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Space Hopper

  • Currently 4.6/5
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Rating: 4.6/5 (27 votes)
Comments (23) | Views (6,057)

JaySpace HopperEschewing the classic pixel art we are used to seeing in favor of a more spacey, out of this world appearance, Nitrome delivers yet another original and engaging platformer unlike any you may have played before.

The objective in Space Hopper is to find and collect all of the stars scattered about each level. Collecting them all will open a warp gate that unlocks the next level and takes you to it. You will need to navigate by "hopping" across a system of moving planets, orbiting moons and yes, even death stars, to find them all.

Control is with the arrow keys only: use the [right] arrow key to move clockwise; use the [left] arrow to move counter-clockwise. Press [up] arrow to jump. Jumping when another planet is close enough will catch its gravity and pull you over to it, reorienting you in the process. Some planets have different properties, so you will need to be careful and adjust your movements accordingly.

As levels progress, various elements are introduced that make the navigation and star collection more difficult. You are given unlimited time with which to complete a level, but you have only 4 hearts to your health meter. Coming in contact with an element other than a planet will most certainly harm you and reduce your health meter by 1. Use up all health and you will have to restart the level from the beginning.

There are 15 unlockable levels to this amazing and addictive game. Simple enough to pick-up and play right away, and yet just the right amount of difficulty added to make beating a level very gratifying. And for those of you looking for an even greater challenge, collect the red stars of each level in order for bonus points.

Analysis: Space Hopper is another Nitrome classic and a lot of fun to play. The gameplay and physics feel polished, and the art direction, even though a departure from the characteristic pixel graphics, fits the gameplay very nicely. I am consistently impressed to see Mat and Heather come up with something completely different each time they release a new game, and Space Hopper does not disappoint in that regard.

There isn't much to nitpick here, but I will mention that any game of this calibre should support configurable keys for control. Not everyone has the same keyboard, and not everyone is right-handed. Also, before the end of the 3rd level I was reaching for the music off button. At first I enjoyed the music, but the same loop is used for every level and it becomes annoying after a while. The same can be said for the sound effects. A little variation in sounds that occur frequently can make a huge difference and provide greater mileage for these important assets.

So button up those space boots and get hopping!

Play Space Hopper


Yeess! I love all nitrome releases (except that darn impossible balloon one).


You forgot to mention its excruciatingly slow. Why ruin an otherways fun game concept by boring its audience to death waiting to do one single jump etc.? Too many games have this problem.


gosh i do love these nitrome games.

actually, the gameplay reminds me a little bit of that mindscape game that was linked yesterday, what with the changing orientation, and the overall dizziness.

it is just challenging enough to keep me going back every time i die, lol.


Insens - Never did the game "bore me to death". Me thinks you might be just a little too impatient. Perhaps this game is not for you.

That being said, I was going to mention in the review (but forgot) that the pace in the game is sometimes a bit slow as you wait for a planet to make another rotation. This is minimized, to an extent, with multiple planets orbiting each other, but there will be times when you find yourself waiting for that 'right moment'.


this game is pretty good. the production values are really impressive and the only real problem i had with it is the pacing. however, that is not a big enough problem to spoil the game. maybe the pacing could have been a little better if the game had more complicated gravitation and you could slingshot and stuff instead of just jumping up onto another planet.


Insens, oh people are so stressy today, and take their stress even into their games.

Take some buddhistish patience, or some quietism.

Brandon May 15, 2007 4:07 PM

Almost every Nitrome game is highly likable, but I never feel like they're very good. This is no exception.


Brandon - how about some constructive criticism? Saying a game isn't very good is pointless without some additional information to back it up. Like an essay without citations.

Regardless, I happen to disagree. Nitrome arguably creates the world's best Flash games. They are all very pleasing aesthetically, original, well polished, contain console-quality features and gameplay modes, and all run in the convenience of a Web browser. That's at least a "very good" rating, if ever there was one.

mojassty May 15, 2007 4:22 PM

I agree with Insens. This game would be a lot better if it were a bit faster. As it is, my patience ran out about halfway through level 3.


