One of the semi-forgotten early arcade classics is Lunar Lander, possibly because by today’s standards it’s a gameplay concept rather than a full game. Robotron, Asteroids, and Pac-Man all had a strong gameplay arc but Lunar Lander was more about mastering a single control system until inevitably running out of gas. Rashlander is Lunar Lander fused with an action-roguelike, where you pilot a nimble ship that can thrust and rotate through a crowded outer space while nursing the fuel supply to make it to the next gas pad. Platforms on the mini-planets are fairly common but take a little finesse to land on, with the rewards ranging from a full tank of gas to one of a selection of permanent power-ups. That latter option tends to be a mixed bag because many of them balance their upgrades with questionable side-effects. Getting a bigger gas meter is nice but the scrambled l33t-t3x7 can be tricky to manage, while a hefty scoring bonus comes at the price of a constantly leaking fuel tank. Managing the consequences of a decision is all part of a good roguelike, though, and exploiting the advantages can go a long way towards finding the secrets hidden in Rashlander’s colorful retro-space.
Rashlander launched today and is well worth a look. I’ve been playing it for a couple of weeks now thanks to its original intended launch in late July, and keep getting drawn back for another round or two in its dangerously cluttered universe. Trying different ships, questing after unique upgrades, flying to a mysterious indicators, and more make each level a choice between zipping to the exit or exploring to see what it hides. It’s a sneakily replayable update of an arcade classic, so give a look to the launch trailer to see it in action or just head over to Steam to check it out. Alternately, if the $3.59 pricing for launch week seems a little too light, there’s a fantastic arcade cabinet available at a mere $3499.99 that makes me wish I was significantly richer than I actually am.