Mega Spacehole is reminiscent of classic shooters that many of us have enjoyed for years. In my recent interview with the developers at Furious Union, co-owners Rob Shepps and Dakota Ling mention “Asteroids”, “Galaga” and “Geometry Wars” as inspirations for their new Gear VR title and it shows. Mega Spacehole has all of the elements you’d expect from an arcade shooter; the levels are intense, a variety of power-ups assist you, and enemies try to kill you dead. Thanks to the perspective made possible with virtual reality, you are no longer controlling a character under attack; you are the character.
Mega Spacehole puts you inside of a geometric sphere, and your mission is to take down waves of enemies that spawn within it. These enemies spawn in patterns that allow you to destroy them by aiming your gaze as they appear, thanks to the “look to aim” method of attacking. However, the targets will evolve as you progress through the levels, and their movements will alter with increasing difficulty. Make any mistakes (and you will), and you’ll find yourself overwhelmed with baddies. When you kill the enemies, they explode into pieces which shatter all around you. If the enemies get close enough, they’ll knock down your shield; take three hits and it’s game over. Rather than getting the typical three stars for performing well in a level, you’ll get up to three stripes, which indicate the amount of shield you have remaining at the end.
There are 30 levels in Mega Spacehole, and they become more and more punishing as you progress. You may breeze through some earlier levels, but don’t be fooled; it’s not all smooth sailing. Some levels will take multiple tries, and that’s a good thing. I loved facing the challenge of seemingly impossible levels, and I became determined to figure out a strategy to destroy every last enemy. There’s no fun in flying through an entire game without effort, but fear not, that won’t be the case here.
As you play through Mega Spacehole, you’ll unlock power-ups to defeat your foes. These range from health packs and the time-slowing “clock blocker”, to powerful weapons that your enemies will find catastrophic. Things get really interesting when you have multiple power-ups available to trigger within certain levels. You’ll need to find the best power-up for that specific scenario and decide on the optimal time to use it. Each new power-up is more enjoyable than the previous, which is indirectly somewhat of a shame; I would have liked more opportunities to take advantage of the better ones before running out of levels, and I wouldn’t complain about more types of power-ups in general. Thankfully, I found the levels were still enjoyable after multiple plays of the game, so the replayability helps make up for that fact.
One of my favourite parts of Mega Spacehole is the sarcastic, witty comments at the end of each level. Beat a level and you’ll be given a one-liner praising your performance. Get defeated and the sarcastic comment will kick you while you’re down in a way that makes you laugh just enough to forget how terrible you were that round.
The layout of Mega Spacehole is highly polished, so much so that I cannot recall any frustrating elements regarding the game’s design. That’s actually high praise, not many games have everything laid out so well that you don’t notice at least one thing that annoys you after some time. The menus are clear, restarting a level is quick and easy, and the gameplay is intuitive.
Mega Spacehole is a new take on a tried and true gaming formula, and it succeeds at offering some intense arcade shooting gameplay with intuitive controls and some serious challenge. The levels increase in difficulty and will eventually have you strategizing the best way to use the available power-ups. I would’ve enjoyed additional power-ups and levels, but that should be a good indication that I truly enjoyed Mega Spacehole enough to crave more. Thankfully, the replayability is high enough to keep you entertained, so you’ll get your money’s worth. You won’t cruise through all the levels with ease, but the sarcastic one-liners will lessen the blow when you get overcome with enemies. If you’ve enjoyed the arcade shooter genre in the past, you’ll have a blast with Mega Spacehole.
Check out our interview with the developers of Mega Spacehole: