Sunday evening, around 8pm. My better half and I are sat on the sofa yelling out orders to each other, shaking our iOS devices, cackling like lunatics, and piloting a doomed spaceship as far as we can manage.
The instruments we're using to guide our ship are smeared with green goo, hanging on by a single bolt, and sparking furiously. We curve our way around a wormhole, only to be greeted by another, which turns our control panels into jelly.
Finally it's all too much. We're laughing too hard to follow orders, and the devices we're trying to finagle into the correct setting are too broken and battered to use. The supernova we've been trying to outrun catches up with us and we're done for.Star Wreck
Spaceteam is a unique, ingenious take on same-room multiplayer gaming. It links up to four iOS devices over Bluetooth, and gives you a simple task - fly as a team or die. The screen of each device is split into three segments.
At the top there's a thin bar showing the progress of your ship through the level. Get to the far right and you'll move on to the next. End up on the far left and your voyage ends in a series of starry explosions.
At the bottom, taking up the vast majority of the screen, is a series of switches, dials, and buttons. These change each level, and their names range from the sci-fi serious to the frankly ridiculous. These are the machines you use to fly your ship.
And in between those two is the command bar. Here orders flash up that require you to flip switches, slide sliders, and twirl dials. The twist is you'll rarely get an order referring to your own console, so you'll need to bark out the order and hope someone on your team responds in time.Captain's log
Things start off as sedately as you'd expect from a game where shouting out nonsense to your friends is the norm. The first level tends to be reasonably stress-free, and works as an introduction to the simple gameplay.
After that, things get serious pretty fast. Wormholes and Asteroids require you all to flip or shake your iOS device. Fail and your console takes a battering and you slip further towards destruction. Malfunctions can cause slime to ooze over your switches and dials, and it's rare that a later level goes by without at least one panel falling off.
Sometimes you'll be faced with a labelling mishap, where the names of your devices are indistinct. There's nothing worse than someone yelling at you to "engage the Ion Shifter" when all you can see is a blur of letters.
But that's the joy of Spaceteam. This is multiplayer reinvigorated for a generation of gamers who carry around their interactive entertainment in their pockets. It takes seconds to set up, and each adventure becomes its own hilarious story.Space race
This is same-room gaming at its stressful, hilarious best. One minute you'll be flying free, the next an asteroid collision will see your team descending into howling madness, each of them trying to ensure that the ramshackle little vessel you all love, and hate, so much makes it to the next checkpoint.
There are a few small problems, including an issue with the accelerometer not always picking up when you've flipped your device, but they never detract from the amazing experience that the game offers up.
It's rare to find something quite as unusual as Spaceteam, and for that alone it deserves to be championed. But more than that, beyond its brilliant idea, this is a game that anyone can play, that anyone can enjoy, and that everyone should download.