Chris’s Top Ten Videogames of 2015: #8
Affordable Space Adventures
Developer: KnapNok Games
Publisher: KnapNok Games
Nintendo WiiU Exclusive
Considering the WiiU has some pretty unique features that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 don’t have, there are only a handful of games that fully utilise them. Of course I’m talking about the gamepad which was supposed to be the unique selling point of the WiiU. Sadly many developers, including Nintendo, seem to not fully utilise the gamepad meaning many people saw little value in owning a console not as powerful as the other competitors on the market.
However I’m pleased to say that Affordable Space Adventures is one game that is truly unique to the WiiU and wouldn’t work on any other console. You control a space ship negotiating various obstacles. Sounds simple right? It would be if you didn’t also have to control every aspect of the ship. The WiiU gamepad is essentially your heads down display with all the components of your craft at your fingertips.
Your ship comes equipped with all manner of parts which can be manually controlled. The game cleverly introduces these separate mechanics slowly so you get a chance to understand how they work.
All of the ships features appear as switches and little dials on the gamepad showing the levels of sound, heat and electricity you output. Managing these becomes critical to your success as certain puzzles require you to control how much power your ship uses. Enemies come in the form of alien artefacts and scanning them will show to what they are sensitive, the trick then becomes managing your systems accordingly so they don’t destroy you.
You can probably tell that the beauty in the game is finding the right balance between the systems you need to pass through a particular level. It really does make you feel like you’re in control of a space ship and there is even a 2 player mode where one player flies the ship and the other controls the mechanical aspects, so working together is crucial.
Even though you are controlling a space ship which has some quite sophisticated technology, it also feels like you are in charge of an old car which is chugging away. The engine turns over as you tap the ignition to turn it on and there is even a beeping car horn.
Graphically the game looks superb with some gorgeous visuals. The level of detail is stunning even down to your windscreen wipers coming on when you emerge from water or it starts to rain. The sound effects and music are also excellent with subtle changes in the score making you feel like you’re exploring an alien planet.
Affordable Space Adventures reminds me a lot of Portal as there is some really quirky humour, but it’s clear that something is not quite right as the promise of safe space travel is not all it seems. You feel extremely clever figuring out the puzzles however, be prepared to fill up a swear jar as it can also be frustratingly difficult, especially when you are juggling a number of the ships parts.
I would totally recommend Affordable Space Adventures. Not only is it a fantastic game, it is a game that WiiU owners can be proud to say utilises the gamepad as one of its most unique features.
Review by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With and The Same Coin)