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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Casual Space - Game of the Day

What is it?Casual Space is a game where you play the role of a fuzzy blue alien from the planet Capium. Aliens have invaded your planet, shattering the sun into tiny fragments which you’ll need to collect to save the day.

Who made it? – The game was created by developer Steel Panda, who also developed the “Peggle-like” companion game, Star Beacons.

How does it play? – In Casual Space, you’ll use your mouse to guide the space-suited blue hero. A powered charge can be used to shatter destructible parts of the environment or attack enemies. In each one of the dozens of levels, you’ll need to collect all of the star pieces and make your way to the exit portal before time expires. A few of the levels aren’t timed, but these are usually epic-scale boss battles that involve a bit more than star collection. Each collected star adds another second to the level timer. Gems can be collected for extra points, which can be used to purchase upgrades like increased charge or damage threshold.

Presentation – From the music and sound effects to the colorful eye-candy, the game drips pure quality. Enemies and obstacles are also designed well, and the particle effects make smashing through things very satisfying.

Positives – In addition to fantastic production values, there’s also a ton of game to be played. The level design is stellar from beginning to end, and there’s enough variety to keep players engaged. Don’t let the word “casual” in the game’s title fool you either. Some levels will truly test your reflexes, and patience.

NegativesCasual Space has a bit of an identity crisis, in that the title, cutesy characters, story illustrations, and first few levels might make the game seem a bit easier than it actually is. The game actually quite tough in places, but the difficulty can swing wildly from level to level. While these easier levels usually serve as a “break” after a particularly hard stage, the overall pace and challenge fluctuates unevenly.

Why you should play itCasual Space is an excellent and quite lengthy action adventure game that is more akin to something you’d pay to download from Xbox Live Arcade or Wii-Ware. The experience is fun, compelling, tricky and a “must play” for hardcore and casual gamers alike.

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