If you’ve ever doubted there being something for every gamer on the App Store, you’re wrong. Are you a fan of action-RPGs or hack-’n'-slash games? Then let me ask you a question: Have you ever wanted to play one of these games while waiting for your friend to pick you up? Or perhaps for a class to start? The main issue with having 10 minutes to play and deciding to do so is that 10 minutes is simply not enough time to fully immerse oneself into an action-RPG experience. After all, there’s more than just loot to obtain — more often than not you’ll need to keep track of your inventory, skills, and story progression.
This is why — and this may be just an assumption — gamers shy away from action-RPG’s in those quick-fix moments. They’d rather play a casual game, like Bejeweled or Fruit Ninja. But what if you combine all the appeal of a casual title (the quick-fix gameplay and the lack of a need for constant attachment) with the appeal of an action-RPG (hack and slash action, loot, skill development, etc.)? Well, you get Cat in a Box’s App Store gem, Fastar!
Whenever I fire up Fastar! I’m instantly reminded of its awesomeness. The game steers you from town to town on a quest involving nothing. I’m pretty certain this game is more about nothing than Seinfeld. In the basic control scheme, players will utilize tilt controls to move their character left and right. By tapping the screen, they’ll swing their sword. Your enemy? Angry squares of different sizes and colors. Each different colored square has its own set of powers and weaknesses — being able to master these is the key to success in the game. At the same time, you’ll notice the gradual difficulty spikes as you progress. But fear not, because you’ve got powers of your own. At the beginning of the game, you’ll be able to choose one of nine awesome spells — this spell will usually recharge after each use, and it will also help you immensely during your play-through. Moreover, the loot you collect fills your pockets with money that can be used at each town’s “shoppe” to purchase health and upgrades for your attack/defense.
Including the tutorial, there are a total of 24 game modes available in Fastar!. While this may make the game seem huge, you will soon notice that these game modes are simply variations of one another. Each of them offers a different set of rules and enemies. But your main goal is still to move as quickly through the level as possible. Leaderboards are in place to help you gauge your rank among the rest of the Fastar! players.
Even with all of its merits, Fastar! isn’t perfect. The tilt and touch controls make for an uncomfortable experience at times, especially when the going gets tough. Some squares — namely the bigger ones — will easily deplete your health and the controls make it difficult to fight back. At least, this is what a lot of the App Store reviews of the game are complaining about. But what Cat in a Box have added are four different control schemes: Tilt, Swipe, Gamepad, and One Hand. Therefore, these complaints are mostly unwarranted.
Being a featured FreeAppADay app, Fastar! is still available for free on the App Store — and there is no excusable reason for iOS owners to avoid this download.
[This is not a review. This is a "first impressions" piece based on less than an hour of gameplay.]