REVIEW | Dark "Space Adventures" Will Leave You Breathless
Space travel for the average joe is within our generation's grasp, with the likes of Richard Branson and NASA working hard to implement such a wondrous way to fly for everyone to enjoy. Perhaps a tale of caution when it comes to such a dangerous journey is in order, and it's been delivered via KnapNok Games and Nifflas' Games's latest creation Affordable Space Adventures. Buckle your seat belts, because this is gonna be one bumpy ride!
Affordable Space Adventures focuses on one traveller's experience using Uexplore, a spacecraft company who proudly helps to bring their customers to the outermost regions of the galaxy. Touted as the most safe way to travel Uexplore proudly reminds their customers that there has been nary an accident within their company since 1993. Of course, as luck would have it, you just happen to be part of their first boo-boo on their near-clean record.
You find yourself in the aftermath of a big crash, where it seems that you're the only survivor left. The Smart Craft is damaged, with only minimal aspects of it operational as it goes through some much-needed self-repair. With no direction to turn it's up to you to find your way back home via one of Uexplore's Concern Communication units. However on this dark planet known as Spectaculon, nothing is as safe as it should be.
Up to three players can help to control your Smart Craft, with one of them using the GamePad to activate engines and use scanners via the touchscreen and the other two in charge of piloting via the Pro Controller and Wiimote. As you traverse through Spectaculon you'll come across hazards and security bots that will abruptly end your trip in a not-so-friendly way. By scanning these hazards you'll be able to discover which engine -- be it fuel or electric -- is best to use in the situation, and how much power you should have in both your control panels and utilities. It's also best to pay attention to your Indicator Field, as warnings of overheating could cause your ship to break down, forcing you to wait for the Smart Craft to cool down before using again.
The deeper Affordable Space Adventures goes, the more controls will be unlocked. Landing gear can be used to get to certain points without the use of engines, whereas temperature gauges can adjust your ship to the heat/cold of your surroundings. As your ship gets more repaired, the bigger dangers lie ahead. These hazards will require some outside-the-box thinking that will result in multiple casualties and some new techniques that'll probably assist you on future challenges.
When playing solo you'll have control of everything via the GamePad. This will mean a lot switching your focus from the TV to the touchscreen, as enemies that appear will have you quickly switching engines, powering down certain aspects of the control panel, and keeping an eye on how much sound, heat, and electricity your Smart Craft is giving off. There's a lot of multitasking to be done, and while it's nowhere near-impossible to handle it all it does require a certain juggler's technique to be able to take it in without fail.
This is why Affordable Space Adventures works far better when playing with a friend or two. Verbal communication between players is the biggest requirement to survival Spectaculon. If danger is nearby, you'll have to tell your friends to cease flying before getting too close so as to adjust your settings. It alleviates some of the stress of playing solo, but at the same time the task of telling your co-pilots what to do can also bring some risks.
Traversing through Spectaculon is both a frightful and beautiful thing to behold. The 2D worlds are gorgeously detailed, with some areas so in-depth that it at times feels like you're looking through a window. Enemy bots at first look harmless, but once their death glare takes aim at your Small Craft their threatening intentions become ever-so clear. How space sounds as you play gives off a hollowed, deafening vibe, a reminder that you are the lone ship on this journey.
You can complete Affordable Space Adventures in roughly 6-7 hours, depending on your puzzle skills. Without spoiling anything the game ends in a means that will probably piss off some gamers. It's not entirely a middle finger directly at the player(s), as the game hints at what's to come, but it's sure to frustrate quite a few people.
- GamePad implemented with its fullest potential
- Beautiful, dark atmospheric worlds
- Puzzles great for exercising the brain
- Ending might tick some people off
Whether treading alone or with a couple friends in tow, Affordable Space Adventures is a nail-biting atmospheric puzzler that will forever be stitched into your memory. With its brilliant co-op play and fantastic usage of the Wii U GamePad, this is one intergalactic journey worthy of any gamer's travel plans.
FINAL GRADE: 9.3 (out of ten)
Review code provided by KnapNok Games
Originally posted on the ESH EGMNOW page