Altered Space is a Good Idea hampered by Bad Controls

3-D games back in the 80s and 90s weren’t always what they were cracked up to be. They would use a first-person or isometric perspective to fake a 3-D world. Altered Space uses an isometric view.

This doesn’t work on the Game Boy’s small screen. It shrinks the play field down to the center of the screen, and for some reason, the controls are added to the top of the screen. It might be an attempt to tell you what button you pushed like you wouldn’t know.

This game is a great idea, but it didn’t work out on the Game Boy. I think it would have been better if this was on the NES or the SNES. There were isometric games on the SNES, which pulled off this perspective much better.

TLDR: Good idea, Hampered by Technical Limitations.


There isn’t much on this game. Soft Creations made Altered Space. It was released in 1991 in Japan, North America, and Europe.

The game was the first isometric game on the Game Boy. That is something that I found interesting. While I wouldn’t say I like it because an isometric view can make it hard to tell where you’re moving, it is cool that this was the first attempt at doing this. It is also impressive that the developers were able to pull it off.

There are very few critical reviews on this game. I usually don’t bring this up, but I thought it was interesting here. It was like the game was released and forgotten about.


In Altered Space, you play as an astronaut named Humphrey. He has been captured and is in prison on an alien ship. Your goal is to escape back to Earth. That is all you need to know.


This is an action-puzzle game that tries to pull off a 3-D perspective. I don’t think it did this all that well.

You move your character from room to room, avoiding obstacles and trying to solve puzzles. The game’s goal is to escape from the ship where you’re trapped.

Instead of using extra lives in the game, your air meter acts as the life meter. When your character dies, you lose half of your air. It is a nice way of doing things but it still creates a game where you have one-hit deaths.  

You have some power-ups in the game. Things like extra air and weapons can be found. However, I was having issues with picking up the items. This was very annoying! If I had the manual, I could figure out the issue earlier.

Controlling your character is hampered by the isometric perspective. It makes it hard to tell where you’re jumping, and describing what you’re supposed to do isn’t easy. It was also hard to tell what the game expected you to do at times.


This is the most significant hazard in the game. The isometric perspective is a problem, and the small screen size makes it hard to tell what is happening. It is also hard to tell what is a hazard and what isn’t.

Lining up your jumps can be a pain in the ass because of the perspective. It is one of the many reasons that I wouldn’t say I like playing isometric games.

It looks good at first, but the more you play this game, the more you realize it doesn’t work out on the Game Boy screen. It is very detailed but too small, even for the Game Boy.  

6.5/10. I think this was a good idea, and it looked better than it played. The isometric perspective and the level of detail in the game ended up shrinking the playfield. This was a detriment to the game. This could have been a side scroller and probably better.


  • It was a good idea
  • It looks good at first
  • Controls are okay


  • The isometric view is awful
  • Small screen size


This is a game that I didn’t like, but it had some great ideas. Someone had to be the first to try an isometric game on the Game Boy, and here it is. It is a technical achievement to see it, even if I don’t like it at all.

This game could be better. It isn’t dull or anything like that. Once you get past the visuals, it is an average game trying to do something different.

Published by Paul Werkema

Hi! I'm here to share my hobbies with all of you. I love video games and books, so I write about the books that cover video games or are novels about video games.

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