A webOS gem, this free game from Under Clouds Games plays a lot like the classic mobile game, Snake, but with the setting in space. You take control of a little rocket ship, out to make a fortune through mining asteroids while avoiding the attention of rival miner craft. The action is viewed from a top down perspective, with the screen scrolling in all directions, and you control the ship by touching the screen. Wherever you touch the screen is where your ship will head to, and the controls are pretty responsive, although, as you are moving all over the screen and your finger is covering your destination, it does take a little while to learn to keep as little of the screen covered as possible.
Once you get used to it, this soon becomes second nature.
The aim of the game is to collect asteroids by flying over them, which increases your score, but also has the negative effect of increasing your ships contrail, which must be avoided as your craft takes damage when it touches the trail.
This is the basic heart of the gameplay that the game shares with Snake, but Hyperspace goes far beyond that basic concept.
First of all, touching your trail does do massive damage, but it doesn’t kill you instantly, so you can get away with a couple of mistakes, and there are health collectables that you can pick up to restore your lost energy.
There are also enemies to worry about. After a while, ships will start to appear and give chase. Some are slow and have their own trails which must be avoided, and others are faster than you are but take a long time to slow down and turn.
The combination of enemies and the health bar makes for some cool moments.
For example, you may be being chased by three ships and have managed to steer yourself into a corner; do you continue to go in ever decreasing circles of do you decide to make a dash across the trails, hoping that your shields will hold?
The only disappointment with the enemies is that you can’t use your own trail against them. It would have been nice to lure them into trouble, increasing the tactical element.
It’s all the more puzzling when you consider that this precise tactic is what makes the online multiplayer what it is.
Yes, thats right, online multiplayer.You get the choice of four rooms, cleverly themed as star systems, and upon joining an empty room, you can zoom around while you wait for other players, which is a nice touch.
When players do join you, it’s a race to collect the points, a race that is spiced up by the fact that you can use your trail to trap and kill other players.
It’s frantic and fun, and some of the best online play on webOS, and is only spoilt a little by the amount of lag to be found.
If you are on WiFi you should be ok, but on a mobile connection, I wouldn’t recommend playing, as the lag is very bad, although this has been improving with every update the developer releases.The graphics are great, with hi res, shiny craft zooming around the screen, which warps and bends star fields around in the background as you move about, in an effect similar to Geometry Wars. Explosions fill the screen, and this allied with the excellent soundtrack mean this is a game that does the PDK development kit, and indeed Under Clouds Games, proud.
Online high scores are included for both the single player mode and the multiplayer game, although I wish there could be a separate, local high score table with multiple profile support. All in all a great little game, and with the developer releasing regular, meaningful updates, it’s only going to get better. With more enemies, and ways of killing them, this would have scored even higher.
The fact that this game is free is amazing, and also doesn’t include any ads. If Underclouds do start charging a couple of dollars for this in the future this would be money well spent, and the score will still stand.
Highly recommended. Addictive, with great graphics and a superb online mode.