It’s been years since I’ve played a game that reminded me of my days booting up X-Wing and Tie Fighter on LucasArts floppy disks. Feeling that freedom of flying around in space and taking on enemies in zero-G felt wonderful. The next game to capture that was Wing Commander with all of its glorious live action cutscenes featuring Mark Hamill. Now though, it seems like I can have all of that fun in the palm of my hand. Beyond Space is a new iOS title that brings back all the nostalgia and fun of interstellar dogfights.
From the outset, I have to say that Beyond Space is one of the best looking iOS games I’ve ever seen. The graphics are simply stunning and so detailed that you can pick out different types of fighters for far off. The opening cinematic might even be more exciting than the beginning of ‘Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.’
You have options for an assortment of controls from a virtual stick to using the gyroscope for steering. Once you pick your preferred method, you can rocket through the tutorial and learn what the rest of the buttons do. There are a surprising array of ways to control your ship and they are all very intuitive. Swipe left or right over on the left of the screen executes a dodge perfect for avoiding missiles. Flicking up and down just to the right will make your fighter flip a u-turn and blast off in the opposite direction. Over on the right of the firing reticle, you can even control your speed and dial it in for the perfect strafing run on your enemies. All the controls are a breeze to get used to and give you unprecedented ease of maneuvering your ship to take down enemies. The aiming aid is quite smart and works very well, too.
Once you make it through the tutorial, you start in on the various missions. This is where I expected Beyond Space to get a bit repetitive and dull. I’m happy to report that it does not. I played for a couple hours and always felt surprised when the game introduced new elements. You have your standard missions that ask you to destroy all the attacking fighters, but there are other types that ask you to fly through rings in the time allotted. It is a grey way to keep things fresh and fun. As you progress, the game throws new ships and upgrades at you. At the end of each level you’ll have unlocked at least two new toys to play with in the hanger and out on missions. I love a good reward and these were always satisfying to see.
Throughout your time in the cockpit, you’ll be regaled by some of the most delightfully bad dialogue I’ve come across in awhile. It is filled with so many cliches that it is laughable, but it is surely meant to be that way. Think of ‘Starship Troopers,’ except in the cockpits of space fighters. It is always good for a smug laugh, but any laugh is enjoyable. My only complaint here is that Beyond Space may occasionally get too hung up on shoehorning dialogue wherever it can and it gets a bit overwhelming.
The sound design is somewhat standard for a space fighter game. The lasers go “pew pew,” and explosions are satisfyingly boomy. The soundtrack itself isn’t remarkable, but it provides a nice sonic backdrop to your enjoyment as you blast rocket fighters out of the air.
Overall, Beyond Space is a gorgeous, competent and engaging space shooter that fans of Wing Commander and old space fighter simulators will love. It’s completely unpretentious and revels in the fact that it is a fun game for you to keep in your pocket. Do yourself a favor and download it so you can share in the space faring action.
This review is based on a purchased copy of Beyond Space for iOS.
App Store Link: Beyond Space for iPhone & iPad | By BulkyPix | Price: $2.99 | Version: 1.0 | 660 MB | Rating 9+