"It's ya main man Knuckles
And we in Meteor Herd!
You ready to go into space?
Help me get the Emeralds!"
And we in Meteor Herd!
You ready to go into space?
Help me get the Emeralds!"
— Sonic Adventure 2, "Space Trip Steps"
Space, as presented in video games, comes in two varieties:
- The Shoot 'Em Up version of space, in which you can only go in one direction, possibly thanks to 2-D Space — which by a crazy coincidence happens to be the direction swarming with enemies.
- The platformer version of space — which is basically like every other platformer stage, except that you might jump a little higher due to lessened gravity. It may take place in a space station, densely-packed asteroids or on an planet or moon surface where the atmosphere is missing.
Needless to say, this is a subtrope of Artistic License – Space. If the zone appears at the end of the game, it's an Astral Finale.
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- No More Heroes III: Over the course of the game, there are special Mini-Boss fights, as well as the second phase of the Rank 10 boss fight (Mr. Blackhole) and the entirety of the Rank 9 one (Gold Joe), that are set in outer space. With the exception of the latter boss, for all others Travis is always piloting a mecha to fight them, and can maneuver it smoothly to dodge their attacks. Gold Joe, meanwhile, is fought on-foot inside his spaceship, in a battlefield made up of stone cubes and a pink electrical fence.
- In Overcooked!, the final levels in both games are set in space. In the first game, it's largely set in a space station, while in the sequel, it's an alien planet. Mostly, it's just for looks, as the space theme doesn't really contribute to the level gimmicks for either game.
- Early in Double Dragon Neon, the Lee brothers find themselves on a space rocket owned by Skullmageddon. One stage on the rocket involves the brothers taking a big breath of air and holding it before jumping out of an airlock.
- Battletoads & Double Dragon has an Unexpected Shmup Level in space.
- Super Smash Bros.:
- Final Destination is a platform floating in front of a nebula in space, which then transports itself (and the characters and items on it) to different dimensions over time.
- A good number of Star Fox stages fit this trope:
- Sector Z, which only appears in Super Smash Bros. 64, takes place on the Great Fox as it flies through space. The lack of neither air nor gravity presents a problem, but Arwings occasionally fly by to shoot at fighters.
- Lylat Cruise is set on a spaceship called the Pleiades, which flies through the Lylat System over the course of the battle. The ship carries the players through a number of spaceborne sights, including a pitched battle between two space fleets, an asteroid belt, a skirmish between the Space Fox and Space Wolf fighter teams, and a pass through the outer atmosphere of the planet Corneria. The fighters never have problems with air, gravity or lack thereof during this stage.
- Orbital Gate Assault is another Star Fox stage set in space. It takes place primarily on the Great Fox, but certain parts require the fighters to balance of flying Arwing starfighters. Again, gravity and air aren't concerns — the primary dangers are getting shot at by passing fighters or falling into the Great Fox's exhaust flames.
- Mario Galaxy takes place on the surface of a Baby Planet small enough to have a noticeable curvature. Projectiles and thrown characters will fly along the curve of the planet instead of following straight paths, while a variety of planetoids and literal space ships pass across the starry background.
- Playstation All Stars Battle Royale has Dr. Nefarious pull a section of San Francisco from Resistance into space without so much as a Gravity Screw (indeed, the stage remains functionally identical).
First Person Shooters
- The entirety of Duke Nukem 3D's Lunar Apocalypse episode is set on either a space station or the moon.
- Quake II has a secret level on a low gravity space station.
- Halo: Reach features parts of the level Long Night of Solace being exposed to vacuum (complete with muffled noises) and having lower gravity. Two multiplayer maps (Anchor 9 and Condemned) have areas with a similar mechanic, being both on board a space station.
- Mario Party:
- Mario Party: Eternal Star in the original game takes place on a giant star up in space that Bowser has broken apart and vandalized with graffiti. The board is unlocked after Bowser steals every Star the heroes had collected across their parties, meaning they have to navigate the board's teleporter maze and challenge Koopa Kids to dice-rolling minigames to retrieve them.
- Mario Party 2: Space Land takes place on a space station being attacked by Black Hole Bowser, who fires a Bowser Coin Beam across the station after charging up his satellite. Also present are Thwomp/Whomp criminals and Snifit Patrol police, who chase each other around in flying cars while pushing away any players on their path. This board returns in Mario Party Superstars.
- Mario Party 5: Future Dream is a trio of space stations that are traveled between by using rocket ships and air taxis, or more mundanely blue-colored teleport panels (as the former two require landing on Event Spaces). The south station is featureless gameplay-wise (other than the transport rockes), but the northwest station has an Event Space which invites a player to ride a spinning car to get coins, while the northwest one has an Event Space that invites them to test their luck with a slot machine to earn a capsule.
