Game Design, Game Reviews

Game Review: Space Spacy – A tutorial on how to abuse your phone’s gyroscope

space spacy iconEver since I first installed Space Spacy I’ve been tortured by a dilemma: how do you pronounce Spacy? Is it Space – ee, Spa – psy or even Spa – ky? This mental torture, similar to why Sean Bean’s first and last names don’t rhyme, kept me up all night.

Available on Google PlayAvailable on iTunesStill, whatever the astronaut’s name, he will most certainly keep you entertained, because the game features innovative gameplay, cool music and dynamism which will make it very hard for you to leave your phone alone.

Space Spacy is a mobile game built by Warchild14 for iOS, Android and soon for Windows, and can be acquired through regular means, as well as the Amazon shop and the website.

Space Invaders upside down

In case you were wondering who Warchild14 might be, he’s a “dude inside a cave making games, naked.” I just hope the 14 in the name is not his age because that would be extremely awkward and highly inappropriate.

But let’s talk about the game more. I see Space Spacy as an inverted take on the classic Space Invaders game. Instead of being below and repelling wave after wave of pixelated aliens, the player is now on the top of the screen, trying to come down as a monster shoots at him from the bottom.

However, the player can’t shoot back – he can only dodge the monster’s missiles as he collects stars which he needs in order to descend.

And dodging is done by tilting your device one way or another, as the game uses the phone’s gyroscope for movement. This makes the game hilarious and somewhat harder than you might imagine. It’s also worth mentioning that the enemy’s AI is pretty decent. He won’t just run around shooting missiles at you, he’ll actually follow you around, so don’t think you can sit in the corner and wait for your star, while the enemy shoots around like he’s at a Serbian wedding.

Dodging bullets Neo style

screenshot1

When was the last time you saw an astronaut riding a magical carpet in a bubble?

Stars are also falling down, so not only do you have to dodge bullets, you need to also time your run perfectly to get the star without getting hit. Collect five stars, and you’ll move a step further to your goal. A level is complete when you reach the monster, which then turns into a large star which you can consume for extra points. And here’s where it gets really interesting: the second monster shoots in zig-zags.

And if you survive his attacks, you’ll be welcomed by a boss fight. So not only is the gameplay loads of fun, it also keeps your attention for extended periods of time just because it keeps introducing new elements to the game. And to top things off, there are a couple of power-ups which you can collect in-game, like armour or time warp to slow things down.

The game also monetises quite nicely. There are certain cosmetic changes you can purchase with an in-game currency, like your character’s appearance, and that currency can be acquired by watching video ads. I also believe there are things which are not purely cosmetic, but also improve your experience, but they were too expensive for me to purchase and had no description to explain what their purpose was.

The game’s graphics are 8-bit, and are backed by some great music of the same quality, which overall give the impression of an extremely well thought-out and executed game.

I also have to mention the humour in this game. It is something we (unfortunately) rarely see today, as most developers are way too serious about their product to embed some harmless fun. Space Spacy strikes the right chord with this one, not only through gameplay elements (you’ll see your astronaut riding a magical flying carpet, or a nail? (or is that a broom, I’m not entirely sure)), but also through messages you get when you die.

Looking for a flaw

At some point, the game will compare you to a “shy lady who is trying her best to meet with friends” or a “dreamer who wants to follow his father’s steps.”

Looking at the game as a whole, I can say it is a complete and good product. It has an innovative gameplay, employs the device’s hardware in an unusual manner and executes it perfectly. It has 8-bit graphics which are a joy to watch and follows up with some great solo-guitar music. It keeps you occupied by constantly adding new things and keeps you entertained with a great sense of humour.

It monetises nicely through an in-game currency and an extremely non-invasive video ad approach. Overall, I’d easily give this game a 4.5/5. The only thing that’s missing is a more detailed description of the things you can buy with your virtual money.

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One Comment

  1. […] the gyroscope to your advantage – games such as Space Spacy are the perfect example of how to use your device’s features to create a great […]

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