In Space Otter Charlie, you play as an otter… called Charlie… in space… on a mission that takes him through a galaxy of fictional planetary levels. Charlie is part of a team of otternauts (that’s what they call them in this game, I didn’t just make it up) who are sent away on an intergalactic adventure for the greater good of mankind. The gameplay focuses on zero-gravity movement which gives an interesting spin on the usual adventure/platformer formula, and makes for some fun and original gameplay concepts.
OK, the zero-gravity concept is not wholly original of course, but is certainly under-utilised in games and potentially difficult to execute. The developers have grasped it with two hands however, and I’m pleased to say that it has come off pretty well. Space Otter Charlie is a 2D platformer which takes place on a flat plane but rather than jumping your way through a level, you choose a direction with the joystick and then propel Charlie through the air in the direction of your choice. The zero-gravity means that you can either propel Charlie from wall A to wall B in a straight line or if you hold down the jetpack button, you can direct Charlie freely through the air and deviate from the straight-line A to B trajectory; however the jet pack has limited fuel, which slowly replenishes, meaning the free-movement is cleverly yet fiendishly limited.
Charlie also carries gun-type weapons which can all be upgraded as you progress through the game. You begin with a small laser cannon but you can later collect additional guns like powerful missile launchers or a reflector ray for which the bullets reflect off certain surfaces, meaning you can shoot around corners; this becomes handy in both combat and puzzle solving situations. There are numerous item blueprints to find and in-game currency in the shape of nuts and bolts; the currency can be exchanged with the Build Bot (found at various locations throughout the levels) in order to build and upgrade items that you’ve found the aforementioned blueprints for.