There’s a peculiar take on how fresh this AR game feels and yet it's nothing more than a one-off experience that you’d probably play and pocket.
With Pokemon Go pulling unbelievable interest from across the globe, it somewhat introduced AR to the masses (my parents) and spun a few controversies around eggs in India as well.
SpacewAR Uprising is not that but it's a great game in itself. Apple’s pushing for AR games more consistently than ever while slipping past the VR trend that came and went so feverishly. In fact, any video game enthusiast might have noticed the lack of VR games from this year’s E3 as well.
So does that mean Augmented Reality is the future? Well, we wouldn’t push it that far but this game does show how incredibly fascinating AR games can be.
The story premise of SpacewAR Uprising is rather dry. It’s a run-of-the-mill story where evil aliens are attacking Earth and you have to defend it. For the sake of storytelling, they’ve gone through the trouble of adding a character called Clomantandria. An evil space alien boss who destroys planets on a whim. You have to protect X-Castera - Earth’s shield - that keeps out stinky alien ships from destroying it.
The game begins with placing the X-Castera on a flat surface but trying to get it to detect a tiled floor is a bit tricky. I had to point the camera towards a carpet or a book on the table for it to detect it as a flat surface.
After doing so, alien ships keep teleporting near you and you have to destroy them before they destroy the shield generator.
In my reality
The real reason SpacewAR Uprising surprises us is the scale at which the game does things. For an iPhone to pull off such high level of graphic fidelity in AR is really astonishing. The game anchors the X-Castera so firmly to scale the entire experience around it that you can’t help but feel immersed in the game.
Pointing your camera upwards to shoot at enemies can seem pretty lame to bystanders. What might look like you taking pictures of your fan or restlessly looking for one bar of network signal, is actually you blasting aliens with lasers and rockets.
The game itself doesn’t have any levels, just hordes of enemies increasing in size and numbers. So you’ll have to start over from scratch every time you die or the phone runs out of juice. Destroyed enemies drop tokens that can be collected by walking towards them and then later exchanged for buying better ships. Just be sure to grab those precious tokens before your arms give up.
The store itself is every bit as AR as you’d wish. You can scroll through ships in the store and have them display on your carpet graciously. It looks very fascinating, for the first time.
SpacewAR Uprising is an interesting AR experience game. I’d like to describe it as an experience because there’s no hooking feature in the game itself. The only real reason you would open the game is because you either want to show it off to loved ones or you’re playing it for the first few times.
There are a few occasional crashes and the phone does heat up quite a bit aside from draining your battery.
That said, it's one of the few fully interactive AR games and with Apple pushing for ARKit 2 we’d be sure to get a few more like these and move on from placing Ikea furniture and measuring dimensions using our cameras.
Download SpacewAR Uprising for iOS