I’ll get straight to the point. There’s a few too many things holding Space Disorder back from being a high quality release. But I’m not here to offer a bad review and trash its creator for releasing something they believe in, far from it. What I will do is provide the kind of feedback that I hope can improve this game and make it something rewarding for all players, not just a select few.
Let’s set the scene first. Space Disorder has you travelling across various levels collecting coins, power ups, hidden items and locked up aliens, all in the name of saving your alien buddies from a group of evil robots intent on using them for experiments.
Two things came to mind as I booted this up for the first time and played the early levels. One, there’s actually a lot of content in here. That’s a good thing for any kind of platformer. But, and here’s number two, it made me realize that maybe there’s a bit too much going on here.
Random levels are the key selling point here, it’s a great thing for the most part. It means that you’ll never play the same game twice, you’ll never get tired of playing, etc, etc. But I think as a platform game, Space Disorder may have been better off without it.
Early on, I found it very confusing running through the first level, dying, then coming back to something completely different. It really did get frustrating for me, and I normally don’t find platform games frustrating at all. Maybe introducing this mechanic later on in the campaign might make for a better experience whilst simplifying the earlier levels down a bit.
Because of the random nature of the game, there’s no real pacing early on. You are placed into the experience without much of a tutorial and whilst each new item you touch brings up an explanation of what it is, you may not initially find a place to use this new power up correctly straight away. Again, keeping it simple early on would rectify this problem straight away, slowly dribbling out each new power up and enemy type as you go.
It pains me to say it, but I found the controls to be very difficult too. Honestly I don’t know if it’s just me, but I felt the game design needed an extra button or two. It felt really awkward and unnatural moving from left to right then suddenly lifting off into the air, and I found it hard stringing together moves or accurately jumping over or underneath hazards.
Yes, I realise some players won’t agree with this and I understand that too. But the bigger the audience you can bring in, the better the result. It’s not all doom and gloom either. Space Disorder really is fantastic to look at and even better to listen to. The visuals are striking and colourful, with some nice creative touches in character design, plus there’s some great sound effects and a solid musical score to match the action.
Like I said before, there’s also a ton of content here. Coins unlock new powers and other characters, and you can collect aliens that become a pet of sorts in its own separate experience. That’s the kind of thing that can make a difference in terms of holding onto players long after the last level is played through, so I have to give credit for that design choice.
So let’s wrap up. Pacing, levels and controls. If Mi-Clos can work on those three key issues, I really do believe Space Disorder can be a great game. But right now, I think it alienates the audience a little too much because of its difficulty, and that’s one thing a platform game can’t afford to do. An alternate control scheme has already been mentioned by the studio for the near future, so I hope that will lead to a better experience in the long term.
For now, Space Disorder is free to play and well worth experimenting with. I suggest giving it a shot and helping the team out in evolving the experience to its fullest potential. I mean this in all honesty, it really deserves that, so don’t take the score on face value.
[review pros=”Great visual panache, solid musical score, plenty of content” cons=”controls are very tricky to get used to, random levels can lead to frustration, no pacing early on” score=69]