Space Ark

When a game compares itself to classic games of a bygone era it most likely means it’s trying to be something it really isn’t. In the pre-release blurbs I saw for Space Ark there were comparisons to Rainbow Islands and Arkanoid, to name a few, so the bar was raised.  Fitting in to the cute puzzle game genre I was instantly drawn to Space Ark when I first heard about it. It ticked all my game playing boxes but it still had an awful lot to live up to before I’d even played the game.  I’m really pleased to tell you then that Space Ark somehow manages to better the games cited as references and add a wee bit more too! The cute puzzler has a new rival for the top spot.

Basically the game involves travelling through space with your Arkonauts, which are space travelling animals, and terraforming planets that have been destroyed by a rogue black hole.  In all fairness that is nothing like the actual game, but it is the back-story of how you came to be bouncing cute wee animals around the game screen.  The mechanics of the game are indeed part Arkanoid (old bat and ball, break the wall game) with the visual style of Rainbow Islands.  You control a landing pad at the bottom of the screen from which you bounce your chosen animal to reach the DNA blocks scattered across the screen. You can also control the direction of your animal but sometimes I found this a little unresponsive but not game ruining.

As you collect the blocks you fill up a combo meter for successfully collecting chains of three or more blocks of the same colour. Make the combo target and you will terraform the area, fail and you will get a score but no terraforming so you have to go back and replay the level if you want to complete it 100%.  For the first few levels this wasn’t a problem at all but quite soon in to the game the difficulty reaching the combos takes a huge spike and I found it really difficult to clear the levels (maybe I should try it on easy!)  You can also pick up fruit that is left or appears on screen to help ramp up your score, there are also switches and bouncy clouds to help you along.  Sometimes power ups are dropped when you hit a specific block, these can include guns to shoot the blocks or a shield on the ground so you never drop anything. They can prove quite handy for the high scores.

The game is bright and very colourful with five themed planets to play across, including a jungle planet, ice planet and a savannah planet. They all have cute animals associated with them like penguins, wolves, pigs, tigers etc.  Each planet is split in to five levels so there is loads to play through and once you have fully cleared a planet you can then use it in the other game modes on offer.  You can play the main game which is Mission mode where you clear each planet, Time Attack has you trying to collect all the blocks in as quick a time as possible and Survival has you collecting fruit before your time runs out.  There is also a local based multiplayer mode for two players which I haven’t had a chance to try out yet but if it’s anything like the main game it will be heaps of fun.  A favourite feature of mine is the fact that instead of using the supplied animals in game, you can use your Avatar and since my Avatar is Boba Fett it looks quite surreal to see the galaxy’s most feared bounty hunter bouncing around.







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