Space Colors [$0.99] makes a simple bet: that blowing stuff up in space, amongst a rainbow colorful explosions, is its own reward. That just doing that, with only cursory guidance as to what to do next, is enough to make for a fun game. While perhaps the meta-game of missions and perfromance is somewhat lacking, there's a lot of enjoyment to be had from just playing the game itself.

This is somewhat of a roguelike-inspired space shooter: players command a ship that they fly around different planets in solar systems, completing various missions, while trying to survive the various enemy ships' assaults. Credits can be collected and spent on permanent upgrades to the ship. There's no IAP here, don't worry. Credits are earned a bit slowly at first, but through playing more and more, they start to accumulate, and the game really starts to open up once at least the first tier of upgrades are bought.

The controls are handled by single taps, with tapping to move to a spot, holding to continually fly in that direction, and tapping on objects and enemies to target them. Firing is automatic, and the game makes it such that it's possible to tap on an enemy and then tap elsewhere to fly to that spot while still targeting them, allowing for circle strafing to dodge fire. The game gets awfully chaotic, and can be hard in a chaotic fight to aim and move in a proper strategic fashion, but generally, just frantically tapping will get the job done.

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And it's those chaotic fights that provide most of the game's fun. Ever get into the middle of a battle between two warring factions, with dozens of ships fighting at one time? That happens with regularity in this game. Blowing up enemies isn't always the objective, but as the game goes on, a massive firefight will be instigated with survival necessary in order to continue.

These fights just do not get old. Having to destroy enemies from all sides, including giant turrets, ship-spawning carriers, and the occasional enemy base? It's really quite exhilarating, because survival is never guaranteed. Thankfully, plenty of health pickups are dropped, and these fights tend to be quite lucrative as far as credits go. The occasional bomb or weapon upgrade that drops can be crucial to survival as well. But just being smart enough to not get surrounded, always having an escape plan, and taking out the big threats can go a long way. And managing all that while in a neon-splattered landscape is quite fun to do.

The issue is that the meta-game surrounding Space Colors is a bit lacking. The missions on each planet, part of the game's progression, vary from the exciting, like taking out an enemy base, to the mundane, such as fetching a space crate, or flying to a specific spot. The missions are not the exciting part of the game at all: they're merely the way that the game justifies having all these exciting spaceship fights. Really, the game could have just been score-based, being about surviving as long as possible and collecting high scores, with little other motivation than just survival, and it would work just as well, I surmise. Right now, there's the ability to tweet progress, but no Game Center leaderboards or anything to compete with others, though apparently that functionality will be added with an update soon.

Still, I can look past that, because hey – collecting a bomb and watching it light up the screen as all the enemies I weakened are destroyed in a display worthy of the 4th of July never gets old, even if there's little functional point to doing so.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • DiMarco

    I want to get it for its artistic visuals, but if there's no entertaining missions, it kinda puts me off

  • RamazUltra

    DAMMMIT THIS GAME DESERVES A 5/5!! Where's the arcade love :(

  • hellscaretaker

    I wait for it to go free

  • stelluhreyes

    this game really does open up after the first tier of upgrades, deffinitley recommend this

  • Martin

    I can't seem to buy any of the upgrades. Anyone else having problems with that sort of thing? Even the X button to close the upgrade window is tough to hit (I have to touch just to the right of it). I'm on an iPad Mini Retina...

    • Craig Grannell

      Try turning your device 90 degrees. The UI will work in portrait, but usually not in landscape. It's a known bug, apparently.

      • Martin

        That worked, thanks!

  • Joe Kule

    I don't have any sound on this game, does anyone else have this issue? Thanks.

    • akasushi

      Me either, I, running iPad 3with latest iOS.

    • InfernoShade

      Same issue here. No sound on my iPhone 5S. Bummer.

  • akasushi

    Sure hope they fix the audio bug soon, or will look for refund.

    • akasushi

      Arff, ignore this. Bleh

Space Colors Reviewed by Carter Dotson on . Rating: 4