- Mario Party 6: The Solo board Astro Avenue is a series of tiny planets and space stations where UFOs can carry the player forward.
- Mario Party 8: Bowser's Warped Orbit is a space station parked above a star, with paths and directions controlled by Bowser. It serves as the Star-stealing board of the game, with players using special candy to attack other players as they pass by.
- Mario Party 9: Bowser Station is another Bowser-themed space station that players fly above on a spaceship. They can take detours to nearby colonies for bonuses in-between the boss fights with Bowser Jr. and Bowser.
- Mario Party: Island Tour: Rocket Road is a Super Mario Galaxy-themed board that goes through a rainbow-colored linear path (similar to the Rainbow Road tracks of Mario Kart fame), and where players acquire Booster items to race to the finish line. The Boosters can be obtained in many ways, including winning minigames.
- Mario Party 10: The Rosalina board in amiibo Party is designed to resemble space, and includes a variety of references to the Super Mario Galaxy series, including crystals filled with Star Bits, a giant Launch Star event, and figures of Lumas, Star Bunnies, and the Starshroom.
- 4th Dimension Space, the fifth and final board from Sonic Shuffle. This stage is one of the few in the Sonic series without a space station.
- Super Mario Bros.
- Super Mario World: The secret Star World takes place on a star, and three of its levels have a starry sky background based on outer space.
- Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins: The Space Zone is the Trope Namer, and also the first space-themed world in the series. In the levels, Mario wears a spacesuit, and the gravity is lessened. The boss is Tatanga, who was originally the Final Boss of the first Super Mario Land.
- Super Mario Sunshine: A few of the secret levels in the game have a space background.
- Super Mario Galaxy: The entire basis of the game, though only Space Junk Galaxy consciously displays the setting among the main fifteen levels (as the others mix it with a different setting, for the sake of variety). Super Mario Galaxy 2 has Battle Belt Galaxy.
- Super Mario 3D World: The respective maps of all four secret worlds in the game are space-themed, though only Worlds Star and Crown have actual space-themed levels (World Star has Rainbow Run, Super Galaxy, Honeycomb Starway, Cosmic Cannon Cluster and Captain Toad Takes A Spin; World Crown has Champion's Road, Captain Toad's Fiery Finale and Mystery House Marathon), and it's also in World Star where Rosalina can be unlocked to play as her. There's also the earlier Beep Block Skyway from World 4.
- Super Mario Odyssey: The Moon Kingdom is set on the Moon which also has a hot and molten interior. There are also the secret areas set on the Dark Side of the Moon and the Darker Side of the Moon.
- Mario Adventure has World 5, Starry Slopes.
- Newer Super Mario Bros. Wii has the second half of the seventh world, Starry Skies (the first half, Sky Mountain, is Death Mountain). Gravity is lessened in the first few levels, in a nod to Space Zone from Super Mario Land 2; later levels (including the fortress and castle) have normal gravity.
- Something has A Day in Space. This level is unusual because it is also a Green Hill Zone. However, it is a Brutal Bonus Level because there are lots of Munchers and flying Koopas to dodge.
- Super Mario Fusion Revival: World 6 (Outer Nebula) is Science Fiction themed, taking place in outer space, on alien planets, space stations, and spaceships.
- Mega Man:
- Mega Man 5: Star Man's stage takes place in a space station. In the starting area, meteors fall down and can harm Mega Man. There are also many Spikes of Doom in the ceilings.
- Mega Man 10 has the final stage of Wily's fortress, along with the fight against the Wily Capsule.
- The seventh chapter of Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice takes place on a path that goes through outer space, and connects the game's netherworld with the human world (Which exist as separate planets, contrary to what the names may imply).
- The Sonic The Hedgehog series includes both space station levels (usually with reversed gravity) and True Final Bosses in outer space that require Super Sonic.
- The Death Egg from Sonic & Knuckles. There's also the Astral Finale, The Doomsday Zone.
- Sonic Adventure 2 has a bunch of levels and several boss fights set in and around the Space Colony ARK. The ones inside the ARK also count as Eternal Engine levels (one of them is even the Trope Namer). There are even different Gravity Screw mechanics in different levels. Meteor Herd and Cosmic Wall have low gravity, Crazy Gadget has switches which change the direction of gravity, and Mad Space consists of multiple tiny planets which each have their own gravitational pull. The rest just have normal gravity. And, as always air is never an issue. Interestingly, everyone in the game with the exception of Knuckles has Super Drowning Skills, so they can't breathe in water, but they can breathe in space. note
- X-Zone, the Moon Zone, Egg Utopia, True Area 53, and Nonaggression from the Sonic Advance trilogy.
- E.G.G. Station and Death Egg mk.II in Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I and Episode II, respectively.
- Starlight Carnival and Asteroid Coaster in Sonic Colors are mostly set in outer space, unlike the other zones which take place in multiple planets.
