At first glance, I thought Astervoid 2000 was the game Asteroid with a co-op deathmatch mode. You can use this as your elevator pitch to win your friends over to get them to frag with you, but Astervoid has much more depth than it first appears. The premise is simple. Grab some friends and battle it out for the first to get 5 kills. If you have the controllers, up to four friends can join in on the space slaughter. Controls are deceptively simple with standard “twin stick” shooter movement. Players get a shield which will protect them from one shot and will recharge after several seconds. If you get hit when the shield is down, you’re dead. Players can make use of a boost to get out of danger quickly, and can charge a shot to insta-kill their opponent punching through their shields and ship. That’s all you need to know to jump into the fray, but playing close attention to your surroundings can give you an extra layer of tactics to use against your friends.
First off, it’s important to know that this game isn’t Asteroid. Running it’s floating rocks won’t kill you. Instead they can be used as cover, which will greatly help in a pinch. Amongst the floating debris are mines. These should be avoided, or more deviously, bounced towards your opponent. Floating planets can be shot to cause them to expand and eventually explode killing others nearby. In addition to the standard environment hazards, special events such as meteor showers and AI controlled dreadnoughts will slowly cruise by. All these elements combine together to make for a crazy chaotic atmosphere on top of trying to kill your friends.
I had the opportunity to play the game against one other person and it was pretty fun. Opposing shots will cancel each other out, and I found myself in multiple “dog fights” in which we were strafing and firing matching each other shot for shot. It turned into a game of who would blink (or mess up) first. When dreadnoughts appeared we dropped our vendetta against each other turning our rage towards the floating monstrosity. The game brought up those old feelings of being a kid, dueling against my friend on a video game. The game is simple but fun.
It should be noted that there is a singleplayer mode, but if you’re going to grab Astervoid 2000 it’s for the competitive local multiplayer. Be sure to have a few controllers and a friend to invite over!