One of the benefits of lacking depth perception is that I’m largely immune to motion sickness. Sure, I’ll never be able to see what a Magic Eye design looks like, but am I really missing all that much? Do they even make those anymore? More importantly, though, I can play something like Curved Space without wanting to throw up. Your mileage may vary.
Curved Space, which features a plot about shooting aliens that we won’t go into since it doesn’t really matter, owes a lot to other curvy games like Super Mario Galaxy, by which I mean you’ll spend time swooping around tiny planetoids in a particularly vertigo-inducing fashion. Players with weak stomachs probably need not apply, as the amount of flopping about you’ll do might lead to some puke problems.
From an actual gameplay perspective, though, this is a shooter through and through. Fly around and blast baddies! Pick up power-ups they drop! Tie enemies to posts and blast them while they can’t move! There’s a wide selection of guns available for blasting baddies into space debris, so you’re bound to find something worth using. Additionally, you can go into a super mode to really show your foes who’s boss – and the aforementioned tether is a great way to keep the super energy flowing.
As for where you’ll do all this blasting, Curved Space takes place on a variety of interesting-looking levels. They all, well, curve about pretty much exactly as you might expect, allowing you to take interesting pathways around and about in order to get the jump on your enemies. This is rarely actually necessary, of course, but it’s certainly impressive-looking and makes you feel like a badass.
The concept is certainly cool, though the presentation could leave a little to be desired – this feels a bit like someone’s first shot at game creation with Unity. Some investigation reveals that the developer worked on, uh…VR crane simulators at some point, which I guess didn’t translate to a polished gaming experience, but that’s not a knock against anything but the game’s presentation. The UI in particular feels kind of amateur. Let’s not even talk about the goofy art and voice acting. At least the game runs well, particularly on PS5 and PC.
From a gameplay perspective, Curved Space provides a perfectly reasonable slice of arcade action for a reasonable price. It’s amazing how this type of forced perspective remains visually appealing, even years after Mario Galaxy was big. There’s not a lot of games like this anymore given the greater focus on experiences rather than enjoyment, so if you want to feel like you’ve stepped right back into a smokey, shady arcade from the 1980s – with a little bit of a graphical upgrade – then Curved Space might be for you.