Little Space Heroes is a new Virtual World for kids and families and is the flagship game project of Bubble Gum Interactive. It’s an interactive, online multiplayer game in which kids create their own hero and explore a galaxy full of fun and adventure.
Players team up with their friends to search for clues about the missing Glows and the hiding place of the dastardly Lord Shadowbot. As Little Space Heroes, their first task is to master using their Jet Pack, Bubble Blaster and Star Jet at the Space Hero Academy. Kids can play as part of a simple yet engaging storyline packed with quests, missions and discoveries.
Kids can customize their character, adopt a virtual pet Glow, jazz up their hero’s home pad and team up with buddies to unravel the mysterious disappearance of the Glows and Lord Shadowbot.
The basic version of this family-friendly game is available free of charge with paid memberships providing unlimited access to the entire game.
Little Space Heroes has received certifications and safety ratings from online rating websites and watch groups like FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com, PEGI (Pan European Game Information) and ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board).
The first thing that struck us is that the creators are probably very passionate about story-telling and want to give kids a place where their imaginations can flourish.
The world of Little Space Heroes, like most virtual worlds for kids, is imaginary-and the creators obviously put a lot of creative imagination in building it as the virtual world is made up of various locations, from Heroes HomeWorld, the home planet of the Little Space Heroes, to other magical and mysterious planets and outer space stations like the Crystal Planet of the Glows and the Space Walk out in the galaxy.
The adventures of the Little Space Heroes begin with a mission, which is to catch the dastardly Lord Shadowbot and recover the missing Glows. Newly recruited heroes must first learn the basic skills in using the Bubble Blaster, Jetpack and the Starjet by visiting the Space Heroes Academy. There are various locations and activities on the virtual to practice and master these skills.
Apart from usual virtual world features like in-games, character customization, pets and a moderated chat system, the unique feature of the virtual world lies in the different navigational skills needed to explore the various locations. From simple walking and zooming around using jetpacks on land to flying Starjets in outer space, the different actions provide a less monotonous experience.
Surprise gems can also be collected throughout the virtual world which encourages players to explore the vast locations. Some objects in the virtual world come with pop-ups (for example, the Engine display in Sparky’s Starjets) that explains in simple terms how engines work.
At present, the virtual world is already pretty vast. We found out from the creators that there are even more to come in future. Each will have its own creatures, characters, quests and more.
Being a huge virtual world, loading might be an issue but the creators have thought of a way to address this-they have introduced a simple game to keep the kids occupied while waiting for the game to load. So collecting points start even before the game actually begins!
Little Space Heroes combines a lot of key features found in other earlier virtual worlds like Pandanda, Club Penguin, Wiglington and Wenks and Chobots while maintaining a very strong identity for itself.
Being a new virtual world, the number of locations is simply impressive and is definitely one of its top features. Most of the locations aren’t static, with looping animations that are enough to make the scene more exciting without causing the game to lag. Each location was designed carefully and intricately which provides a good contrast against the simple character designs.
There are also lots of ‘Easter Eggs’ that you’ll find with more play – things that surprise players or which may change slightly over time.
The open chat feature can be activated by parents. Otherwise, canned chat option is available. The open chat system is highly moderated and doesn’t allow non-existent words or rude language. It provides an interactive yet safe environment for kids to communicate with each other.
What is commendable is that Little Space Heroes has a team of specialist moderators in-house who are fully vetted and trained to ensure the game is safe, fun and inclusive for all players. In addition, they publish a Charter that all players must adhere to – this seeks to encourage good behaviour in the game.
Some objects in the virtual world come with pop-ups that explain basic science concepts like friction and energy in simple ways that are illustrative to young kids.
Kids will also be fascinated with the hyper active pets that don’t just stand beside their characters like in most other games. The pets can fly or run across the screen and their summoning actions are fun to watch, too. Another cool feature which isn’t common in other virtual worlds is the simple gem collecting game during loading which prevents kids from being impatient while waiting for the virtual world to load.
The character design might be too simplistic and cute for kids, especially boys, over 10 years old. But this is somehow compensated by the more detailed design for the environment and scenes which most of the time aren’t just an eye candy but are interactive, too, with hidden pop-ups and actions that are activated through clicks or character motion.
Due to the size of the virtual world, there is definitely still more room for in-games. The in-game concepts are nothing new but would be enough to keep the kids interested. However, younger kids who aren’t too familiar with gaming might become frustrated with the lack of easy-to-access instructions. A simple “HELP” button that opens up a window with basic illustrative instructions can solve this problem.
The highly moderated chat system provides an interactive environment without risking the safety of the players. The open chat system blocks improvised words, numbers, email addresses, rude language and even some common words which might potentially be “abused” to form rude sentences. There is a Moderator button that explains to new players how to deal with troublemakers in the game. Parents are also highly encouraged to play and help solve mysteries with their kids.