Little Space Heroes: Ambitious Dreams In Space
Bubble Gum Interactive is trying something new in Australian game development. Its team may be small but its project is anything but: a cleverly written, visually appealing and fun MMO aimed at children named Little Space Heroes. Combining all of the elements that make a great MMO appealing and condensing them down for a young audience is no easy task, but this Sydney studio seems to have the formula worked out as it heads into its first phase of beta testing.
Little Space Heroes allows gamers to create a cute avatar that can be a boy, girl or Alien as they blast off into the rich game world to track down the evil Lord Shadowbot and discover the location of the missing glows. It’s quite surprising to see so much depth hidden in these non-linear quests that lead you across the galaxy, but once you learn a little more about the company it’s easy to see why the world is so detailed.
Behind the scenes Bubble Gum Interactive is made up of aspiring writers who have a passion for story telling, and it really shows as you explore foreign worlds - all with their own distinct back story and tales. From a story perspective Little Space Heroes would rival the storytelling prowess of the adult MMOs out there such as RIFT or World of Warcraft.
Being a game focused at children doesn’t mean adults can’t have fun too. Quite a large portion of the content we experienced during our hands-on with the game was quite humorous and effective - getting the point across to younger players, while managing to provide something for presumably their parents. This creates an interesting idea - an MMO that kids can play with their Mum and Dad? Who would have thought we’d see the day.
The artists should be commended for their impressive work on Little Space Heroes - the world is literally bursting with colour and detail, which certainly adds to the overall experience. The art style is definitely unique, so much so that we wouldn’t mind seeing some animated shorts as an offshoot of the game.
Like all good MMOs Little Space Heroes also offers a social element that works well for children. Players can go and hang out in a number of locations and eat together, play together and jump into mini-games together. There is also the inclusion of a chat box that will allow them to interact. The developer has taken a great number of precautions with what content can actually be typed - no number characters, swear words or variations will make it past their filter. If a word is flagged as “banned” it won’t type, yet if you try to mask something to bypass the filter, if it isn’t a “real” word then it won’t pass either. This should ensure that the game world stays clean and friendly for everyone.
In an interesting move Bubble Gum Interactive are adopting the free-to-play business model that we’ve seen in other successful titles such as League of Legends and APB Reloaded. This will give players access to most content on offer, however for those who want to pay for a premium account you will have far more customisation available to you. This way everyone can have the chance to experience the game before making a commitment, something that we feel works in favour of the experience.
Little Space Heroes is ambitious, however it seems that Bubble Gum Interactive is more than capable of creating a deep and fun experience for a market that is often bombarded with educational puzzle games. Offering younger players a vast and exciting galaxy to explore with their friends in real-time is a novel idea, and one that we think is really going to take off.
By Stephen Heller
You can check out Little Space Heroes and sign up for the beta on the official website.