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Flatspace 1.09

Score: 78%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Cornutopia
Developer: Cornutopia
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

Flatspace offers gamers a unique and challenging experience as a space trader in a flag universe. However, despite its low cost as a downloadable game, Flatspace’s difficulty is simply too high to be enjoyable for most players.

While Flatspace may suffer from a high difficulty, visually the game is nothing but wonderful. The various 3D ships and bases may be on the basic side in terms of complexity - this is only a downloadable game after all - but they fit this flat universe in a very appropriate way. Many of the areas are also covered in a strange ethereal fog of varying colors that helps enhance your immersion into this mysterious realm.

The sound and music are equally appealing. The various ships have their engine, weapon, and explosion sounds, and haunting melodies follow through just about every area.


Flatspace is a very open ended game. The player is allowed to select their profession and go out into the universe to make their own fortune. The two main forms of income are trading goods and performing missions. Unfortunately, the missions are often impossible to complete, as by the time you get anywhere near where the mission objective lies, some other computer-controlled player ends up doing the mission first or destroying whoever it was you were supposed to capture or rescue.

The player is allowed a very interesting method of interaction with the other computer-controlled citizens of Flatspace through the radio. Besides being used for things like distress calls and calling for the police, you can target specific ships or bases and ask for their ship designation, or demand any number of threats. Be careful who you threaten though as many people won’t take kindly to the aggressive behavior and may decide to turn around and blow you up before you even know what’s going on. Likewise, if you chose a less legal profession, like space pirate, you must also avoid areas with high law enforcement as they will come after you as soon as they see you.

The universe of Flatspace exists as a 2-D grid divided up into square sectors. Your normal engines allow you to travel around in a specific sector of space, while your hyper-drive allows you to move from one sector to another. Unfortunately, you can’t move very far in one hyper-jump and the drive requires a lengthy cool off period, which makes cross-universe travel a very slow process.

The player is given a healthy offering of ways to customize their ship, including crews, weapons systems, tractor beams, scanners, and escape pods. If you have a larger vessel, you can even stockpile your own little band of fighters to come out and assist you in combat.


Sadly, all of this rousing good fun is severely dampened by the game's absolutely extreme difficulty. You are on even turf with the computer ships, and in the early going, you are extremely vulnerable. It may be tough love to say this, but the combat training option is laughable as even in the first level you will be destroyed by your first two opponents in short order. It is only through sheer will and lots of time will you overcome Flatspace’s very unforgiving initial difficultly spike.

To make matters even worse, the default mode in Flatspace is permanent death. When you die, all saved games attached to that character are erased. When combined with the harsh difficultly, the game becomes a very masochistic endeavor. Thankfully, the game offers an “undead” mode, in which your saved games are retained, but the high score list is disabled (to prevent numerous identical entries).

Game Mechanics:

To top off this initial difficulty spike, the combat controls in Flatspace will take some getting used to. You control your ship with the mouse, and the arrow keys, should you choose. For a long time, you will suffer pretty badly in combat as the enemy ships will fly circles around you. When you finally learn to stay away from enemy weapons, you’ll run the risk of dying from running into just about anything flying around.

Flatspace is a very engaging and unique little game. Its only shortcoming is its severely unforgiving nature to new players. Had they introduced some sort of tutorial or introduction, the game would easily be twice as good.

-Alucard, GameVortex Communications
AKA Stephen Triche

Minimum System Requirements:

MS Windows 98/ME/XP/NT/2000, DirectX 9.0 or higher, 500mhz CPU, 3D Graphics Card, 60Mb HD space

Test System:

Windows XP, DirectX 9.0c, Pentium 4 2.8 GHz, Radeon 9800 Pro 256 MB

Sony PlayStation 2 Digimon World 4 Windows GEOM

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated