Space Expedition: Classic Adventure ($2.99) by Mobirate Studio Ltd is a delightful old-school Metroidvania experience for your iOS device. If you liked other titles like Traps n’ Gemstones and Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville, then you’re going to love Space Expedition.
It seems like space is always a good theme to go for in a game. We had Space Age last week, which I’m still thoroughly enjoying. Turns out that Space Expedition also came out last week, but I missed it among the big release of Space Age and the Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores expansion. Well, better late than never I suppose, and as I’m a huge fan of Metroidvania-style games, I had to check out Space Expedition.
Space Expedition has a fantastic retro look and feel to it that any old-school gamer can appreciate. I grew up on those classic 16-bit style games, so I am in love with the art in the game. While it is pixelated, there are still plenty of details to appreciate in this game. The space environments are dark but lit up with bright colorful lights, lush vegetation, and lively creatures. Animations in the game are super smooth and fluid — I didn’t skip a beat on my iPhone 6. The atmospheric soundtrack is a joy to listen to and best experienced through headphones, as well as the realistic sound effects.
Since Space Expedition is a Metroidvania game, there aren’t any “levels” to go through, per say. Instead, there are episodes to go through, but each of these has you exploring the new setting by going from room-to-room, while collecting useful tools and items you need to fulfill the mission. There are checkpoints scattered throughout the area, at which point the game automatically saves your progress. If you die, you just get put back at the last checkpoint.
The controls in the game are simple and intuitive, but not quite as responsive as other games like the Mikey Shorts series. In the bottom left, you’ll have directional buttons for moving your brave astronaut left and right. In the bottom right are the A and B buttons, for picking up and interacting with items (A) and jumping (B). When you have an item in your inventory that can be used to solve a puzzle, just tap on it in the bottom center of the screen.
While the controls are easy enough, I found that the touch radius for the buttons is a little small due to positioning. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like you can customize the control layout at this time, so you’ll have to learn to adjust. I hope the developer can consider allowing players to tweak the button positioning in the future for an optimal experience.
In the beginning of the game, you’ll be doing basic stuff, but the game will pick up quickly once you start encountering the dangerous alien life forms and have to engage in open combat with them in order to survive. There are plenty of puzzles to solve, as well as a lot of platforming action. It’s the perfect mix for any Metroidvania fan.
For the achievement point hoarders, there is Game Center integration with four taxing goals to strive for.
I’m always up for a good, challenging game that brings back a sense of nostalgia, and Space Expedition: Classic Adventure is one of those titles. I love the pixel art, the haunting soundtrack and sound effects, and the clever combination of platforming, puzzle, and combat. If you are a fan of Metroidvania games, then I highly recommend checking out this one.