Jul 5, 2013
The best games, for me, are ones that are simple, easy to control and, more or less mildly infuriating. It’s why I pulled my hair, shedding years while playing Super Hexagon.
It’s probably why I find Space is Key so intriguing. It mocks me. To my face. It’s evil.
Space is Key is about as simple as they come. Looks-wise, it uses switching primary colors with opposing hues to highlight obstacles. The color changes do an interesting job of creating a psychedelic atmosphere reminiscent of Super Hexagon that doesn’t internet with the gameplay.
The play area is generally 2D in nature. A box moves at speed from left to right, towards a star. There are also obstacles that prevent them from getting to said star; with tapping to jump being the solitary control, the job is to avoid the obstacles as a hurdler would. Touching any obstacle, even slightly, ends the run.
But this is where the game gets really fun. The obstacles began to get way more interesting. They increase in number, and funky things start to happen, like falling bricks from the ceiling and ones that pop up from the ground. As the game progresses from earlier levels, space and timing become extremely key elements that govern success. The timing has to be close to perfect to get through. The game spits out blocks until a stage is completed, and that actually adds to the challenge, as a missed go can throw the timing off enough to miss a few of the repeat blocks. At certain levels, attributes (like jumping and speed) are increased for effect, and it all comes together seamlessly.
With the levels in the triple figures and different levels of difficulty, this game shows that “simple” and “exciting” can be worthy housemates with “engrossing” and “challenging.”