Curved Space wasn’t really a game that was on my radar, but after seeing some gameplay footage I HAD to try it out. Frantic sci-fi arcade-style shooting with Mario Galaxy-style anti-gravity level traversal? Yeah, count me in. With snazzy neon visuals and plenty of vicious space spiders to kill, it offers an entertaining experience too, with score-chasing and challenges on offer to keep players coming back for more.
Check out a gallery of screenshots for the game down below:
The gameplay of Curved Space is pretty straightforward, with players flying a powerful little spaceship across an array of levels whilst blasting away at the arachnid-style creatures that look to cause you harm. There is a story to go along with the campaign that offers multiple endings based upon your actions, but it doesn’t offer too much and ultimately plays second fiddle to all of the shooting mayhem.
The big hook of Curved Space comes with its level design, with players defying gravity as they whizz around an assortment of environments full of… well… curves. If it has got a curve, you can fly across it and find yourself on the other side of all sorts of different arenas, with each level made up of topsy-turvy shapes that make for surprisingly effective battlefields. As mentioned, it’s kinda like the mini-planets you traverse across in the Mario Galaxy games, though a more fitting (and modern) point of reference would be the Glitch mini-game found in the recently released Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart.
“If it has got a curve, you can fly across it and find yourself on the other side of all sorts of different arenas, with each level made up of topsy-turvy shapes that make for surprisingly effective battlefields.”
Either way, it compliments the action and adds a twist to the arcade-shooting formula that rewards those who don’t stay in one spot for too long. Sure, it could work against the game when trying to pursue some of the last remaining enemies whilst there were also times where it was too easy to evade enemies by simply flipping to the other side of the arena, but it’s otherwise a cool idea and feels fun to take advantage of. As players navigate levels, they’ll also find new weapons and power-ups that’ll allow them to pack more punch when facing off against foes. These vary between the likes of standard blasters, energy beams, and powerful rockets, with a versatile arsenal on offer to take out enemies.
Want to know what will also help you demolish foes? Your Overdrive ability, which gives players a temporary but powerful boost that sees weapons dish out a LOT more hurt. Ensuring your Overdrive is charged and timing its use can be essential to progress, especially on the harder difficulties where Overdrive will REALLY be your friend when facing the tougher foes. Players are also equipped with an energy leash that can attach to specific points in the environment and lock nearby enemies in place, which can be pretty handy when overrun by foes.
With its topsy-turvy level design and manic action, there really is a lot to like about Curved Space. It looks the part too, with its snazzy neon-lit locales and funky enemy designs packed to the brim with colour and spectacle that feel befitting of all of the sci-fi action. The game also runs at a sharp 4K and a frame rate that goes up to 120fps on the PlayStation 5, so the power of the hardware certainly compliments the action taking place.
“It looks the part too, with its snazzy neon-lit locales and funky enemy designs packed to the brim with colour and spectacle that feel befitting of all of the sci-fi action.”
Despite this, I couldn’t help but to feel that Curved Space was lacking that special *something* to keep me coming back for more. Similar arcade shooting titles have always incentivised me to keep playing with some unique twists to the gameplay or special game modes that kept me hooked in, but I couldn’t help but to find that Curved Space could just get a little repetitive the longer I played.
There are other game modes on offer such as Survival which sees you taking on waves of enemies, Endless that offers endless battling (duh), Arena that gives players different challenges, and the Daily Run that gives player’s one chance to tackle a unique daily challenge, but none really called me back for more. It probably doesn’t help that I’m not much of a score-chaser mind, so those who do like seeing their name atop of leaderboards may find themselves playing for a fair bit longer than me.
Still, there’s no denying that I had a lot of fun with Curved Space, whilst I’ve tackled the enjoyable campaign a couple of times to see everything that has to offer. The soundtrack is class too, with the catchy synth-wave beats fitting the action perfectly. It certainly deserves praise as far as embracing the sci-fi vibe is concerned, with both the visuals and sound proving snazzy throughout.
Curved Space is a slick sci-fi shooter that is a lot of fun to play, but that lacks that special *something* to keep players coming back for the long-term. It’s not that anything is bad in the game at all, because I really had a good time blasting through the campaign. I just wasn’t all that interested in spending too much time chasing scores afterwards.
Still, there’s no doubting that it’s a really enjoyable game, whilst the vibrant presentation and clever anti-gravity traversal gives it a unique identity. It will just probably appeal the most to those who like to spend hours chasing high scores and seeing their names light up the leaderboards.
Developer: Only By Midnight
Publisher: Maximum Games
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC