I have played a lot of Kingdom Hearts. A lot of it. And I keep playing even though I am totally annoyed with the gummi ships. When I’m playing an RPG, I don’t want to stop to fly or race or whatever. I get similarly frustrated with racing levels in LEGO games, however if the whole point of a game is to go harder, faster and stronger, then it’s off to the race track I go.
Space Cake plays like a hybrid RPG/runner, but lacks a few key elements that would make it great. It reminds me of those annoying gummi ships with its cute name and its strangely rounded designs. They parallel each other with space travel, and fighting off enemy ships and meteorites in equal number. Both kind of annoy me but here’s the thing: I can’t put either down.
Space Cake has a story, I think, but the cut scenes at the very beginning scrolled past so quickly that I didn’t catch a single word. I know we were headed for space but I couldn’t explain how or why to save my life. You’re supposed to log in using a nickname and your email address, but I still can’t get that part to work so I’ve had to skip it every time. One thing I did like was the tutorial. It’s friendly, starting off with simple maneuvering instructions and moving on to fighting tactics and using upgrades. The game mechanics aren’t very complicated, it’s just nice to know I’m not missing anything.
Perhaps my favorite innovation of Space Cake is the fact that all the on-screen modules are fully customizable. You can move the joystick and the upgrades anywhere you want them. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious you can use the gyroscope and eliminate the joystick entirely.
PROTIP: If you do choose to use the gyro, which I prefer as far as game mechanics go, just know that its default position is flat. Also the gyro works in both horizontal and vertical directions. So don’t forget to speed up by tilting to the right.
Speaking of ambition, you can change the difficulty of the game between easy, normal, and hard. While the easier levels have fewer enemies and require less ammo, they also provide you with fewer gold coins (which inexplicably turn into blue crystals) to spend on upgrades.
In addition to the three different difficulty levels, there are also two ships from which you can choose to pilot. I haven’t discovered any difference between them, if any exists, except that one is blue and long and the other is red and squat. They fight exactly the same, have the same upgrades, take the same amount of crystals to max out, and fly at the same speed. It makes me wonder why the developers bothered programming two skins in at all, especially when upgrading the stats of one does nothing to upgrade the stats on the other. The progress you make with each ship is saved to the same file, so the ships share crystals and unlock levels together, but you have to spend twice the amount of crystals to upgrade the weapons, speed and shield on both ships. You are essentially upgrading the same ship twice, which seems like a waste of coins and time.
The harder levels live up to their name very well. In fact, by the second planet I had to grind away and earn enough coins to fully stock my arsenal before moving forward. As I mentioned earlier, however, everything in the game is cumulative, which is nice because I could play through the easier levels, or the higher levels on a lower difficulty, in order to collect more coins. This means that there is plenty of variety in the grind, and it didn’t bore me as easily as it could have.
Space Cake is a great example of the runner genre. With a little more development on the storyline and upgrades system, it could be a brilliant hybrid runner/RPG.
Is it Hardcore?
Space Cake is a nifty runner/RPG hybrid. The game has no major flaws but that’s because it plays it safe. More storyline and customizable ships would make this game a solid 5.