Developer: TriPaw Games
Release Date: July 27, 2021
This game is meant to be played in super-short bursts, so despite playing for a very short time, I feel like I have a really good handle on what the game is about.
For a long time, when it came to games, it seems like everyone just decided that bigger was better. Longer playtimes, intricate storylines, oodles of side quests, and tons of upgrades and mechanics were the recipe for success. None of these things are present in In Space No One Can Hear You Clean. This game is a throwback to the arcade days, when games were super short in an attempt to pull more and more quarters from player pockets.
Everything you need to know about the game is on the (admittedly, cluttered) title screen. As soon as you start the game, a timer starts ticking down. If you want more time, you need to safely deliver space junk to the receptacle in the center of your screen. Smaller junk gives you almost no extra time at all, but is safe and easy to collect. Larger junk can be dangerous, and will destroy your collector if it’s not adequately slowed before you grab it. The game is an incredibly simple, and brutally difficult score-chaser with rounds that can last mere seconds.
I played my first round on my computer with the keyboard. It was a very short round indeed. Using K and L as the keys to either attract or slow the debris was something I couldn’t get my head around. I decided to try instead with a controller, and rather than plug one into my PC, I installed it on the Steam Deck. Using a controller felt far more natural, and I was actually able to recycle a few things before ramming into a rock and blowing up my ship.
As a total package, this game just works. The movement feels exactly the way you’d expect, even when you’re bogged down by carrying too much stuff at a time. Load times are nearly non-existent, so it’s easy to just jump back into another round over and over. All it’s missing is a few options – I would have liked the ability to toggle off the sound, and to rebind keys, but the game also is just fine as it is.
While SteamDB estimates that In Space No One Can Hear You Clean has sold less than 100 copies on Steam, both reviewers recommend the game. It is ranked 6397 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.