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Saving Neil Armstrong a Few Dollars: Affordable Space Adventures Review

Space Exploration is usually so expensive. But not anymore!

Often times when playing my Wii U I find myself not even using the gamepad. The only really useful function that I have found so far is the ability to play certain games on the gamepad while the TV isn’t on.

But if you have ever felt that you wanted more out of your gamepad, look no further!

 

Affordable Space Adventures is a third party stealth puzzle game available exclusively on the Wii U eShop for the very affordable price of $19.99. It was developed by KnapNok and Nifflas’ Games and launched on April 9th, 2015.

The player is thrust into space by Uexplore, a company that promises a safe and affordable exploration. Uexplore boasts a safe and successful trip to “Spectaculon”, the planet of exploration, which was obviously all big lie as the opening scene starts amongst a wreck.

As you begin to explore the planet, your spaceship slowly repairs itself, giving the astronaut more functions to control with the gamepad. The game features a Heads Down Display rather than the traditional Heads Up Display. The gamepad gives the player complete control of their space destiny.

Before I jump into my experience with the game I just want to point out that this game is beautiful. The artwork looks as though a master artist painted your screen with watercolors. The two-dimensional world uses lighting to not only help guide the player, but also to show off the backgrounds. There are moving parts in the backgrounds of levels and if you don’t think that’s impressive then I have some news for you. It is.

 

 

Despite the gorgeous visuals, I think that Affordable Space Adventures was made to be a co-op experience. Playing with two or three people splits up the responsibility to the Pilot, Engineer and the Science Officer. Playing alone sometimes felt overwhelming with the amount of controls there are. Plus yelling “I NEED MORE POWER” at the engineer is a lot of fun. You will without a doubt get a laugh if you cut the engines on your pilot friend as you watch the spacecraft plummet to the ground.

ASA does an excellent job of immersing the player or players in the Uexplore experience. Loading screens are filled with images of manuals and supplies that really make you feel like an astronaut. Each communication pod offers hope of getting off the planet but each time it doesn’t work you feel even more stranded.

The music and sounds of Spectaculon help increase the immersion of the game. Eerie music plays as you slowly drive in the darkness while cheery music plays as you close in on the end of the level.

The gameplay is somewhat one-dimensional and can get a tad repetitive. You drive the spaceship through a level completing small puzzles and avoiding enemies. The amount of control over the spaceship helps make up for this though.

Perhaps the biggest problem with ASA is the difficulty. The game does offer two modes for if you would rather cruise through the planet but I wanted to challenge myself. Little did I know that I would be pulling my hair out and yelling at the TV. Ye,s the game is meant to be challenging, but when you spend 50 minutes on one level compared to the three or four minutes you spend on the other, its understandable to get a little angry. A few levels are so difficult that they remove the fun out of the game.

Do not let the challenging nature deter you from ASA. With every challenge comes the sense of accomplishment once you finish it.

Except for level 30. The only thing that comes after that level is regret and cramped fingers.

As with most indie games, ASA was able to focus on the small things. For example, once you leave an area of rain or emerge from being underwater, your little windshield wipers turn on. The music intensifies if you cut it close with an enemy. Your little flare dies out shortly after being shot rather than just disappearing.

Affordable Space Adventures is a truly unique Wii U experience making the most of the gamepad. Its beautiful level design and attention to detail makes the game easy on the eyes. And while the intense gameplay and difficulty makes it hard on the fingers, this is a must-have title for any Wii U owner looking to get some creative use out of their gamepad.

Written by Michael Lanoie

Michael is a handheld gamer kid who evolved into a console player, the best of both worlds. He attends Chapman University and hopes to achieve his Masters in Creative Writing.

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