It’s extremely bizarre to see mobile-like titles arrive on other platforms—like the industry has come full circle. While runners did indeed exist before iOS and Android, they were mostly relegated to bonus level mechanics, or minigames of sorts. But with the rise of mobile and the ease of use due to the touch screen component, we’ve seen hundreds of them flood the market. The Collider 2, a PC game, sort of encapsulates that mentality, all to varying degrees of success.
With a grandiose storyline involving a mothership that intends on destroying your homeworld, you’d expect some form of narrative, but any semblance of one is eschewed immediately. This is a real-deal arcade experience, thrusting players into the same concept—auto-flying. While it is possible to control the speed and direction of each starfighter, the gist is the same in that you’re trying to get from point A to point B in a straight line. The primary method of control is the mouse, which works rather well with boosting and movement tied to very straight-forward motions, but controller support is built in, as is VR head-tilting. With the option to adjust the sensitivity to your liking, everything is pretty spot on.
Naturally, there are complications; there are tiny slots to fit through (much like some of the final scenes in the Star Wars films), lasers to dodge, and even enemies to shoot (albeit with an automatic fire) from time to time. Zipping through a hole just big enough to accommodate your ship is a blast, especially when regulating the boost meter, which can tear your ship to pieces if you keep it up for too long. It’s the most strategic element of the game in fact, trying to zoom your way to the best possible time without putting your ship in danger, and some of the later levels really make things tricky to clear them all—much less with all of the applicable medals in tow.
Unfortunately, after the first 10 missions or so, it starts to become more of a slog than I’d like. The themes rarely, if ever change, and while the intro of flying up to confront the enemy mothership is cool at first, we’re given no real connection to it beyond the series of tunnels that act as the set of missions for the player.
Beyond progressing through each stage (of which there are roughly 50) for the sake of it, there’s a number of upgrades, like score multipliers, shields, and more boosting opportunities. It’s all very menial though, even the more substantial investments like new ships or paint jobs. After that, you’re stuck playing survival mode, which unlocks fairly early on in the game.
And that’s it. Collider 2 really isn’t content with provided any surprises—it knows what it is, and for the most part, it does that job well. Just go in expecting an arcadey, fleeting flight game that doesn’t shoot for the moon.