Space exploration games are their own little genre right now and there’s a fair amount of them vying for gamer’s attention. Despite all these games of grand scale like No Man’s Sky and Elite Dangerous or the more intricate Kerbal Space Program; there’s not really a space exploration game out there with a 2D arcade style apart from ADIOS Amigos.
The plot and objective of the game is very simple: find your way home. A few tutorials show you the basic mechanics of the game before you get thrown into the first solar system. Each solar system actually acts like a level rather than the game being an open universe to explore. Getting to a new system is done via a Z-jump which is made available by making enough discoveries in the current solar system. You also get two extra journeys that are made available as you progress.
Discoveries are split into various categories which can be viewed from the main menu. Some discoveries may just be fossils in a cave, others may be actual living creatures. The most important thing you’ll want to find is energy sources for your ship. In rare cases a discovery may be a permanent unlock such as a new astronaut, ship or M.A.D hat. Ships and astronauts have different effects depending on the type you pick so you can kind of change your playstyle or challenge yourself. Each discovery also earns points which go to a total for that run, earning you a place on the leaderboards for that journey (as long as you don’t use shortcuts).
Every system is procedurally generated which is great because even though the gameplay is fairly simple besides the gravity system (which is sort of like KSP in that you have to account for the gravitational pull of planets) it still remains interesting each time since you can get into different situations every system. One that really threw me off was a system in which there was no sun, or one that just consisted of a black hole and giant asteroid field. Some rare systems are also hidden by finding signs that point to them before your Z-jump. I only found one leading to a system referencing everyone’s favourite Italian plumber but there are various other references hidden throughout.
Combat doesn’t exist in ADIOS Amigos but there are various environmental hazards to watch out for such as asteroids hitting planets, suns, black holes and desolate space stations. It leaves just one problem with the game in that the only thing to do is discover things. There are a few crazy things you can try for jokes like slamming a space station into a planet or riding a sofa around space but unless you’re in co-op you lose a lot of potential to try setting up crazy things. Co-op also only consists of local, up to 4 players; so no online sadly. There is a rookie mode though that simplifies mechanics even further and stops things like being able to exit the ship in deep space, making the game accessible to kids as well.