Every now and then, I play a game that reminds me that a game does not always have to have the best graphics or the most intricate world design or an in-depth storyline to be fun. Sometimes, all it takes is the ability to jump to ludicrous heights and shoot massive craters into the ground.
Developer: Elecorn LLC
Publisher: Elecorn LLC
Release: Jan 7, 2009
Caster is a third-person sci-fi shooter that has little more to offer than the simplicity of free movement. The majority of the game is spent running around various simply-designed levels and shooting alien bugs.
The level design is really only made up of blandly-textured hills, valleys, and seas dotted here and there by big collectable orbs, a few trees, and scattered groups of enemies. In general, the levels are pretty bland and boring.
What really makes this game fun is how you can traverse and interact with that big blob of color I can only call the ground. First of all, the main character can jump really high. It sounds (and looks) stupid, but that high-flying jumping mechanic represents some of the most freedom and fun I’ve had in moving around a game world. Maybe it just creates the relief I needed from playing Wander, but the fast running and high jumping in Caster just feels right. Second, most of the terrain in Caster is fully destructible. Shooting the ground enough will create large holes that can be used to mess with enemies or to create little obstacle courses for yourself. There is even a special spell or weapon type that raises the terrain, allowing for the creation of gigantic mountains.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much more going for Caster than the movement. There are different attacks that can be unlocked throughout the game, but only one or two are really needed. The level design and enemy placement is generally barren and boring. Each level has a different mission ranging from killing enemies to picking up big balls to shooting a tree back to life, so there’s that.
The world finds itself plagued by a sudden invasion of alien bug things. Fortunately, there is a largely untested program for turning some people into special badasses called Spart—uhm, Casters. The main protagonist is a newly trained/created Caster who sets out to defend against these bug things.
The story isn’t all that interesting. In fact, it’s a pretty generic alien-bug-thing invasion storyline.
I think it should be sufficient to say that the very first look into the graphics in this game that I had the fortune of being exposed to is this:
The graphics don’t really get any better, either. Everything is a weird blocky shape that suggests the developers were more concerned with building the game engine than adhering to any sort of graphical fidelity. Still, at least it’s kind of… cute?
Yeah… we’ll go with cute.
The music in Caster is one of the few things along with the game engine that really take what would otherwise be a horrible abomination of a game and turns it into something that is kind of passable. Overall, the music is very enjoyable and feels intense at times, even if you have just blown up all of the 6 enemies on the map with one attack. It’s one of the few things that make this game worth playing for like 10-15 minutes at a time.
Caster is currently available on Steam for $0.14. That’s 14 cents. In a way, that’s almost better than free, since it gives something to do with the extra money you collected for selling off those stupid Steam Summer Sale cards. I’ve played Caster for about 4 hours, but honestly, at 14 cents, just seeing the deformed potato of a face I was presented with at the character creation screen makes Caster worth it. I’m actually a little more worried about those 4 hours.
Although, time really does fly when you… um… fly
Caster is a uniquely fun game, although it has many, many flaws. The graphics are terrible, the level design is awful, and the story is forgettable, but the ability to just jet around the map and shoot the occasional fodder while jamming out to some fairly decent music makes for a fun afternoon of digital tomfoolery. For that, and with a laughably miniscule price tag, I can recommend Caster to anyone who truly has nothing better to do with their night, especially if they have that loose change hanging around their Steam wallet.
-Hilariously bad graphics
-Bland level design
Score: 2 / 5