The combination of a Mad Max type setting with the driving equivalent of a twin stick shooter sounds like a promising premise. Unfortunately, too many detours seemed to have been taken along Wasteland Angel's production avoiding any routes for an innovative product. The title is available on major PC digital download platforms for a retail price of $10.
Wasteland Angel takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in which you drive a muscle car named Ol' Gypsy that is armed with an assortment of machine guns and mines. In the aftermath of World World III, towns are now raided by bandits and mutants seeking their civilians for slavery. As the heroine of the wastes, you must protect the cities from wave after wave of a variety of armored cars, tractors, tanks, and slave transports. The lackluster story is depicted through panning comic panels and radio chatter during missions. There are frequent hints in the story of the heroine becoming the savior of the wastes, but once the credit rolls nothing is said of the matter or even resolved.
The campaign is spread over 24 levels in six different locations that can be played through on four difficulty levels. Once a chapter's missions are complete, the player must square off against a boss that requires a particular strategy in its defeat. Each chapter also includes bonus levels that range from survival mode to time trials. The normal wave missions are played from a top down angle while bonus levels are changed to an odd first person camera. Better weapons or special items such as mines, EMP blasts, and nukes drop randomly from destroyed enemies.
The gameplay of Wasteland Angel ranges from automobile battles to monotonous boss battles repeated in each of the chapters. The first couple of waves in missions have you defending each city against a few vehicles. Once the waves increase in number, levels becomes far more populated with a mess of roaming vehicles. Defeat in missions will result either from your car being destroyed or if all of the 100 civiliians are captured by slave transports. The time between waves can be spent collecting dropped loot or repairing your vehicle at a city. The challenge in missions is the struggle in managing the threat against attack vehicles versus slave transports. Unfortunately, it becomes quickly evident that this gameplay is repeated throughout each chapter with merely a change in scenery.
The only replay value to be found in the game exists in the form of star ratings and online scoreboards that accompany each level. The various difficulties don't solve the gameplay's problem of easily becoming tiresome after an extended period of time. More issues that plague each mission include a severe repeat of generic music tracks and lackluster sound effects. Combine those problems with a maximum of three to four hours of gameplay create for quite an underwhelming experience.
The graphics on display in Wasteland Angel simply accomplish their job at producing a grungy post-nuclear atmosphere and exceed at nothing else. The main issue with the game's presentation is the toy car effect produced by its physics. The physics employed while driving the heroine's car around feels as if it's a toy rolling around on a table. The toy car mechanics further complicate lining up precision shots in hectic situations. Another frequent occurrence was the car's tendency to drive out of camera range when close to level boundaries.
The wasted potential in terms of gameplay and story in Wasteland Angel's post-apocalyptic setting is quite disappointing with the end product result. Even with the low asking price of $10, the included amount of gameplay does not justify the purchase.
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