Love them or hate them sci-fi B-movies have that special place in cinematic history where they’re remembered for how bad they are, poor acting, rubbish effects, dodgy sound and more. Yet they offer a form of entertainment that wears its heart on its sleeve, becoming cult classics that almost become better with age. The same can be said for videogames, offering a less rounded experience than others, but having that addictive quality just the same – one of those titles that becomes a guilty pleasure. SynaptixGames’ Day of Destruction starts out being all of these things, along the way however it begins to lose that sparkle.
Day of Destruction certainly feels like a sci-fi homage to some of the best known movies, pooling ideas from the likes of War of the Worlds and Independence Day. Yet SynaptixGames has taken a somewhat different approach to the alien invasion theme, so rather than you saving the day – and the world – you’re the invader, coming to wreak havoc on unsuspecting planets.
First impressions can be everything, with Day of Destruction starting with a big grandiose entrance involving a basic looking UFO and a very impressive musical score. In fact it’s the music that holds the entire piece together as you board the ship because there’s literally no information about what’s going on, you just have to roll with it.
Aboard the ship you’ll find the main hub where you can choose from six planets to attack, each with four cities to destroy. There’s also a section to unlock certain armaments once you’ve accrued enough credits, and a teleportation system in place to wander around the small area, which doesn’t seem entirely necessary due to how little time is spent there.
What this videogame is all about is destruction, laying waste to cities with ridiculous weapons, finishing each level with a maniacal laugh. To begin with this can be fun, firing laser bolts and dropping cluster bombs from the safety of your UFO. Gameplay involves levelling a selection of buildings, mainly skyscrapers, some with offensive weaponry while others are just dormant. Finishing a level involves wiping a particular selection of these buildings out once you’ve highlighted them with a search light.
You’ll get shot at with ground base defences and aircraft, then as the campaign progresses you’ll encounter slightly more difficult forces. The ship isn’t impervious, so take enough damage and you’ll eventually get shot down.
After a few levels Day of Destruction hits a make or break point. The videogame becomes very repetitious due to the issue of constantly destroying buildings. The UFO itself can’t be controlled – it moves around a city on a pre-designated track – so you spend 90 percent of the time looking down. The hook to keep you playing comes from the upgrades, being able to activate lock-on missiles for the planes, a tractor beam to fling things around, dropping ground forces that look like the massive bi-pedal enemies from War of the Worlds or finally being able to unlock the expensive city scale weapons.
Day of Destruction certainly doesn’t wow in the graphics department – there are far better looking virtual reality (VR) titles – but it doesn’t need to. It has that B-movie quality that just works, and the in game audio (especially the music) is top notch. That’s why it’s a shame there isn’t more to the gameplay. Sure you can go back with the better weapons to jump you up the global leader boards, other than that there’s little to hold your interest. Day of Destruction certainly isn’t one of those must have VR titles, it’s a blast for a while until every city starts to look the same.