I enjoy all references I find to Norse mythology, and when I got the chance to wield the Project Thor defence system I jumped right on it. Project Thor is a circular defence system with a shield, and a hammer shaped bouncer/cannon weapon. Repelling asteroids, and blasting enemies using the Mjölnir is as close as I get to my Norse heritage.
Mankind has waged wars against machines, and itself enough to destroy the Earth. 8000 people has moved into the Project Thor planet/defence system hiding inside an asteroid field. The goal of the game is to get mankind up to sustainable levels, and that has been calculated at 111 million people. As time ticks forward a counter in the top right shows the growth of mankind. It decreased every time an asteroid or enemy hit the planet. If it reaches zero the game is definitely over. There is a surprisingly large amount of story to Project Thor, and it gives the game a sense of urgency.
Controlling the defence system is done by using a dual layered circular controller in the lower right corner. The inner circle controls the Mjölnir that is quite agile. The outer circle controls the shield, and it is much slower. Once the station has been upgraded a fire button shows up in the lower left letting you fire using the Mjölnir. The controls work quite well, but at times I think that the controls for the Mjölnir movements is kind of slow and imprecise because of being quite small.
Upgrading the Project Thor is not intuitive at all. I don’t really get what the different parts actually do, and thankfully you can turn on auto-buy helping you fulfil mission objectives. The more stuff that you upgrade the more cluttered the screen becomes with uninformative graphical representations of the upgrades. The game felt crowded, and hard to see all the incoming asteroids before but when adding a forth of the screen with stuff it becomes hard on the eyes. There are also some strange menu choices that feel counterintuitive. Command and Control gives you upgrade menu and mission menu. Pause is found in the upper left corner, and it gets you back into the action. It feels really strange that you can browse around menus when mankind is in peril.
The graphics in Project Thor is quite good with some nifty explosions and nice space backgrounds. The menus are quite boring, the upgrade system is strange and the clutter of the interface hurts the game play. I found the girl giving you missions really strange. In the middle of an asteroid field with a mankind in pieces, and she has got flowers in her hair. Strange, and somewhat disturbing. Should I really help mankind? Perhaps the gene pool has become too shallow.
The music is ambient space techno that suits the game quite well. The sound effects are underwhelming. When I blast an asteroid as large as a planet I want a big boom, and not just a small thud. Weapon sounds are also weak, and could use some extra power.
Project Thor progresses quite slowly, and the progression feels quite strange as you can go in and out of menus without actually having cleared the area. Furthermore it takes quite a lot of time to afford the upgrades. The gameplay is quite frantic at times, but it also tends to become impossible. I can get rid of two large asteroids at the same time, but three is hard. The first two I can use the Mjölnir for one and the shield for the second. The third crashed into the planet instead. At times this annoys me quite a lot.
Project Thor takes quite a lot of time to conquer, and the question is whether it is fun enough to spend that amount of time with. I feel a bit apprehensive about it as the interface annoys me. If you get into it Openfeint integration gives you achievements and online scoring. To me the gameplay got old too quickly, and my patience waned as my people slowly multiplied. With some changes to the pacing, and making upgrading Project Thor interesting the game might become something worth investing more time in.
Project Thor $0.99
Seller: Iouri Korotkikh