You have to give credit to game developers who try something new. Here we have a game where all you do is make discoveries in space like the title suggests. It may sound boring, but there's a lot more here than meets the eye.
Amazing Discoveries In Outer Space puts you in the astronaut boots of a little chap who loves exploring the depths of the universe. To do this, he flies around in his aptly pint-sized ship between solar systems. In each area, he scans objects that reward him points and when he gets enough he can "Z-jump" to the next solar system. Scanning objects can either be done within the ship or by running around on the surfaces of planets. Many complexities force you to stay cautious as you keep an eye on things such as the ship's state of repair and remaining fuel, the astronaut's health, and even your current location's temperature. It's not easy to ensure your journey remains a safe one but it's incredibly satisfying once you strike a balance that allows you to travel light-years further than you ever have before. It's a solid premise that'll leave you captivated once you get accustomed to all of its intricacies.
Unfortunately, Amazing Discoveries In Outer Space isn't that pleasant to look at. The camera both manually and automatically zooms in and out between three distances. Obviously, more details come to light the closer the action is. Besides the never-ending blackness, you only get to see two dimensional objects and planets. Objects are mostly generic features like rocks, crates, and satellites while planets come in various colours and auras. There really isn't much more to it than that so don't expect to be blown away. Thankfully, the soundtrack is enjoyable and rather funky at times so you can always tap your toes as you traverse new planets.
The implemented physics makes flying around unexplored areas an interesting endeavor. Each planet and sun has a varying gravitational pull. Considering you must conserve fuel, aiming your ship to land gracefully on a planet without taking damage is a necessary skill. Doing so requires patience but you can always hold a button to fast-forward time. As soon as you get into the groove, it becomes very rewarding. This is especially true when you factor in the progression system. Making it to new checkpoints, filling out your discovery catalog, and acquiring additional selectable ships, astronauts, and hats (known as Mass Amplification Devices) just feels awesome.
Amazing Discoveries In Outer Space's biggest problem is the fact that luck plays way too much of a role when it comes to success. Everything is randomized at each attempt. Sometimes, you can make it through a few solar systems with ease while other times you'll struggle on the very first one. In more specific terms, many annoying events can end your journey in an instant. Whenever the camera automatically zooms out unexpectedly thus causing you to collide into a meteor, or a falling star abruptly crashes into you when you're exploring on foot, it's hard not to just turn off the game in a fit of rage. If you decide to persist, you'll begin to wear down your enthusiasm quickly after dozens of failed attempts. Overall, you'll go from curious to fully engaged to disheartened within a few hours of gameplay. Regrettably, this just isn't enough for most gamers although some will probably revel in the randomness of it all.
If you're looking for a unique 2D space exploration game then Amazing Discoveries In Outer Space definitely fits the bill. Just ensure you're ready to put your luck to the test before stepping into your space suit.
- + Unique and captivating premise
- + Fantastic physics and fuel conservation mechanics make exploration rewarding
- + Satisfying progression system
- - Requires too much luck to succeed
- - Gameplay starts to become tiresome after replaying dozens of times
- - Mostly generic visuals