I’m sure we all remember twin stick shooters – depending on your age that is! They have become a rare genre type in the past few decades which is a shame as they can be a lot of fun. Curved Space is the first one I have played in a while and it’s not disappointing. It is fun and gives that feeling of just one more go. Here we have a twin stick shooter set in space on platforms that are, as the names suggests, curved allowing you to go over the map in any way possible. Of course, we need something to shoot. Great news if you hate spiders as you will be killing hundreds, or should I say thousands of them! Get revenge on your eight legged invaders. I had one concern with this from the start and I wondered if the enemies wouldn’t be varied with them being based on spiders. Turns out I worried for nothing as the enemy variation here is good.
We have spiders that will just run at you for a nibble, others will run at you only to explode near you if you shoot them. We then get the bigger ones that have armour on and you need to do more damage. There are a fair few more too, but I won’t reveal all as some of it should be a surprise! There are big ones too, maybe not so good for people who don’t like spiders. A game like this is only fun providing its shooting mechanics are solid and it plays well. This game is solid on both points. The weapons in Curved Space are very varied which allows it to stay fresh and the weapon drops through the game are regular, so you do get to change your weapon load up through a mission, depending on what weapon drops from the spiders. My favourites so far are the flamethrower and pulse rifle type blaster. Turning all the spiders to smoky crisp as they surround you is also a pretty sight in this as the flamethrower covers quite a large area so helpful in a pinch! A tool you also have at your disposable is a lash. This allows you to link enemies together and becomes key part of the gameplay. It’s also a ton of fun to use! Dashing is also key and you can chain enough together to get yourself out of trouble quickly.
Some levels will also have power beacons in them. This is where the lash also comes in handy as they may need to be powered and to do this you will lash enemies together and then attach them to the beacon. This gives the gameplay a further mix up. We also have an over drive system which gives your weapons extra damage whilst making you very powerful. This is charged up as you’re killing the spiders. You get to use it frequently which is good and also needed in fairness due to how many spiders you may have on the screen at one time. Another nice feature in Curved Space is how you’re rewarded from taking down the boss at the end of each stage. The reward will be upgrades for your ship and it will drop a few of them, however you choose one and one only. This is the same for multiple boss fights, so it brings an element of replayability and customisation as well.
The movement in a game like this also needs to be smooth but quick, and Curved Space delivers! It’s a fun little ship that you can move with ease so it never feels sluggish. This mixes well with the combat for when you’re needing to avoid enemy bullets and go over the edge to the other side of map. I feel I need to mention the camera here. This doesn’t relate to the movement itself, but becomes more noticeable when you’re making sharper movements or going off the edge of the map. The camera at times can appear to sway and not follow you correctly. It’s brief and I think it’s in part due to how the maps are designed and when the camera transitions to another angle. I sense it could be jarring for some players. It didn’t bother me in the slightest, but felt worth a mention.
Another requirement for an arcade game is to have a few modes at least, thus allowing you to mix up the gameplay. We do get a fair few options in Curved Space, one of which is a campaign. The campaign is interesting because your choices impact the story. Now when I say story, don’t expect a masterpiece of story telling or some mind bending twists, as it won’t deliver that. It’s very basic, but to include one at all is nice. As you progress, you will encounter other versions of your character and you will get given a choice which will alter the outcome. It plays out in conversation windows with very little actually being shown or interaction, still the character design is good. You may choose to help another version of yourself or you may not, either way it’s a good concept to introduce into this type of game and makes it stand out from the rest. We also have a daily run mode which is for you to take on a challenge and climb the leader boards. Then we have survival which is exactly how it sounds. This mode is for you to see how long you can last before being defeated. The next mode up is Arena where you can take on up to 60 challenges.
There is one area I feel Maximum Games could improve on which is sound. Some of the weapons lack punch in this department, as does the games soundtrack. It has a great visual design and is quite colourful, I just wish the sound had as much attention. It’s worth noting as well that once I got to the level Mobius in the campaign, I couldn’t progress. I suspect this is a bug. We have reached out to the developer, but are yet to hear back. The level started and I was able to fight the first spider and the second, however nothing happened after that. The game didn’t load any more enemies and all I could do was go around the map with nothing spawning in, nor did the game give any notifications that anything would happen or an objective for me to do. I’m hoping it’s some sort of glitch and it will get a patch. Should we hear back, I will update the review. [It’s been patched as of release, and all’s good]
Despite that loading issue, up to this point Curved Space has been a lot of fun and I doubt the developer would leave it like that so my view doesn’t change on the game as a whole. It’s certainly worth picking up and ideal when you just want a quick game prior to going out, or fitting it into your dinner breaks if working from home perhaps.
A PS5 review copy of Curved Space was provided by Maximum Games PR team, and the game is out now for around £15 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC and Switch.