- Many Kirby levels, often featuring the especially delicious UFO enemies.
- "Project F" from Superfrog is a shoot-em-up space level, but World 6 after that is set on a space station in platformer space.
- Rocket Knight Adventures, a platformer for Sega Genesis, had a shoot-em-up level in orbit towards the end of the game.
- The Moon in DuckTales. "Hey Uncle Scrooge, you need a suit up there! How are you alive? You need heat! Also air!"
- The space levels in Ratchet & Clank (at least in the first game) seem to avert this trope. Ratchet can't go out there himself, but has to send his Robot Buddy Clank to explore. Then it turns out that the only thing Ratchet needed was an oxygen mask, and suddenly the space levels function exactly as the planet levels. Gravity works the same, there's no need for a pressurized suit, and even propellers work just as normal! Later games gave Ratchet some sort of commando suit, which kind of made more sense.
- Math Rescue has some of these in the second episode.
- "Space A Go-Go" from DK: Jungle Climber.
- An amusement park actually called the Space Zone in Theme Park World.
- In The Adventures of Lomax, the last world is this. It kind of looks like pieces of moon's surface suspended in space. Despite its looks, the world functions just like the previous worlds and there's no difference in gravity and such.
- Gruntz has this as the last world as well.
- The Asteroid Belt in The Adventures of Rad Gravity, where Rad must propel himself with his gun in zero gravity.
- McDonaldland games:
- In McKids, CosMc's retreat take place entirely on the moon, with low gravity.
- The first half of the fourth and final world of McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure takes place on the moon. Ronald and his friends crash their rocket looking for the treasure when it is revealed to be in space, and thus give up the hunt for a way back home. With the lack of gravity, Ronald is able to jump twice as high as before. The second half of the stage takes place inside the spaceship of the Alien King, who has captured Ronald's friends and is guarding the treasure.
- The last stage of Tiny Toon Adventures Buster Busts Loose takes place in space. It is based on the episode, "A Quack in the Quarks" from the cartoon series, and most of the enemies are characters that appeared in that episode, such as the Stormtwoopers. The final boss is Duck Vader, who attempts to zap Buster with a giant laser, which Buster must snatch from him and zap him with. At the end of the game, the stage is revealed to have been filmed in a studio, and Duck Vader is really a costumed Plucky.
- Cleemalt Soa (Saturn in other variants) in the arcade game Xain'd Sleena . This stage is a moon that features floating, non-moving asteroids, bottomless pits that kill you instantly, and a cool background with Saturn and its rings floating in the black, star-studded sky.
- The Fairly OddParents: Shadow Showdown has the level "Vicky Strikes Back", a parody of old sci-fi space shows.
- In Snoopy's Grand Adventure, the third world, "Lunar Surface", takes place on the moon, where the goal is to rescue Lucy. Enemies in this world consist of robots. The boss of the world is a giant robot that resembles Lucy, who chases Snoopy throughout its level.
- The world "Spaced Out" in Monkey Shines, which is loaded with flying saucers, aliens and robots. Gravity Screw is averted.
- Yoshi's Island:
- In the original game (Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island), Raphael the Raven fights Yoshi on the moon.
- Yoshi's Island DS has several space rocket piloting sections.
- Yoshi's Crafted World has Outer Orbit.
- Looney Tunes games:
- In Road Runner's Death Valley Rally, the fifth and final world, "Quantum Beep", takes place in outer space. Wile E. has teamed up with Marvin the Martian to create the Solid Tin Coyote, which serves as the game's Final Boss.
- In Bugs Bunny: Rabbit Rampage, Level 2001 takes place in outer space. Bugs must make his way through a fleet of spaceships, while avoiding the Instant Martians and red Bob-omb lookalikes.
- Throughout Taz in Escape from Mars, Taz travels to different planets, but the world that suits this trope the most is Mars, the first world in the game, as it takes place in Marvin the Martian's zoo. A very unusual choice for a first level and one that sets some pretty strange standards about what's to follow.
- Daffy Duck in Hollywood has the fifth world, "Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century", based on the 1953 short of the same name.
- In Desert Demolition Starring Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, the end of Wile E. Coyote's bonus round at the end of "Red Rock Rondevous" has him riding rockets through space, and when he reaches the very end, Marvin the Martian can be seen shooting at Bugs Bunny.
- Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos has Galactical Galaxies, which serves as the sixth world of the game.
- Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble has the final three levels taking place in outer space. Marvin the Martian may be unrelated to Dr. Sam's hunt for a brain but manages to easily escalate things quickly. You first race against Marvin on a space scooter, then you traverse through Mars on a UFO, and finally, you need to "rescue" the dynamite plunger and switch Marvin's lasers into reverse so that it blows up Mars instead of Earth.
- Galleon Galaxy in Yooka-Laylee which also has a pirate motif.
