Frontier Development’s Tales from Deep Space, formerly only available for Amazon Fire products, sets the stage for an intriguing intergalactic adventure from the very beginning. You’re a traveling salesman named E who finds that, after having landed on the space station Big Moon, his suitcase has been swiped. The culprit? A skeevy old alien named Junker. Together with the help of CASI (“Combat Assured Secure Inventory,” for the uninitiated) you and E will chase after Junker to ensure you can finally get your hands back on that precious cargo.
It doesn’t help that you’re embarking on this crazy journey right in the middle of some sort of uprising from the malevolent Meeks who have overrun the space station, but together E and CASI can save the day. That’s where you come in. You must control both E and CASI in this two-person puzzle game while navigating the enormous space station riddled with different platforms, elevators, and other locales.
Both characters are playable and are controlled via drawing a line from the character you wish to move in the direction you need to go. You don’t need to worry about directing either E or CASI when it comes to making jumps or performing most actions, as they’ll do this automatically. Just like in most cooperative platformers, most of the time you’ll have to split your happy pair up so one character can unlock a door or flip a switch for the one below. Or maybe you’ll have to come up with a more clever solution for the puzzles you’re presented with. Either way, Tales from Deep Space never gets so complicated that you feel as though your progress is being impeded.
Most puzzles feel simple and tie up easily, allowing for few obtuse situations that make you want to toss your device out the window. But there are some grievances that stem from Tales from Deep Space, and they mostly deal with the several combat situations in the game. While there are, sometimes, other methods to get past enemies beyond blowing them to smithereens, sometimes you’ll be all but forced into facing off against the bad guys. In many sections, it becomes a battle against the normally excellent controls to take out enemies before they blast you first.
For example, if you need to use a secondary ability you must tap and hold the on-screen button. As you can imagine, this can shave off some precious seconds if things get dire. These segments feel forced and a lot less satisfying than the simple back-and-forth puzzle-solving sections, and as such feel a bit out of sorts when you consider the laid back tone of the rest of the game. Luckily they don’t happen quite often, so they’re a small oversight in the larger scheme of things.
The single-player campaign is rife with plenty of enjoyable puzzles with gentle challenges, and a fair amount of areas to conquer even with a friend. If you’ve got a secondary device you can enjoy the game with another player. Or you can enter the multiplayer arena if you’re feeling particularly skillful. This is a fantastic game for both single players who enjoy problem-solving with multiple characters as well as families, so there’s a bit of content in it for everyone. The graphics are great as well and really capture that “Pixar-look.” The visuals truly show how much the iOS line-up and mobile games in general have matured.
I quite enjoyed my time with Tales from Deep Space and surmise you will, too. It’s a colorful and easily digestible collection of engaging character-swapping puzzles with heart, and if you’re looking for a few hours of fun on the go, you can’t go wrong here.
DISCLAIMER: The founder of Gamezebo is an an Amazon employee, but did not contribute or otherwise have any input into the content of the article.