Let’s face it, when we first saw Evasive Space, we all thought it was going to be something quite special. Developed by High Voltage for Akinai Games, many gamers were expecting this WiiWare release to be nothing less than fantastic, and for good reason too. With some reasonable WiiWare titles already under their belt, High Voltage Software should’ve known what gamers wanted from this. Now that the game has been released, many people may be shocked to hear that Evasive Space may not be exactly what they’ve been anticipating for the past couple of months.
At first glance, this appears to be a shoot-em-up game like any other. In reality it's anything but. Instead of trying to destroy enemies and obstacles by shooting them, your objective is to do the exact opposite: don’t shoot, but evade everything that’s thrown your way -- hence the snappy title.
The plot is fairly straightforward and simple to understand. The universe is blackening and it’s up to you, Konki the Stellar Guardian, to do something about it. Dr. Dark Matter and his army of evil space villains have stolen most of the Constellation Stones that make up much of the heavens. The cads!
By taking control of a spaceship, players navigate through maze-like areas, either collecting lost astronauts or power-ups and time bonuses, hoping to make it to a portal at the end of the maze. Each maze takes a few minutes to complete and there are multiple paths to follow. You can choose to take the most obvious and straightforward path, or, you can branch off and try an alternate route. Sometimes your exploration will be very beneficial and you’ll pick up some rewards along the way; other times you’ll end up in a very narrow passage that’ll only take longer to get through.
In each level, there are numerous portals that Konki and her spaceship can use to travel to a different part of the level that would’ve been previously inaccessible. One of the benefits of using portals is that you can pick up items that will aid you in your quest.
Scattered across each maze are a variety of power-ups that come in very handy indeed. Energy Cells which are used to power Konki’s ship appear frequently. By collecting these, the Energy meter will start to rise, which acts as "armour" for the ship and powers the ship's I-Shield.
Another item that appears throughout the game is the Chronosphere, which modifies the constantly ticking game-clock. Each level must be completed within a set amount of time so collecting these objects will prove to be a huge asset. Then there are diodes, which allow players to upgrade Konki’s ship and allow for increased functionality when you have ten of them. You can also pick up Constellation Stones, which are the focus of the adventure and necessary to your progress.
Visually, Evasive Space is one of nicest looking titles on WiiWare. The path that High Voltage took turned out well, and the audio is decent too. The modern look really helps add to the futuristic space-like them. The audio, on the other hand, helps set the atmosphere and establish the mood.
The main mode in Evasive Space is story mode, which consists of twenty levels scattered across four different acts. When you think about it, it's not all that much. Some may be able to breeze through the game in a matter of hours due to the rather low difficulty level, but thanks to the fact that the game boasts Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection leaderboards, many will probably return and try to earn high scores. Indeed, the game's online elements are pleasingly robust, and there is also a four-player-ready battle mode that allows friends to compete in a frantic "collect-em-up" contest.
Sadly, all of this excellent work is undone by one crippling problem--the frustratingly obtuse control system.
To navigate Konki through each level, players point the Wii Remote at the screen and hold B-trigger. It’s a fascinating way to play the game and certainly feels unique, but sadly it isn’t anywhere near as precise as it needs to be in a game that relies so much on accurate and painstaking control. We often found ourselves failing because we simply didn’t have tight enough control over the on-screen action.
If the controls were tightened up a little more, or--better yet--allowed for the Nunchuk or Classic Controller to be used for directional input, Evasive Space would’ve been far more satisfying. As it stands, whatever enjoyment there is is lost because of the annoyingly awkward controls. Trust us, you will constantly find yourself slamming into walls and enemies because pointing the Wii remote at the screen to steer is just way too loose a control method for a game of this nature. There were several moments where we were thankful for the Wii remote's wrist strap, because without it we might have ended up throwing several of the controllers at the wall in a rage.
When all is said and done, Evasive Space is nothing more than an average, overpriced WiiWare offering. It certainly has a few good ideas up its sleeve, but due to the pitiful controls the positive aspects are pushed to the background. It is a shame to see an otherwise enjoyable game ruined by an awful control scheme; even more so when you consider that this issue could have been solved by adding other interface options, such as support for the Nunchuk or Classic Controller. In addition to this the game’s length is disappointing short and only truly dedicated fans will want to come back and try to earn high scores. We had such high hopes for this title, but ironically it has turned out being one piece of WiiWare software that you'll probably want to evade.