Platformer. Standard left/right movement and jump, but there’s no default controller mapping, so you’ll have to assign all the keys at the beginning. Not only is that kinda awkward since you won’t know which menus will be more important than others, but up and down are labeled opposite, and the item-menu button never worked at all (I had to use the mouse each time). You can also shoot a projectile which falls to the ground after travelling a few units, but doing so completely stops your input for a second each shot (no moving, no shooting again, no jumping, etc.), resulting in clunky controls. Worse, the game isn’t even designed around them since enemies temporarily get faster when they take damage, some of which can fly (through solid tiles) and turn around on a dime.
Besides the platforming, the gameplay revolves around collecting maps and traveling through space to get to the new planets (which consist of maybe 2-3 screens worth of platforming before they loop). Although there is a fast-travel mechanic, it only works for planets you’ve been to, and it consumes more fuel than going there manually. To get more fuel, you have to park your ship by an asteroid you come across while traveling manually, then tap the jump button for several seconds to “mine” it until it breaks into smaller asteroids that you can collect, then you have to travel to a location with a forge so you can melt the asteroids. Also, the pre-set animation for dropping an item (that plays when you want to melt an asteroid piece) can miss the forge, meaning you have to re-collect them and try again.
When you get a new map, pushing the map button shows you where the new location is. The game starts on your home planet where an NPC gives you a map, which leads to a store where you can buy another map, which leads to a forest planet that has another map laying around, but this last map leads to another forest planet that doesn’t contain any map. The game gives no indication that there isn’t a map here, and opening your current map still has the cursor around this other planet, implying this is where I needed to be…except, I looked up a walkthrough, and it turns out this really was a dead end; I had to go back to the shop and buy another map. Once you figure out that little detail, the rest of the game won’t be too confusing since each time you reach a dead end, you’ll know you can just go back to a shop and buy another map.
More misc. problems:
- One of the desert planets has a spot where you can jump over a high wall, but not jump back over it from the other side. The only way out is destructible tiles placed above you, even though you can’t shoot up without the ice armor (which you won’t have at this point in the game). This is also where I found out the game saves your exact location when you turn the game off, so you can’t even restart that way; you have to kill yourself.
- The ice planet has slippery ice physics, but they’re worse than other slippery ice physics since you can’t jump while slipping (which happens very frequently due to the ice physics).
- There’s also a couple planets that have acid rain, meaning you need to have armor equipped to avoid constant damage…except switching your costume in space doesn’t count; it has to be done in a platformer section or it’ll just go back to whatever you had on when you last boarded your ship. You also won’t be able to tell which planets have acid rain just by looking at them; the only way to know is to enter and put yourself in harm’s way.
- Your hitbox is also unintuitive regarding platforms since you’ll fall before your character’s sprite is all the way off the platform. This is made more frustrating since you can slide even when there’s no ice physics.
- There’s also parts where you have to push a block onto a crater so you can ride the block up when lava shoots out, but if you’re standing too close to the edge, you’ll get knocked off when the lava shoots out.
- Speaking of the lava planets, some craters are actually holes that let you jump to the other side of the planet, but other craters will have an enemy suddenly come up and shoot projectiles at you when you get close, which would be a cheap hit even without clunky controls.
- Each biome has a boss, but while they each have their issues, the lava boss is the worst since you can only hit it once before it goes invulnerable for a while, forcing you to wait before you can attack it again.
- There are also mandatory bosses in three of the shops, which is something you might not realize at first. See, the first one is in a split path where the switch you can press doesn’t get the boxes out of your way, but instead toggles some boxes above the hall, where unreachable NPCs are, and you have to wait for those NPCs to hit the switches in their rooms before you can progress and fight the boss.
- The third shop boss can teleport, and it starts rapid-firing shots as soon as it spawns, then it disappears as soon as it stops shooting. Also, it only ever spawns on one of the three platforms above you (which you can’t reach just by shooting up), so I’m not sure if it’s possible to avoid damage in this battle.
- The “final” boss is worse since it’s flying around the top of the room, above the top of the screen, with few locations you can get up there. Also, not only does it have the same rapid-fire shots as the previous boss, but it also drops bombs straight down frequently and at random locations, so it’s not like there’s a pattern you can learn. Between the few spots you can go up and all the projectiles the boss itself shoots, you can get maybe one shot off before you need to run back to safety, and you might still get hit doing that much. Plus, attacking the boss enough just has it reveal its weak point for a few seconds (which you won’t be able to kill before it goes away and back to its previous pattern).
Lastly, when you beat what the achievements call the “final boss,” there’s no fanfare or closure or anything; platforms appear that let you get out of the room and back to the rest of the game. The game also gives no indication what else you can do at this point, let alone what you’re supposed to do to progress. What now? Turns out, you’re supposed to destroy all the black spheres scattered throughout the game, some of which you won’t be able to reach when you first encounter them. The game also never gives any indication which planets still have a black sphere, meaning you’ll just have to remember which ones you didn’t destroy.
After you break all the black spheres and return to the final boss’s arena, you’ll come across a portal that leads to a dark-world version of the game, but this is where things get really aimless. The dark world planets have slightly different level design, but the only thing you’ll accomplish by exploring them is finding a yellow chest key and a yellow chest, but those chests only give you more money and consumable items. The three shops that had bosses also have dark-world counterparts that spam enemies and projectiles, but again, there’s no fanfare for beating them. I looked at the achievements again, and the only one that stood out was “do everything”…does that mean the game wants me to get all the other achievements before I can see an ending? Even grindy achievements like “Destroy 100 explosive barrels” and “Open all chests”? Nah, that’s not my idea of fun; I’ll just stop here since I technically beat the final boss (and the three postgame bosses) already.
Not recommended. Even without the clunky controls, it’s just too aimless.