If you've ever wanted to chill out and have a good time in outer space then this is the game for you. Full of a variety of modes for one or more players, Perfect Universe is the complete package when it comes to out of this world gameplay.
It's rare to see an indie game that boasts as many different gameplay styles as Perfect Universe. It consists of three distinct single player campaigns and six multiplayer sports all of which feature 2D gameplay. For now, I'll just discuss the single player modes. Each one is played completely differently. The first campaign (Perfect Moon) has you control a shirtless dude who runs around, jumps, swings, and glides to collect all of the diamonds in each stage. You're granted up to three stars according to how fast you complete stages which unlock further levels. The gameplay itself is very enjoyable as the implemented physics make mastering every stage a delight. You'll jump between planets using their gravitational pulls to your advantage, glide around a moon, jump high, and avoid many hazards along the way. It by no means reinvents the genre but its simplicity is refreshing.
The second mode (Moon Life) puts you in charge of commanding an alien creature. It plays almost the same as the first mode except you control each leg with the analog sticks. Think Octodad but in 2D. Obviously, this critter isn't as capable as the dude but slowly getting the knack of how to move him effectively is a rewarding endeavor. The third mode (Star Light) has you control a lady astronaut in her rocket. This is played a lot like Atari's classic Asteroids except your ship has much more inertia. Therefore, you need to use your thrusters sparingly if you want to be an expert pilot. These two modes can be quite frustrating at first but if you have the patience to learn their subtleties then you're in for a real treat. That being said, many gamers will find the challenge too steep to overcome. The only other issue is that there are a little over 20 stages in each campaign which won't feel like enough by the time you're done.
A fourth mode known as Sports Day contains six mini-games that you can either play by yourself against computer opponents or with up to four local players. Moon Golf has you swing away in eight mind-bending courses. Taking advantage of gravity while sinking a shot on the other side of a planet is great fun. Gravity Dodge is basically dodgeball where you can run along the walls and ceiling. It's rather chaotic but that's what makes it enjoyable. Rocket Ball is soccer with rockets which is quite nifty. Balloon Pop has players control aliens in order to pop the most balloons and it's probably my favourite mode to play with friends. Moon Volley is volleyball that's played with the net running down the middle of a planet. Being able to spike in either direction adds a new dimension to the sport. Finally, Space Race is your typical 2D overhead racer (like Super Sprint) except you race rockets on four different tracks. It's definitely a tricky one. My only problem with the sports is that AI players can be downright brutal. I couldn't even win one match of some of the sports no matter how hard I tried and I'm a fairly skilled guy. That being said, playing with friends is where this mode shines brightest.
One of my favourite aspects of Perfect Universe is its presentation. The bare-bones black and white visuals seem boring at first but once you play for a while, you'll start to appreciate the nuances of the game world. There's a certain child-like wonder to it all as if the whole game is how a kid would envision their trip to space. This is made livelier through the charming animations, cute sound effects, and science fiction ambience. Overall, Perfect Universe's graphics and sound will make you appreciate its imaginative world even more.
Perfect Universe not only captured my imagination, it made me excited to experience all sorts of 2D fun. If the concept of a variety game set in space intrigues you then you can't go wrong by giving this a download.
- + Three delightful physics-based gameplay styles with their own single player campaigns
- + Wide variety of six multiplayer sports
- + Lovely presentation full of child-like wonder
- - Controlling the alien and rocket will be a bit too frustrating for less patient gamers
- - The campaigns could use more stages
- - AI opponents can be brutally difficult