Review: Spaceland (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC, Mac

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Spaceland
Format: PSN (349.9 MB)
Release Date: Feburary 14, 2020
Publisher: ELLADA GAMES
Developer: Tortuga Team
Original MSRP: $19.99 (US), £15.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 7
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

I loved reviewing Mutant Year Zero and XCOM 2 and thought this could be another great turn-based strategy game.

Gameplay:
Death isn’t permanent and any fallen character comes back to life after the mission. One minor bug occurred at the end of a mission when I maneuvered the team to the exit. The Summary displayed the Fighters Survived as if one had died, which wasn’t the case. I replayed the level and made sure to send that character through the exit first and everything was fine.

The turn-based combat is simple and slowly evolves as new characters join the group and new weapons are found or crafted. I like having the ability to kick; this simple mechanic allows me to push dangerous red barrels toward an enemy or better still, send an enemy reeling away one square and doing a bit of damage in the process. Although, a character cannot kick in a diagonal direction.

Any players familiar to this genre will be right at home here, and the linearity and simplicity of the game is ideal for newcomers. Although, I soon became bored by the slow plodding storyline and dull missions. The only (slight) thrill was a boss battle which was over sooner than expected.

Running out of ammo is a constant annoyance in Spaceland, and having to hunt for single-use ammo crates becomes a chore. When my feeble characters eventually obtain some swords and infinite ammo pistols, things get a little better, but not much.

The controls are okay, but I did need to remind my daughter that each one has abilities other than just the main weapon. There is cover available in most areas, but the pathetic range of most weapons means the characters need to get dangerously close, or waste time while the enemy comes to them. The enemy can chip away at the cover, meaning it isn’t a good idea to stick to the same spot for too long anyway.

Not knowing what to do in a few levels can annoy the younger player, as it isn’t obvious what they need to do, such as interact with a computer terminal to complete the mission, for example. Each mission has secrets to be found, and seeing as the levels aren’t huge sprawling areas, they aren’t too difficult to hunt down. A small word of warning, the number of secrets doesn’t correspond to the total in the mission summary.

Visuals:
I like the isometric view, and the fog of war actually looks like fog. The mission select screen and accompanying menus are a little basic and seem to be geared toward a young audience. It reminds me of a mobile phone game, which isn’t a bad thing as some look really good nowadays, but Spaceland just has that feel.

There are quite a few different enemies throughout the game, but you will often fight the same few over and over again. Spaceland is a cute little game with nice simple graphics, but nothing that impressed me.

Audio:
Nothing special in this section, but nothing bad either. I would have liked Spaceland to feature some speech to combine with the conversations, if only to help keep the younger player’s attention. This isn’t to say there are loads to trawl through, but I did notice both of my kids lost interest in the story side of the linear adventure.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only and features no online component.

Conclusion:
Spaceland isn’t a bad game but I never really got invested in the story and its slow pace bored me too much. Fans of the genre might find this cute little game a little basic, but newcomers could enjoy the gentle progression and cute enemies.

While it does nothing wrong, it never excels at anything either. It’s a nice entry-level to the turn-based combat genre, and good if you aren’t expecting much. Maybe if it were priced a little lower I wouldn’t be so harsh.

Score:
6.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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