If the game were faster it would also likely be more difficult, which is not something this game needs. It is plenty difficult as is.

Perhaps if there were a mechanism to fast-forward the scene—like a right-click in Peggle—that would go a long way to appease all the impatient folks out there.

I actually prefer the slower pacing of the game. There are far too many games that pit the player against the clock. Timers are for the hardcore; I'm just a casual gamer. =)


I am sure that Nitrome made a very deliberate choice when they decided to have this games running at what some posters here call "slow pacing".
I like the speed the way it is, because it gives me an "outer space"-feeling when playing, reminding me of the slow movements of real-life astronauts out on an EVA. If it was any faster, it simply wouldn't feel like the game was set in a series of low-gravity asteroid belts.
Apart from that, I felt fondly reminded of "The Little Prince" and his bi-volcanoe, one-rose planet. I am still hoping for a lamplighter to turn up in one of the later levels.


It _is_ interesting how similar this is to the recently-posted Mindscape -- if you want this game sped up a bit, that's the one you should play (I prefer the faster speed, myself... and Mindscape is kookier).


Nitrome, thanks for putting out so many fun games. I do like this game, but it was even cooler in my head. This is due largely to two minor gripes.

I'm not sure I like the physics. It's too sudden of a jerk when you enter another planet's gravity well. I'd like to see this game redesigned so that the gravity works more like it does in the game Orbit. I'd be a fun twist that you're actually trying to land on the planets. It doesn't need to be a huge change to the gameplay, but I'd like to have one continuous gravity field so that skilled players can slingshot from planetoid to planetoid without landing. Does that make any sense? You can tell because if you jump, and then a planet moves into the path of your fall, you won't be pulled toward that planet even if you're practically touching it. It only seems to "flip" you if you're on your way up. That's not what I'd expect.

Also, I have a minor usability gripe that is widespread throughout the flash design world. I dislike games where you have to switch control. Many games, especially Nitrome games, require you to take your hands off the keyboard between levels in order to select something with the mouse. If you're going to code a game to be controlled with the keyboard, make the menus controllable with the keyboard as well as the mouse.

Alex Miller May 15, 2007 11:25 PM

I have to confirm the opinion of everyone who didn't like this game. Though Nitrome is definitely my favorite game developer, I was quickly bored by Space Hopper. The gameplay is very clumsy. Even a game which is challenging should have smooth controls and feel intuitive, but the way the little space character behaved was often unexpected (being dragged toward planets I didn't expect him to be, walking in an unexpected direction, etc...) In addition the pacing is incredibly frustrating. Getting stuck waiting for a planet to make it's rotation is simply no fun.

From an aesthetic point of view, I think it's obvious this game isn't on par with Nitrome's previous works, particularly Skyrail and Frost Bite. The planets/stars have a very sloppy, unappealing look which is in stark contrast to the usual clean pixel art we've always seen from Nitrome. Now, I realize they deliberately took a new visual direction, and I'm not saying that pixel art is the only acceptable style. But Space Hopper is simply a very ugly game.

FInally, one aspect I found really lacking was the "exploration" side of the game. I loved Frost Bite because the world was so interesting to look at, and each new level presented a new little world to explore. But in Space Hopper I have no incentive to reach the next level, because it looks exactly like the previous one!

Though I agree with Jay when he says, "Nitrome arguably creates the world's best Flash games.", I believe that Space Hopper doesn't live up at all to Nitrome's standards.


I appreciate your feedback and constructive criticism, Alex, and yet you and I must have played different games.

To me, each level in Space Hopper was quite different from the one before it, visually as well as the challenge it presented.

Also, jumping from planet to planet as well as moving around them seemed quite logical to me. Granted, it was a little disorienting at first with the keys affecting clockwise versus counter-clockwise movement instead of left and right, but I quickly warmed up to that.

