SNK is at it again, releasing arcade games from their back catalog as PlayStation Minis. The latest game that they have plucked from the archives is The Next Space, a classic shoot-em-up.
The Next Space involves piloting a ship, picking up power-ups and shooting enemies. That is about all there is to it. It looks good, but as with any game that came out in 1989, you can be sure that it is not the most gorgeous thing blown up on a 32 inch television.
The enemy variety is pretty solid, and it made me want to push through to see what weird and unusual baddie they were going to throw at me next. They do come up with some really cool enemy designs later in the game, and they are definitely worth a look, but ultimately I found no reason to go back to this game, other than improving my score.
The Next Space is extremely difficult throughout the entire experience, as you are swarmed with enemies, and can be killed in a matter of seconds. This is not a total shocker, because as with any old school arcade game, you are meant to keep pumping in quarters. However, this version is absent of that challenge thanks to an unlimited credit system. You can now just pump in as many credits as you want, allowing you to get through to the end every time.
The lack of challenge makes the game pretty forgettable, and I found that I kept asking “is it over with, yet?” or “This has to be the last boss, right?” Having an unlimited number of lives takes all the tension and a lot of the fun out of it, because in the midst of a boss fight, you can simply add in a few more credits so you do not lose your score. They have an option to bring in a second player, which I can imagine makes this game even easier. You can choose to play it with an old school mind-set if you want, by just not adding in any more credits once it is game over.
The controls feel responsive and work well, and I did not feel that at any point that dying was the game’s fault. My deaths were usually due to lack of attention to my surroundings. The controls are very simple, as the X button is the normal attack and movement handled with the left stick, and if you grab a power up, the circle button fires it. With only three things to worry about, there is not much to be wary of in terms of where you are placing your fingers.
Overall, I cannot really recommend the game. It only costs three dollars, and if you are looking for an hour to kill (because that is about how long it took me) on a subway ride to work, it is certainly built for a gamer on the go. The old school nature will cater to some, but as a whole, it is very forgettable and should have been left in the vault. Save your money, and take a pass on this one.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.