There are a lot of top down, arena fighting games that can have you facing off against another player, controlling your own spaceships. Many of them have a pixel style, upgrades, and differences between the different machines. However, Astro Duel 2 feels fluid, refreshing, quick and new — bringing together up to four players, all trying to survive.
I got the chance to play a few rounds of Astro Duel 2 at The Mix Spring Showcase, where I found myself dying more than a handful of times against some random players who were playing against me. Each player is able to pick a ship from a selection that have different health stats and weapons, before launching themselves into a single-screen arena.
When you are battling, you will want to actually stay as your ship, as that is where you have more health and a better attack. If you are hit, however, you can become a player character, who is one hit away from death. You can then jump back into your ship if you wait for your cooldown to expire, but I found that mostly players just targetted you when you were weak to eliminate you.
You can also become a person form in the game if you go in areas of the screen that are not in space. Going into buildings will cause you to become a human, making you an easy target, but allowing you to shortcut areas of the map. There are also other weapons dotted around which can make it more tempting to go into the buildings, but it’s a risk you have to decide if you want to take.
The fluid movement between being in your ship and being in a person form makes the game feel quite quick and snappy as you move around. Since becoming human is such a risk, there are a lot of quick actions and subtle moves that need to be made, which do not feel clunky. Astro Duel 2 feels like a game of skill, and one where you need to know your ship well so that you can work with what you have.
I only got the chance to play a few rounds of Astro Duel 2, but I found the game works well as a fast, local multiplayer that can be both competitive and fun to play.
You can currently Wishlist Astro Duel 2 on Steam.