In terms of aesthetics, you're comparing the crisp pixel art of their other work with the soft glow and blur filters used in this game to give it a more spacey feel. To say "not on par" is not being fair since glows and blurs will look muddy when compared to pixel art. It's just not the same.

That all being said, I do agree that this game may be a bit simpler than the others. But I don't feel that diminishes it at all. On the contrary. Space Hopper is one of my favorite Nitrome games because of it.


Sorta feels like MindScape, eh?

'Cept without all them crazy robots trying to punch ya.


The gravity / jumping mechanics were my main gripe - I love physics games (Gish, Strange Attractors, etc.) and I found the simplistic gravity detection and the physics-defying 'flip' that you do very annoying. Expert moves were a hit-and-miss thing, with no way to predict when something would work, or not.

Alex Miller May 17, 2007 12:47 AM


In Space Hopper, the planets are arranged differentely and are of different sizes - the levels are different. But I don't feel like I'm in a new world, a new place. Now granted I only played through the first 3 levels, but I honestly didn't notice much visual variety. The first two levels use the same four planets. There is also one type of creep, and one type of spiky ball. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that means in the first three or four minutes of gameplay I only see five different "pieces". On the other hand, I saw at least 30 different tiles in the first 5 minutes of Frost Bite. The third level did have another style of planet, but that one planet was used for every planet in the level! (Technically I guess there were more than one, but they looked almost the same).

I admit that I am a big fan of pixel art. But there are many games which have sparked my interest which feature blurry or fuzzy graphics like this one. The green planet in the first two levels I found especially appalling, against the purplish background of space. The color usage in the game was abominable.

When you say, "[the controlling] was a little disorienting at first", I think you make a big understatement. You must remember that you've played tons of flash games, so you're somewhat of a "gamer". If you were able to master the controls of this game quickly, you must factor that in. Other casual gamers get very frustrated (such as myself). I believe one of the most important parts of a game is the learning curve, and troublesome gameplay at the beginning can totally ruin a game for me.

What I feel is happening is a kind of fan-boyish attitude when it comes to Nitrome. I know jayisgames generally likes to give positive reviews, which I have no problem with. But it seems like with each new Nitrome release, the response is, "THIS IS THE BEST GAME EVER!"

Our fondness of Nitrome as a game developer may blind us to the fact that some of their releases are just plain lame.


Hi Alex, I understand where you're coming from with respect to the controls. But the environments are all outer space(!) so how much variety do you expect to see? I think it's a given that the environments cannot possibly be as full and lush as Frost Bite.

And I am not being a Nitrome fanboy in my lauding of this game. Everything about it just felt right to me especially when you take on the challenge of going for all the red stars in order.

Believe me when I tell you I've seen lame Flash games, and this isn't one of them.


I completed "Space hopper" this morning and I really enjoyed it. What I liked most was:
* The fact that your progress is always saved.
* The cute monsters (although I was yearning for a harpoon rifle to shoot them off their little planets and into space).
* The overall polished looks.
* The fact that on the ice planets, there are drops that froze halfway down the planet, which makes it look like there is some downward gravity after all and that the planets are really suspended by invisible threads like in some pre-WWII-SF-flick.
* The degree of difficulty which, like in Frost Bite, was just right for me to play it all the way to the end without getting stuck too often (although I did get stuck for some time in level 12).

What I didn't like was the sometimes dodgy collision check on the lava planets.

With regard to what Alex said about "little variation", I believe Nitrome's principle was "one new thing per level" so you either get a new planet or a new monster per level. I can't see there's anything wrong or too monotonous about that.


I guess we'll agree to disagree :)


This game isn't as bad as people say- the only thing missing was some sort of weapon the spaceman (is it spaceman?) could use.
Oh, and the icy planets should have had a bit more friction.

Patreon Crew SonicLover April 28, 2008 7:09 AM

Come to think about it, I don't think the spaceman even had arms.


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