Studio: Redox Entertainment
Genre: Action, Arcade, Casual
Device: Samsung Gear VR
Control: Head Tracking
Game modes: single player
Space Maze was developed by Redox Entertainment; they are a media company specializing in web development, advertising, computer graphics, and mobile games. Space Maze is there first VR game. Other games that they have made, is a tower defense game called Cows vs Vikings for ios. And Riverstones, a three gem style matching game for multiple devices.
What really impressed me about their team was on their website you can read little bios for each member and they all have a great passion for VR and AR development. And it shows in their first outing on Space Maze.
The graphics for Space Maze remind me of Drift by SharpSense, The colors are flat, but in different shades making the overall design very clean and straightforward. The five ships designs are all sleek and cool looking, and the wings flex and animate during game-play giving you a sense of flying something with real weight and substance. The level design is straight forward and has a “less is more” vibe similar to games like Smash Hit, where the game-play is designed to out shine the graphical aesthetics, which it does. But we will get back to game play in a minute.
You will see speed streamers in the sky giving the world substance without being too distracting. However, a down side to that is while you are playing, objects tend to get in the way and become more transparent as they get closer causing a ghost effect. For the most part this is fine, but with some objects, it’s far too distracting and it even causes you to crash into ghosting objects not knowing if they are dangerous or not.
And speaking of objects, what exactly are we dodging in the game? Is this space junk? I don’t claim to be a space expert, but I don’t think it’s full of blue shaded dice we have to dodge all the time. I get you are going for the clean look, but as much as it adds to the game, it takes away from what this game could have been. It’s almost as if these shapes are placeholders but Redox ran out of time so they left them in.
Game play mechanics
Space Maze is a Tunnel runner at its heart, where you travel down a path dodging obstacles by using the head tracking to steer your ship. What makes Space Maze different, it throws Drones in to the mix, that are like heat sinking missiles that hone on your ship and if you aren’t watching out either harm or Destroy you I think this can be a fun game play mechanic, but Space Maze doesn’t offer a ton of real replay ability cause every time you go through a level it is the exact same level with little to no variation, causing it to become boring and repetitive, even tedious. I wouldn’t mind enemies or destructible objects similar to Smash to mix up the level and game play a bit. Keep the drones as intimidating indestructible heat sinking balls of death, but add some stuff we can blow up in between all of our dodging. You have a ship with a targeting system on it already, might as well use it to its full potential. If you want to watch game-play, check out the video below.
VR Comfort Level
I passed the game around to friends and asked them to gauge how they felt the comfort level was, all of them said it was very high. The game took some getting used to,and they died a lot, but mostly due to the stuttering, I can’t say that’s the games fault because my phone does that when I get an email notification, which I get quite a lot. But they walked away satisfied with the experience.
The VR design is well implemented, the 3D aspect of the design is spot on and it all functions flawlessly. The clean look really does this game a great deal of service in this aspect. And I like that in order to get upgrade gems to upgrade your ship you have to play levels over again adding replay-ability!
Music / effects
The music in this game is a mix of electronic dance music that loops far too often. At first it is something that isn’t that noticeable, but when you have spent some time with the game, you will see how the music adds to the frustration and of some of the levels. Some songs loop only after 20 seconds and the repetitive nature of them adds another level tediousness when passing a particularly hard level. (it was level 12 for me.. screw you level 12!) Note to DEVS: if you want some quality music, check out Subwoulfer on sound cloud, he has created music for a VR game called Cubum, you can download the game and try it out on Sideload VR. While the game itself wasn’t that great, the music was, and I would play the game just to listen to the songs. He’s one of my favorite artists in the EDM scene.
So while the game draws its inspiration from two popular games Drift, and Smash Hit, and it does very well in making itself stand out from both, and improves on some of the aspects of both. Like in terms of difficultly, Drift is extremely tough. This game is tough but beatable with some patience. Smash was in your face and frantic, and while this game is too, an addition of destructible obstacles would really breathe some life into some levels.
But for people who enjoyed both of those games, (I am one of them) will really enjoy this game. And while it’s not ground breaking, Space Maze does its thing right, and is an enjoyable VR game experience. But for 5 bucks you might want to get a game that you will want to play over and over again, or have a longer playtime, I beat this game within 1 hour or so of total game-play. While I haven’t beatin’ every level with top marks, I’m pretty close.
- Smooth Gameplay
- Challenging But Fun
- 5 cool looking ships to choose from
- Repetitive Music
- Repetitive Boring Obstacles
- I've done all these things before