Altered Space, Game Boy

Altered Space is a somewhat obscure isometric platform puzzle game that was developed by British developer Software Creations and released exclusively for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1991.

You play as Humphrey, a “brave astronaut”, who is trapped inside an alien spacecraft and who must escape, while avoiding contact with hostiles and also keep his oxygen levels replenished.

Humphrey can jump, and can also change direction while in mid air, which is useful (vital, even). He can also pick up useful items by standing on them and pressing the ‘b’ button. Pressing the Select button brings up an inventory that allows you change between active items. Pressing the Start button gives access to the computer databanks, although you must unlock those first before you can see them.

Some platforms move and can be used to navigate deadly floors, or jump over high walls. Certain blocks can also be picked-up and placed in specific places to help Humphrey reach high-up places or block enemies from touching him.

As you explore you’ll find keys to open doors, weapons, oxygen tanks, and circuit jammers. I couldn’t actually figure out how to actually fire a weapon though. Activating the stun gun on the inventory screen just seemed to make it disappear…

One thing that is interesting is that you can fall down through open floors into rooms below you. This is sometimes annoying as you then have to make your way back up to where you were before, but other times it can lead you to areas you’ve not discovered yet. There’s a lot of trial and error in Altered Space, which will be tiresome to some.

While I wouldn’t call Altered Space a “great” Game Boy game (I don’t think it’s quite as good as Monster Max, and it is frustrating to play initially), it’s still not a bad game and it is definitely a challenge working out what to do and how to make progress. Be prepared for lots of deaths and restarts at the beginning, but eventually you should be able to make some headway, and it is satisfying to at least make it to the second stage. Whether you’d have the patience to get any further than that is down to individual tolerances and how much you like the game.

More: Altered Space on Wikipedia

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