Review: Tiny Space
Here's a nice bit of 'single screen tactical action' for the weekend. Tiny Space puts you in control of one of three space stations, all with the goal of eliminating the other two. At your disposal is a constantly (but slowly) replenishing fleet of space fighters to attack the other stations. But if you attack too hard, you'll leave your station undefended.
Version Reviewed: 188.8.131.52
Tiny Space is a delight to play,. It looks so simple when you first open the game, but once you start to play you're going to find a little tactical wonder.
First up is the balance between attack and defence. There's no way to split your fleet up to send half to attack and hold back the others. A single finger tap sets the destination of your fleet and they'll shoot down anything that gets in the way before they meet their heroic death and head to Valhalla.
By the virtue of having two enemies, attacking one of them will open up one of your flanks for the other enemy to swing in behind your fighters and wipe them out... or they'll head for your vulnerable space station, which might be throwing out new fighters as fast as it can, but the eight that will be produced aren't enough to take on a whole fleet.
So there's an element of movement here that you need to consider. Your fleet need to be positioned to threaten attack, but also stay close enough to home to be able to defend it. A few feints, watch what the others are doing, and when the time is right and the other forces are tied up against each other, head in for an attack on the space station.
It's worth pointing out that the 'sit around and wait' strategy will not work. You only have a finite number of fighters on the screen at any one time, so there's no waiting forever to build up a huge fleet. If you have too many on screen, your station will simply not produce any more.
And it's vital that you actually go into combat as often as possible, because every destroyed enemy fighter, or damage to opposing space stations, will earn you points, and these points can be used to improve the attributes of your fighters. You can buy better weaponry, improved armour, faster craft and more health, so everything can last just a little bit longer.
Adding in this instant upgrade mechanism forces you, as a player, to be more attack minded, which keeps the game moving along at a good pace. While it is well paced, it's unlikely that you'll be victorious during a Tiny Space game because the opposing forces are well balanced and everyone has sufficient reserves to keep bringing up new fighters. You need to keep your concentration up so that nothing slips through, and take advantage of every attack option you get.
That's what makes Tiny Space so intriguing for me. It manages to present so many strategic options in a single screen, matches it up with a simple to use interface, and leaves you alone to work out your own methods and strategies. There's no hand-holding here, the developers assume you can be left to get on with it yourself - and that's a decision I fully agree with. Throw in the three skill settings which really make a difference (seriously, that hard mode is going to need some careful planning and quick reactions) and there is a huge amount of gameplay on offer.
The title is not for everyone, there are very few bells and whistles, but what Tiny Space does, it does well. For those with an affinity for this sort of game, this is the snack sized game that hits the spot, and really satisfies the tactical urge.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at