- In Sesame Street: Countdown, the fifth level takes place on the moon. With the lack of gravity, The Count is able to jump twice as high.
- Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back has the levels Rock It and Pack Attack. In them, Crash is exploring a space vessel with zero gravity, so he has to use a space suit to move forward. He also chases Cortex in outer space in the Final Boss battle.
- The PC version of Garfield: Caught in the Act has "Alien Landscape", a sci-fi-themed level that takes place in outer space.
- Kuru Kuru Kururin: The levels in World 7 (Star Land) take place in outer space, showcasing rockets, UF Os and planets of varying colors and sizes in the background. The levels feature walls shaped like octagons, small dots or diamonds that are placed very close to each other, thus requiring Kururin to move around very carefully. The third levels also has mazes and corridors with lots of springs, which mess up with the orientation of Kururin's ship.
- Most of the Rainbow Road courses in the Mario Kart series. In Mario Kart 8, THAT Rainbow Road takes place in a space station.
- Need for Speed III has a hidden course set on a space station.
- The Oovo IV courses in Star Wars Episode I: Racer run through an asteroid penal colony, and include zero gravity tube sections.
- There are three space levels in Cel Damage, including one set on a space station, and one where you drive directly on the rings of Saturn.
- Sonic Drift 2 has Milky Way, which serves as the fifth track in the Blue GP. The track is a linear one that leads to the Death Egg, which serves as the sixth and final track.
Role Playing Games
- Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth has the Bonus Dungeon Empyreal Bridge, located well above the Yggdrasil of Arcania, even beyond the planet's atmosphere. It's filled with teleporters that take explorers to different parts of the stratum (where they're taken to depends on each teleporter's color), many forms of alien wildlife, and a Superboss capable of supermassive destruction.
- Mothership Zeta from the Fallout 3 DLC of the same name. One part has you take a spacewalk on the outside of the ship.
- Mass Effect 2, when navigating in star system or cluster. All star systems and planets, plus ships and stations are in same plane. This is a feature of the Galaxy Map and not an actual reflection of what the galaxy looks like - its the same reason that the Normandy is shown bigger than whole planets and how you can fly it through suns.
- Deep Space from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, which is based on the prologue of Lilo & Stitch. Parts of the stage allow you to explore the areas outside of the spaceship and even allow you to turn off gravity to reach higher places in the spaceship.
- In Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, the immediate postgame, where you fight Deoxys in space. While riding Rayquaza.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door you go to the moon, without any oxygen gear. Goombella tells you not to think about it too hard.
- Also shows up in Super Paper Mario. You do need a space suit, but the space suit is merely a fishbowl on your head. One Boss Battle does an Unexpected Gameplay Change and turns it into Shoot 'Em Up space. Hop on Carrie and it's already a Shmup in space.
Shoot Em Ups
- The Lylat System of Star Fox is a relatively narrow corridor of space with Invisible Walls keeping the player from moving out-of-bounds. The player can generally only fly in one direction.
- Gradius, R-Type, and all their variants and spinoffs. Special mention to the Genesis title Whip Rush. Several levels feature segments where your titular starship flies up, down, and even backwards, all while obediently facing and shooting to the right. It requires getting either missile or flamethrower powerups to be able to shoot in the direction you're going.
- The Space course in Golf With Your Friends appears to take place in a space station. There are lots of vents, black hole-like things, clear tubes, and windows providing a view of space.
- In MechWarrior Living Legends, the map 'Extremity' takes place on a rapidly spinning asteroid near a bright star. Gravity is significantly reduced to the point where Power Armor players can stay permanently aloft with their regenerating Jump Jet Pack, and due to the rotation the level's ambient conditions change over the course of the match; at night, the temperature drops and the atmosphere freezes into lakes, while at daytime the temperature rises to dangerous levels, the lakes boil off and a steady stream of gas vents from the surface. The community map 'Deepspace' is a more straight example, set in a zero-gravity asteroid field where vehicles are limited to the Space Plane fighters and powered armor.
- Theme Park World contains a level that is actually called "Space Zone" as one of the four park themes.
- Jet Force Gemini, despite its intergalactic setting, takes place primarily on different planets and the interior of large space vessels. As such, the only two levels that properly display this setting are the Spacestation (a wrecked, derelict vessel stranded in outer space) and the Asteroid (the one Mizar is taking to planet Earth, and also the Very Definitely Final Dungeon).
- Once you get your archwings in Warframe, you get access to several missions where you use them to fly in freefall through asteroid thickets and over the hulls of spaceships. These missions feel very much like a different game, what with your equipment being replaced with archwing-exclusive weapons (Even your warframes' abilities are replaced with archwing-specific abilities!) and any mods found there also being specifically for archwing equipment.
Wide Open Sandbox
- In Terraria if you go high enough up in the sky you will eventually reach space where gravity is much weaker.