Review: Space Ark


Space Ark was released on the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace on June the 16th, and I have to admit, when I was covering the game in the news, over the previous weeks, I was really looking forward to playing it. This great single/multiplayer game by Strawdog Studios is the ideal game for you to keep your hand and eye co-ordinatin in top form, and I also have to add, that if you have any anger issues, then stay clear of Space Ark, why? Because this is one fast paced game that will test your reflexes and patience to the max. I know this, because I experienced the anger and tears first hand when my 11 year old daughter tried to conquer this cute and colourful game. To find out how I got on in this totally psychedelic game, please, sit back, relax, and enjoy my review. I will also anounce a little competition at the end of my review, where you could win your own copy of Space Ark.

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Strawdog Studios’ Space Ark is here, and when I downloaded the game from the Xbox Live Marketplace, I just knew from the beginning that the game seemed somewhat familiar, this is Arkanoid I thought, revamped with a distinctly 2010 look, but wait, it’s also Rainbow Islands, Bomb Jack, Lunar Lander and Katamari Damacy all filtered through shades of Rez. Unsurprisingly though, it does all tie together rather nicely. I wouldn’t exactly say that the game was unique, but it is definately a good game to have in your arcade collection, and at a cool 800 Microsoft Points, its even more worth it.

Now unlike most of the games mentioned above, Space Ark is a level-based arcade collectathon. You are in control of a jelly bean looking bounce-pad, which you move from left to right with the left analogue stick and the height of your thrust-controlled bounce is controlled with the right, now each short stage requires the clearance of the hexagonal shapes which are arranged in various coloured patterns in the sky. Bouncing your chosen ‘Arkonaut’ into a group of same-colour shapes attaches a visible combo chain, whilst falling on the floor however, smashes it into pieces and creates a Sonic-style scramble to collect all your hard work as fast as you can before it all disappears. Life-saving power-ups are also uncovered by smashing into breakable blocks, and high scores are the primary drive here in this game, so keeping your character constantly bouncing around is the main key.

Your ‘Arkonaut’ is the cutest thing ever, and as you progress through the 168 levels, that are generously spread across 5 worlds, your Arkonaut will change, getting cuter, and cuter, there are 28 Arkonauts to collect in total, and its fun trying to get the best one, my personal best was the tiger cub, it was just too cute.

Now its ok saying that the Arkonaut is cute, and that the game looks great, I am only at the begining of the game, and so far so simple, but several factors quickly complicate matters and make for hectic juggling acts. Environmental elements such as flippers and bouncy clouds serve as obstacles or platforms, I’d prefer to say that they were obstacles, because all they did was get in the way, and I found it annoying when my Arkonaut was bouncing in the same place continuously, in fact I did restart a few of the levels just because of this. The ever increasing fruit frequently also starts to fall from the sky, which did tempt me to split my focus between catching my Arkonaut or risking all for a higher score, and you do always think you will make it, but you never do, and unless you know your quick enough to recapture your score, I wouldn’t risk it.

The game really does get harder and harder as you progress through the levels, and although it wasn’t quite as addictive as I had first hoped, I did really enjoy playing Space Ark. My daughter enjoyed the game, once she had learnt the concept of it, but the tears did flow and I knew then that the game definately had an addiction factor to it somewhere. There are perfect ranks to aim for on Space Ark, and its fun trying to catch some of the top scorers up, and with the ever-present friend leaderboards to conquer and a few more game modes to delve into, im sure you will enjoy this great platform game.

I have to rate Space Ark 7/10

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