Affordable Space Adventures (Wii U) Review

By Az Elias 21.04.2015 3

Review for Affordable Space Adventures on Wii U

There is no beating around the bush - Nintendo's Wii U GamePad has not been the revolution the company was hoping it would be. Varying factors have contributed to that, but it has been a risk for developers to base entire ideas around the use of the controller when there is no guarantee the time and cost will translate into satisfying sales figures and profits. KnapNok and Nifflas' Games have aimed to combat the lack of efficient GamePad use with a game that can only be replicated on the Wii U. Cubed3 was able to sample an earlier version of Affordable Space Adventures at last year's EGX event, but does the finished product now deliver the potential?

Taking control of a lone spacecraft in an alien world, the wonky and damaged little flying buggy only has a number of tools and features at its disposal to begin with. Steering the unstable ship through the quiet, and dark lands and tunnels, Affordable Space Adventures progresses in a very slow and linear manner, as each component of the ship gradually charges itself up and becomes available for use with every level that is passed.

Screenshot for Affordable Space Adventures on Wii U

A light source is one of the first abilities unlocked, which is pointed around the uncharted 2D world to unravel the darkness and find the paths that need to be taken. Even in this early stage, there are allusions of Nifflas' Knytt Underground, in the sense of being thrown into unknown territory with little information to work with. It is clear, though, that what was supposed to be a happy little space trip to see the sights of an unexplored planet has turned into a nightmare scenario of being the only surviving spacecraft in a freak accident, now seeking a way to return home.

Expertly and cleverly crafted, the Wii U GamePad acts as the cockpit of the ship; its screen features all the relevant and necessary buttons to activate its abilities, including starting the engine itself, turning the scanner on or off, boosting the thrusters to travel faster or slower, stabilising the craft when moving, and even increasing the mass effect to sink through watery sections. Each function is progressively unlocked to ensure every one of them is given ample time to understand its use and how it can be combined with other features.

Screenshot for Affordable Space Adventures on Wii U

Puzzles consist of unlocking doors, hitting switches, bypassing hostile threats, and blocking laser beams that bar paths. A lot of thought processing, trial and error, and, probably most importantly, patience are all required in order to successfully pass the puzzles and enemies that exist. The hostile machines generate fields that detect the ship if its sound or temperature is too high, so the levels of all the ship functions need to be fiddled with by looking down at the GamePad and turning them up and down, and on or off. Turning down the thrusters and stabiliser is necessary a lot of the time, but makes steering through certain sections with laser beams difficult, so careful and precise movement is required.

It can even be the case that turning the engine off completely, letting the ship roll, and hoping for the best can be the most efficient way of tackling certain areas. There are times where it is difficult to know exactly what to do and when to do it with so many spacecraft options on offer, and later puzzling paths can really test the patience of even the calmest of minds. There is, however, the option for an easier mode that can be switched on for any playthrough, reducing enemy threats, and making sections just a tad simpler all around.

Screenshot for Affordable Space Adventures on Wii U

The option for two- and three-player co-operative play is a unique experience on top of the inventive use of the GamePad for a solo playthrough, with others taking control of specific functions of the ship. Since the GamePad user is steering and cannot see certain options that comrades are taking care of with the Wii U Pro Controller or Wii Remote, it forces strong communication between the team in order to get through the game. Working together in such a way is unlike many other titles out there and adds to the overall creativity that has been the drive behind this game. Again, though, it is still difficult to get everyone working in tandem with each other to deliver the efficient results needed for the ship to move on by.

The pacing is off when it comes to enjoying Affordable Space Adventures, unfortunately. It does start slowly, picking up with solid puzzles in the middle, only to finish up the latter couple of hours with some very frustrating and repetitive moments that require the aforementioned trial and error and pot luck to get by. Some moments stand out as clever once executed and there is quite possibly one of the best implementations of Miiverse yet at one point in the adventure, but a lack of actual character to define the world itself, puzzles that don't always feel enjoyable to work through, and the fact that looking up and down between the GamePad and TV screen can become a strain on the neck muscles, sadly mean this title becomes a chore to get through.

Screenshot for Affordable Space Adventures on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

There can be no denying the creative effort that has gone into turning the Wii U GamePad into a clever mechanic that cannot really be pulled off elsewhere on game consoles right now. It's just incredibly unfortunate that there are a number of factors that limit the amount of enjoyment to be had. Affordable Space Adventures fails to deliver a world that demands to be explored; it is far too generic and lacking in fun puzzles, instead only producing too many a tedious moment. Patience is a virtue with this one.

Developer

Nifflas' Games

Publisher

KnapNok

Genre

Action

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Whereas Knytt Underground drove me round the bend in a good way, making me more determined to go back and finish it all, this just made me want to throw the GamePad across the room. Sometimes the amount of time spent looking down meant I died inadvertently. Not good...

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
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Our member of the week

Been watching a let's play where two people where controlling things, one on the gamepad, the other on the wiimote and nunchuk. They were having lots of fun, or at least managed to make the game feel ore fun than it would be otherwise by communicating with each other... but I concluded watching them play that this must not be a fun game to play on your own, but interesting concept nonetheless that truly can't exist anywhere else than on the Wii U.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

Definitely was the case that you could die whilst looking down at the GamePad, particularly when you had the stabiliser turned down, making the ship move into deadly threats without touching anything as you fiddled with settings on the pad.

I respect the creative effort that's gone into using the GamePad in a unique way, but looking up and down between TV and pad every few seconds was absolutely knackering. You could potentially recreate the experience on the 3DS, and it would lessen the issues, but it wouldn't quite be as engaging.

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