Heavenly Bodies
Gameplay 8
Graphics 9
Sound 9

Heavenly Bodies is a great combination of fun and frustration featuring hapless cosmonauts trying to complete tasks in zero gravity. Even mundane actions, such as pulling switches and wielding tools, are more challenging due to the control scheme. It is certainly not a game for the easily frustrated as the physics-based gameplay and intentionally tricky controls can wreak havoc on your carefully laid plans. However, struggling through the missions with a friend is both hilarious and rewarding.

Gameplay: Requires a controller to be played properly but offers a lot of fun despite the frustration.

Graphics: The whole visual aesthetic of the game is excellent.

Sound: Excellent soundtrack and sound effects

Summary 8.7 Outstanding
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Heavenly Bodies

Developer: 2pt Interactive | Publisher: 2pt Interactive| Release Date: 2021 | Genre: Puzzle / Simulation / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

There has always been something a little eerie about watching those grainy vintage films about early space missions. Perhaps it’s the unfathomable depths of space or the looming sense of dread that something could go wrong at any moment. But, of course, if something did go wrong, there was very little that could be done from earth for the brave souls risking life and limb in the name of scientific progress. Heavenly Bodies by 2pt Interactive perfectly captures this feeling of being a 1970s space cosmonaut who has to rely on their own skill and ingenuity to complete a series of challenging missions in zero gravity.

Heavenly Bodies opens with players arriving at a space station and immediately tasked with restoring power to the facility. Although players can tackle the game alone, it is clear that the missions were designed with local co-op in mind. It is still perfectly playable in solo mode, but mishaps are never quite as hilarious, and there’s nobody else to blame when things invariably go very wrong.

While the missions in Heavenly Bodies are all very straightforward, the big draw for this title is the control scheme and physics. Instead of being given complete control of their cosmonauts, players can only control their limbs. This is also the reason why the game was very much designed with a controller in mind. Each analog stick is dedicated to an arm while the triggers are used for grasping. Players can also use the shoulder buttons to pull up their cosmonauts’ legs, but this feels a bit cramped, so it’s a good thing the buttons can be remapped. It obviously takes a while to get used to the controls, and the lack of gravity also increases the challenge exponentially. The result is a game that can be toe-curlingly, teeth clenching frustrating, but somehow highly entertaining and addictive at the same time.

At the start of each mission, players receive a guidebook with clear instructions on what needs to be accomplished. These objectives can range from launching a telescope into space, establishing a healthy garden to replenish oxygen supplies, or even retrieving mineral samples from an asteroid field. Each mission is broken down into a series of smaller steps. For example, players have to attach the top and bottom solar panels, receiver, and processor to assemble the space telescope while unpacking the cargo delivery and removing the lens cap after attaching the lens. Accomplishing any of this with debris swirling about, players crashing into each other, or momentum sending players careening off in the wrong direction is as challenging as it is funny.

The only way to move around efficiently in Heavenly Bodies is to push, pull and twist your astronaut in the right direction. This is challenging enough on the default “classic” mode, but opting for “Newtonian” mode makes it even trickier. Thankfully, the game also has an “assisted” mode that allows cosmonauts to float in the direction they are pointed without struggling too much. Once all the objectives have been completed, players must return to the command console to radio in their success. Even with the stiff challenge, the seven missions on offer don’t take too long to complete, but thankfully there are some optional objectives for players to sink their teeth into too. Not only does each level have a secret collectible to find, but to complete the challenges, players might have to complete levels within strict time limits or use the Newtonian mode.

Visually, Heavenly Bodies is a great-looking game, and the developers used archival space photography and technical illustrations as inspiration for the style. The result is a game that captures the clean and clinical look of a space station and the vastness of space. However, since it is a physics-based game, there’s also plenty of debris along with wires and whatever is not tethered swirling about. In addition to cosmetically contributing to the chaos, these objects can also hinder your efforts to get from point a to b. Heavenly Bodies is a 2D game, but the camera can twist as your cosmonaut changes orientation. Fortunately, it is possible to orient the camera again with just a tap of a button, provided you can get your cosmonaut to stay pointed in the right direction long enough.

As with the visuals, the developers of Heavenly Bodies have done a great job with the sound design. The soundtrack is there when something interesting happens but fades into the background when you are trying to focus on solving the challenges in your way. The sound effects are equally impressive, and the various hums, beeps, and alarms perfectly capture the otherwordly feel of the space station. The controls are obviously intentionally rage-inducing, but that’s kind of the point of the game. It often feels like anything that can go wrong does, and it’s hard not to grimace when you attempt to pull a lever, and instead, your cosmonaut manages to wedge their head between the lever and the wall. It’s also not uncommon to painstakingly inch your way towards something only to mess up and overshoot your target or go flailing off in a different direction. A special mention should also go to the mineral mining mission where the craft you pilot feels like it was designed to fly you off into deep space instead of towards where you want to go.

Ultimately, the amount of fun you’ll have with Heavenly Bodies is going to depend on how much patience you have and how tolerant you are of frustration. Missions are not very long, and the inclusion of checkpoints is welcome, but we suspect that some players might lose a controller or two in the process if they are easily frustrated. We strongly suggest taking a partner along for the ride, but it is a pity that only local co-op and Steam Remote Play is supported instead of a proper online mode. Since there’s no split-screen, it forces players to stay close together, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on how clumsy you or your partner is. Overall, though, we thoroughly enjoyed Heavenly Bodies, and the challenges kept us coming back even after we completed the missions. As with all of these physics-based games, it is not going to be something for everyone, but if you are not scared of the challenge, there’s a lot of fun to be had here.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit and greater
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 or AMD equivalent
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GTX 660
  • DirectX: Version 10
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Controller Recommended
  • OS: OS X 10.12
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Controller Recommended

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