Arcade-style games tend to appeal to specific groups of people while passing many others by. A lot of people would happily play this kind of game at an actual arcade, but it’s the rush of playing on a proper machine that’s a big part of what makes that fun, rather than the fundamental gameplay.
That hasn’t stopped the genre from seeing a resurgence at home, and many people will happily point to new games like Resogun or the refreshed experience of Tetris Effect as being amongst their favourite games of the last decade. A lot of these games resemble the ones people grew up with, but with slight twists to the formula of the games they were inspired by. Well, Curved Space has twists for days, and it’s gunning to be the next big arcade-style hit.
A freaky circle
Curved Space pits you against hordes of aliens, all of whom happen to be attacking you on warped, impossible geometry. That means you’ll be looping around Mobius strips, weird inverted doughnuts, and circles. No, not normal circles, but freaky circles.
Thankfully, you’re in control of a ship that’s more than capable of traversing these peculiar planes, and along with moving along them with great dexterity, most of your weapons will also be able to take advantage of the terrain.
In essence, Curved Space is a fairly standard twin-stick shooter. You go around the maps, shoot enemies, try not to get hit, and pick up obnoxious weapons you can use to wipe out everything that stands in your path. Some of these are your standard blaster weapons, but others are a little fancier, like a charged up laser that instantly bounces all over the place, or micro missiles which home in on anything that moves.
It’s not just those blatantly destructive weapons that are at your disposal. Alongside shooting things, you also gain access to an overdrive state and a leash.
Overdrive basically has you going Super Saiyan. It boosts your damage output greatly, and alters the way your weapons behave. If a weapon only has limited ammo, it briefly grants you unlimited use of it, and for many other weapons, it’ll make the bullets larger and more powerful, and also gives them a nice glow.
The leash is far more interesting. There are anchors littered throughout the levels that you can tie enemies to in order to drain them of energy and power up your overdrive. You can then tie other enemies to those enemies in order to create a chain that both drains them of more power and keeps them in place. It makes it far easier to take them out.
A bit lost
These skills can be combined to allow you to use them in different ways to suit different situations, and against the wealth of enemies you’ll be fighting during your time with Curved Space. They’re all fun to use, but the actual moment-to-moment gameplay of the game can feel a bit tedious at times. This is due to the novelty of the levels themselves. While the idea is lovely, and the visual effect of it is astounding, in reality, you lack wide enough viewpoint over many of the levels often results in you and the last enemy chasing each other around Benny Hill-style.