At certain points, it’s hard to tell approximately what is going on in Outpost Defender 1.0 ($1.00). This has more to do with the janky 3D movement, which stutters and lurches whenever you’re in motion, but it’s a good evaluation of the game overall. A flight simulator / wave shooter that’s merely serviceable, Outpost Defender offers simplistic objectives and only a vague sense of progression. You see, you’re kinda always winning at the game, until you choose not to.
The entirety of the action takes place over two connected islands, both featuring tall skyscrapers and roads with no traffic. There are three modes to choose from; a training option that introduces the flight controls and weaponry, a ‘joyride’ setting with passive enemies, and the combat simulator, which is wave-based, and features only slightly-more aggressive foes in the form of tanks and battleships.
Flight is rather straightforward, if jerky and unimpressive. The left stick controls your direction and propulsion, while the right stick handles the view (you can invert the camera controls if you so wish). For offense, you have access to two forms of missiles: one that shoots directly where your reticle is at the point of release, and a homing shot that can be guided after being fired. Combat is… or rather isn’t… well, I mean… combat isn’t really a challenge. Like, at all.
If you’re playing in the combat simulator, enemy missiles move extremely slow (with the snail-speed projectiles and the visual style, I thought I was playing a flight-enabled version of Superhot), but have a certain understated tenacity, following you around the stage as you go about your business. A beeping sound rises and falls to alert you to immediate threats, though there’s really no way to get hit by them unless you want to be hit. You’re more liable to crash into a building in the sparse cityscape— on purpose— than get struck by enemy fire.
With the natural tension of combat almost completely absent, all you’re left with is the very bland taste of a feckless wave shooter. Destroy a set number of spawning ships and tanks1, then advance to the next round with no fanfare and do it again. Hardly the stuff addictive gameplay is made of. Outpost Defender 1.0 feels like a project that was released ‘as is’, instead of going through any kind of revision or iteration. But hey, at least the explosions look nice2.