joins, you take control of one turret each, and so there can be a certain amount of split responsibilities. ”You shoot the ships”, my son would tell me, “and I’ll shoot the planes”. He is very much the boss when the gaming is involved! The multiplayer aspect works very well and adds a whole new dimension to the action on offer. 

Battle Stations Blockade review 3
Keep an eye on that health

There’s no doubt you’ll have a good time with Battle Stations Blockade. With multiple difficulty levels to go at, it is easy to ensure the game is challenging enough, whilst the wide range of weapons makes taking on each level a decent test. 

As a throwback to a simpler time, Battle Stations Blockade works.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Lots of weapons, and enemies to use them on
  • Each level is a manageable length
  • Action is pretty fast and furious
Cons:
  • Not the longest game ever
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Eastasiasoft
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 6 December 2023 | £8.39
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Lots of weapons, and enemies to use them on</li> <li>Each level is a manageable length</li> <li>Action is pretty fast and furious</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Not the longest game ever</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Eastasiasoft</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 6 December 2023 | £8.39</li> </ul>Battle Stations Blockade Review
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