Title: Get Off My Lawn!
Developer: Digital Leisure, Inc.
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 541 MB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: No
With the age of Free-to-Play games still in full force with the handheld and Mobile market, there are more of these types of games coming towards the PS Vita. These types of games have received mixed reactions from consoles and Mobile fans alike, due to the way they’re put out. Many “FtP” games, as they call them, use a model for money-making known as Micro-Transactions, putting little extras or ways to get easy access to money or credits by spending money on them, like you would buy DLC.
This has gotten a lot of negative feedback, as many games seem like they offer a simple style and charge ridiculous amounts of credits to buy even a small enhancement or upgrade, leading to several hours of repetitive grinding to get what you want to get to the next set of levels. So, instead of playing the game for free, many gamers end up spending more money on it on upgrades that are popping up when they play the game, than they would even on a full console game.
Still, many of these FtP games are coming to the Vita as well as other systems. One such game is one that we, along with our neighboring site, Vita Boys, were asked to write about. Donning the Micro-Transaction model in a more refreshing way than other games, here is our official review of Get Off My Lawn!
The plot of this game revolves around an old, retired man named Murray Mendelson. Trying to enjoy the peace and quiet of his home as he enters his 78th year of life, he is disturbed by uninvited guests to his home. Upon reaching the door to tell these people off, he finds that a small blue alien has come out of a UFO, offering a gift to him as a sign of good faith. Not taking strangers lightly, he points a musket at the little alien and blasts him away.
As a result of this, Murray has started a war with these aliens, not wanting to be disturbed by anyone. From this single action, the aliens are now set on overwhelming his home and abducting him for his aggression.
The story of the game isn’t anything fancy or deep. This is one of those games where there is a small scene at the beginning of the game to set the stage for what the game is going to be like. After that first scene, you don’t see much of a story for the rest of your time with the game. The setting definitely works, and is a little out-of-the-ordinary, but there isn’t much plot to be seen here.
Get Off My Lawn is an arcade-like game that is action-based, but takes from a couple different genres. To put it into a single genre, it is most like a Tower Defense game. The goal of the game is to survive waves of aliens to keep them away from you so they won’t abduct you. This plays a lot like defense games like Plants vs Zombies, but with a more action twist to them, relying on yourself to do the fighting rather than allies you’re setting in place.
The game plays out in levels and stages, though all of those are reset once you start a new game. The game is set out in a sort of grid with your yard, while you are standing on the porch, able to move to whichever row you please to be able to fire off your weapon at your invaders. The design of the grid and how the alien waves spawn is very reminiscent of Plants vs Zombies, though the camera angle is different, being overhead rather than at an isometric angle.
As aliens spawn and start to slowly move down the yard, your task is to fire and kill them before they reach your porch. If an alien reaches your porch, the porch will take damage. Once the porch’s defense is down to zero, it will crash and you’ll be abducted by the aliens and get a Game Over. To prevent them from reaching you, you have to fire your weapon at them to kill them. From the get-go, you have a Musket to use, but can unlock more weapons later on.
As you fight through waves of enemies, more powerful enemies will appear, which are harder to defeat. The normal drones can be taken out in one shot, and the dodging jetpack enemies take a couple hits to defeat. This goes all the way up to the huge behemoths that take several shots to take down (more if they have armor), and tanks that will explode upon defeat into a line of drones for you to take down. The further you get, the more powerful enemies will show up. You will also earn a score multiplier as you fight enemies. While this doesn’t affect currency you get, it adds onto scores for the Online Leaderboards.
Apart from weapons, you also have power-ups to help you fend off the alien invaders. These are in the form of a Sound Wave, Cane Time, and Rage. Sound Waves can be used to knock all enemies to the back row of the yard, giving you more time to take them out. Cane Time will allow the entire game’s time to slow down so you can be more comfortable setting up your assault. The final one, Rage, allows you to double your attack power for a short amount of time. These power-ups are scarce, so players should use them selectively. While you have infinite ammo in your weapons, you only have a few of each power-up.
The key to getting further into this endless game of enemy waves is orbs, which function as the game’s currency. When you defeat an enemy, you obtain orbs that you can keep after you get a Game Over. The amount of orbs you receive depends greatly on the strength of the enemy defeated. Drones only give off a single orb, while the bigger enemies can give off several orbs. Once you have enough orbs, you can go to the in-game shop to buy new weapons, weapon upgrades, defense upgrades, and power-ups.
The store is where things can get repetitive. You can go in here to purchase your weapons, upgrades, power-ups, and defense upgrades. These upgrades, however, can get very expensive. My first run through the game got me almost 10 levels in and I only came out with about 100 orbs. The cheapest weapon/upgrade in the game is 1,000 orbs. Upon further trying, I got to the point where I could make more than that in a single run, but it could take a while of playing just to get that first weapon for the 1,000 orbs.
That’s where the Micro-Transactions come in. There are two sections of the store/shed. The default area, called Get Items, is where the weapons and upgrades are that you can purchase. The other part of it is called Get Orbs. This allows you to purchase Orbs from the PlayStation Store, assuming you’re online when you play the game. These can come in a variety of prices, from as little as $0.99 for 25,000 Orbs to $19.99 for 1,000,000 orbs. There’s also a $1.99 upgrade that allows you to double your orb intake as you play the game.
However, there are two ways this game has implemented Micro-Transactions better than other games. The first is the fact that there is a 1-time-use 500 orb Micro-Transaction that is completely free. So, as you jump into the game for the first time, you can nab a quick 500 orbs without spending any money. The second way is that the game doesn’t constantly nag at you to buy orbs from the store. There aren’t any pop-ups or notifications telling you or asking you to buy anything. You only buy them if you manage to navigate yourself to that section of the game and wish to.
All in all, Get Off My Lawn is as long of a game as you wish to make it. A single session of the game with the default musket could be over in as little as 5 minutes. Or, if you upgrades your weapons, a single session could last 30 minutes or more, depending on how skilled you are at the game. The game is good for quick play sessions and there is no real end, other than trying to get a high score for the online leaderboards. It certainly provides a fun experience for a game you don’t have to pay for.
The controls for this game are pretty simplistic, but there are a few options available to you, with the touch screen as well as the buttons. The first thing you should know is that there are many touch-only controls for this game. The Menus can only be navigated with the touch screen. With this in mind, Get Off My Lawn is not compatible with the PlayStation TV.
When you’re in the middle of the game, you will be using three buttons on the Vita to navigate and play out each level and wave. You can use the D-Pad or Left Analog Stick to move between each row, and you may use the X button to fire your weapon. This is pretty much all you’ll do, as far as controls go. The Start button can be used to pause the game, but you’ll mostly only be using the Analog/D-Pad and the X button. As an alternative method, you may also use the touch screen for these controls. You can tap on a row to immediately go to it and tap again to fire your weapon.
The game has a very simple control setup. The game also does a nice job at explaining the button controls each time you start up a new session. While the touch controls aren’t explained, the button controls are shown to you in a very easy way.
The presentation of the game is probably the part that brings it down the most. The visuals of the game aren’t to blame for that, though. The visual presentation of the Vita version of the game looks right around the same level as the game is on Mobile and Steam. The game offers 3D visuals and the renders are done pretty crisp and clear. There’s an occasional jagged edge. Overall, though, it looks good.
The biggest complaint about the game comes from the load times. The Vita version has the longest load times of any version of this game. When you first boot up the game, or try to start a new session, expect to be waiting at least 20 seconds before you can do anything. The Menus can be navigated with ease, but the load times for each session are pretty long. This is a downer as the other versions of the game don’t have load times anywhere near as long as this.