Caster is an impressive 3d third-person action shooter by Mike D. Smith. Before the release, Smith revealed to indie game blog Independently Speaking that the game was about “feeling powerful.” To this end, I think he succeeded admirably – as a Caster you have the ability to dash up walls, perform superhuman jumps that send you flying into the air, and acquire power-ups that let you attack enemies and deform the terrain around you. The technology behind the game was 5 years (i.e. one Cave Story) in the making, and it shows: though the models are relatively simple to look at, the terrain deformation and various effects (reflections, weather, etc.) are lovely.
However, the whole experience is extremely short by most measuring sticks, with the full game taking me under 2 hours to beat, half of which was spent in the demo. This is exacerbated by relatively dull enemies and a molecule-thin narrative that feels like an after-after-thought – Bad Dudes (NES) had more of a plot than Caster. And I question the author’s design choice to make death so inconsequential (the only punishment is that you lose your collected energy for the level) – even though it fits with the theme of “feeling powerful,” it makes an already pretty easy game a breeze and removes a lot of the incentive to be skillful.
That said, $10 is a low price of admission, and according to the website, it includes any sequels that may follow (no word on what or when). And there is a lot to like here: Caster is well-polished and it genuinely feels good to run around the game’s large 3d landscapes and blast them. I just hope that subsequent chapters of the game have a little more meat.
TIGdb: Entry for Caster