Sitting halfway between Overcooked and FTL: Faster Than Light, Catastronauts mixes the best elements of both into a frantic multiplayer and singleplayer experience.
The demo build at EGX had players taking part in a number of scenarios that escalated in difficulty. Each member of the team had to repair and maintain their ship while also charging and firing weapons at an enemy ship. The mix of reactive and proactive gameplay works excellently with four players as it forces communication between those who are playing.
Numerous elements and systems were added and taken away across each round, which meant each level felt fresh due to new challenges and dynamics presented. This was only a vertical slice of what the game has to offer though, so I imagine Catastronauts will introduce its various systems in a much more subtle manner in the full release.
It was both comical and stressful to watch all four players (myself included) running around trying to extinguish fires and repair the ship. This was added to in the later levels with the addition of large bombs that needed to be thrown off ship.
While it was incredibly hectic, there was a weird serenity to be found when everything was going correctly. With the right team, Catastronauts can feel like you’re part of a well oiled machine, but as soon as it goes wrong, it feels like you’re part of a slow moving car crash. The mix between these two dynamics made this quirky title stand out to me.
After two years of development the game will release on the 28th of September on Xbox One and PS4, with a Switch version to follow later in the year.