Catch a Falling Star
Catch a Falling Star is a casual game from Alister Software where the goal is quite simply to catch stars falling from the sky. You won’t be putting them in your pocket and saving them for a rainy day either, but have to “deposit” them on either side of the screen to score points. It is a very simple concept and grasping the concept takes no time at all, but things obviously become a little bit more complicated the longer you play.
Initially the basket that you use to catch the stars can only hold five of them before you are required to deposit everything. You can deposit the stars before your bucket is full, but if you do so, then you will miss out on the bonus points you can gain. However, this strategy is also a bit more risky because if you miss a single falling star, then you will lose a life along with all the stars in your basket that you didn’t deposit. This happening is even more painful when you have upgraded your basket to hold ten stars, so you definitely have to keep a close eye on where those stars are falling.
Simply moving your basket left and right while catching stars isn’t exactly thrilling, so the game throws a couple of curve balls in your direction too. The first of these is the ice that rain down from the sky. You’ll definitely want to avoid catching these in your basket as not only do they take up a valuable spot that could have been used for a star, but they also slow the basket down. Catch too many pieces of ice by accident and you probably won’t be fast enough to reach that falling star in time. Luckily, you can deposit any ice that you catch by accident, but you won’t get any points for these. The only way that they can be turned into points is by bumping them with the edges of your basket, which is something that takes a bit of skill and coordination to pull off effectively.
The ice is not the only hazardous things falling from the skies either. The game is also filled with some nasty power-downs that can put a serious damper on your scoring potential. Some will straight up rob you of a life, while others can cause more ice to fall from the sky or slow down your basket. Not everything in the sky is hazardous, though, as you can also grab some neat power-ups. These range from extra lives to slower falling stars, less ice and faster moving baskets. Finally, you’ll see coins drop out of the sky every now and then. These can be used to purchase things like additional backgrounds, new basket designs and one use power-ups. It can take a while to gather enough coins to purchase these things, though, so don’t expect to be able to afford everything off the bat.
The final thing that you need to keep an eye on in Catch A Falling Star is the wind. An indicator at the top of the screen shows the direction and strength of the wind, which influences the direction in which everything that is falling blows. It can be a real juggling act to try and catch everything, but your priority should obviously be to ensure that none of the stars touch the ground while you avoid the power-downs at all cost. Sometimes it can be unavoidable grabbing a power-down that is falling right next to a star, but that’s part of the challenge. In addition to Steam achievements to aim for the game also features an online leaderboard, but judging by the top scores, this has been hacked already, which makes it rather useless.
Visually, Catch A Falling Star is as simple as can be, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. The graphics are not exactly detailed, but they are colorful and match the relaxing mood of the game. In addition to the initial starry background, you can also unlock a Japanese themed one and a underwater. Two “guest” backgrounds, one based on Turbo Pug and one based on Star Chronicles Delta Quadrant are also available. The 22 extra baskets that you can unlock range from purses and recycle bins all the way to colanders, tea cups and shopping baskets. Catch a Falling Star is made with Unity, so you get the standard launcher window when starting the game, where you can set the resolution and choose the visual quality. In-game, your only options are adjusting the music and sound effects volume. Speaking of audio, the tunes in the game are all quite mellow and the sound effects crystal clear. Controls consist of WASD to move your basket left and right as well as “Enter” to activate whatever power-up you have purchased. The game can also be played using a controller, but the keyboard controls are perfectly adequate.
Overall, Catch a Falling Star is a decent enough game, but it is not something that is addictive enough to play for long stretches. Instead, we found ourselves playing one or two games before it got a little repetitive. The achievements and unlocks provide some motivation for returning, but it is a pity that nothing has been done to clear the cheaters from the leader boards. The price for Catch a Falling Star is dirt cheap, though, so if you are in the mood for a relaxing title that will keep you busy for a few minutes here and there, then you really can’t go wrong with it.
- OS: Windows XP SP2/Vista/7/8/8.1/10
- Processor: 1.5Ghz or better
- Memory: 1 GB RAM
- Graphics: 128mb Video Memory, capable of Shader Model 2
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Storage: 550 MB available space