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Space is Key Review

Posted by Carter Dotson on July 10th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: ChrisJeff Games
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Controls Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar


Space is Key is a game for the strong-willed. Part of the tradition of intentionally-difficult platformers in the vein of titles like The Impossible Game, this game that started as a series of Flash titles has come to iOS as a single app with both Space is Key games and a new "Hell" mode with 30 levels of challenge.

Players can do one thing: jump to avoid obstacles. Obstacles come in at different widths and heights, requiring different timings, of course. These levels are presented one after another after another, not stopping until the player reaches the end. Along the way, an omniscient narrator provides helpful advice, and not-so-helpful ribbing and downright malicious lies.

The narrator goes a long way toward giving the game a personality: the player's not just competing against the challenge, having only one tap to jump in the air, but against this narrator who may not want the player to succeed. At worst, it provides a layer of additional entertainment beyond conquering the challenge presented.

The real value of the game comes in from wanting to reduce the number of total deaths in each level set. There's 130 in total across the three sets, and for an experienced gamer like myself, it took well under an hour to complete all three. However, mastering the physics and memorizing what needs to be done in a level in order to not die so much takes a lot of time. Good luck with that. Sadly, there's no Game Center for competing on completion time or fewest deaths for each level set.

Space is Key is a limited-time challenge, sure, but I enjoyed my brief time with it. I sure showed that disembodied narrator who was boss, though. Me. I'm the boss. Like a boss.

The Portable Podcast, Episode 192

Posted by Carter Dotson on July 9th, 2013

RIP Ryan Davis.

On This Episode:

  • Carter talks to Chris Jeffrey, creator of the Flash game series turned maddening iOS game Space is Key, about the title's transition to mobile, and why making money on mobile is so much different from the Flash game space.
  • Carter talks to Jeff Fal, creator of Dungeonism, about why his game is designed for iPhone – and only for iPhone.

  • Episode Cast:

  • Host: Carter Dotson
  • Guest: Chris Jeffrey, Chris Jeff Games
  • Guest: Jeff Fal, independent developer
  • Music:

    How to Listen:

    Apps From This Episode:

    This Week at 148Apps: July 1-5, 2013

    Posted by Chris Kirby on July 8th, 2013

    Expert App Reviews

    Week-in and week-out, the 148Apps reviewers search through the new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we've been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.


    A surprising amount of apps and games like to think that they can change one’s life. In reality, a select few can actually accomplish something that huge. Most of the remaining few might change small elements, such as providing encouragement for those trying to exercise more or give up a bad habit. SuperBetter is part of an even smaller group: it wants to change and improve everything about one’s life. A lofty ambition but one that I reckon it can accomplish, with the willingness of its users. One such glimpse into the importance of SuperBetter comes from this Ted video from game designer, Jane McGonigal, explaining just why the app can help so much. It’s fascinating stuff and ideal context. Essentially, SuperBetter is about turning life into a game. --Jennifer Allen

    Layton Brothers Mystery Room

    Oh, look, Layton Brothers Mystery Room. Sounds interesting. The name Layton has pretty much become synonymous with puzzle-solving brilliance. The Professor had a knack for solving most of the world’s problems with a little logic, and that talent has apparently been passed on to his progeny. Alfendi Layton, however, is not his father. Mysteries are still a key feature for this particular Layton’s adventures, however Alfendi and his new assistant Lucy Baker (Detective Constable) are out to solve murder mysteries. Two of which are available for free right from the start and seven more that can be purchased for an additional $5. The each case involves mulling over suspects, inspecting a recreated crime scene (because Alfendi is something of a shut-in), questioning suspects/witnesses, and piecing it all together until a solid accusation can be made. In fact, aside from the world and characters Layton Brothers Mystery Room actually bears little resemblance to earlier games in the series. --Rob Rich


    Limbo, the 2010 Xbox Live Arcade release that also made its way to other platforms, has finally come to mobile. For those who have not experienced this haunting puzzle-platformer, this is as good a time as any to jump in. Limbo is dark and mysterious, thanks in part to its silhouetted art style that renders most the world in black and white. There’s little guidance given, as players just kind of have to start running, and taking on the challenges that face them, from tricky jumps to finding ways to dispatch enemies, and avoiding traps. This is very much a horror game, as plenty of opportunities to scare the player are presented. Seriously, this game is nightmare-inducing. The deaths in the game aren’t particularly gory, but they are rather gruesome. That it’s a kid on the receiving end of most of the carnage is part of what makes it unsettling. That, and some of the things that are encountered in the world of Limbo. --Carter Dotson

    Other 148Apps Network Sites

    If you are looking for the best reviews of kids' apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:


    Coolson's Artisanal Chocolate Alphabet

    As some readers may have noticed, I do not personally review many word games. Very few word games gain my attention because I am terrible at these types of puzzles, finding them for the most part frustrating and demoralizing. Therefore, it is quite a compliment from me to have enjoyed reviewing Coolson’s Artisanal Chocolate Alphabet as it is a word game that has won me over with a charming narrative, wonderful sense of style and an abundance of whimsy that I have greatly enjoyed. --Amy Solomon

    The Terrifying Building in Eyeville

    The Terrifying Building in Eyeville is a thoughtfully written and wonderfully illustrated children’s storybook app. This is a very personal storybook developed by Joel Grondrup as his daughter was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the retina. The Terrifying Building in Eyeville is an allegory for this cancer as a small man named Kanser arrives in Eyetown after falling off the back of a truck during a rain storm. He knocks on the door of Mr. Nice and asks if he can start building onto Mr. Nice’s home as he is a traveling builder who looks for houses to build onto. --Amy Solomon


    Space is Key

    The best games, for me, are ones that are simple, easy to control and, more or less mildly infuriating. It’s why I pulled my hair, shedding years while playing Super Hexagon. It’s probably why I find Space is Key so intriguing. It mocks me. To my face. It’s evil. Space is Key is about as simple as they come. Looks-wise, it uses switching primary colors with opposing hues to highlight obstacles. The color changes do an interesting job of creating a psychedelic atmosphere reminiscent of Super Hexagon that doesn’t internet with the gameplay. --Tre Lawrence


    Warmly is an atypical productivity offering from The Chaos Collective that seemingly wants to make the descriptive term “alarm” a misnomer by changing the way we do alarms and wake patterns in the first place. The opening user interface is a clear cut celebration of simplicity, and hints at the design elements that govern the entire app. It gives a scroll-through window for setting the time (with an AM/PM toggle), and nine (9) big square buttons. After a scheduling check-off and an off and ok button, THAT’S IT. Laid against the soothing yellow backdrop, the relatively minimalist viewers are hard not to like. --Tre Lawrence


    Nevosoft’s LandGrabbers is a fun hybrid game that is surprisingly dependent on strategy and quick thinking. The land that makes up this game is ably represented by effective graphics the encompass several mythical environments. In the first stage, the 3D graphics do a good job of giving life to the structures, and further down the line, the scenery becomes even more intricate; rolling hills, stone bridges and shrubbery all add up to cushion the action in a reasonable looking shell. --Tre Lawrence