So, apparently when I wrote one of my first ever opinion pieces for EB lamenting the death and slow rebirth of the Space Game genre a couple years ago I exerted influence on the internet that I was completely unaware I had. In the months and weeks since it seems like every other announcement on Steam is heraldirng a new entry in this once quiet genre.
Whether it’s something like Reassembly with it’s Lego-like Spaceships (SPACESHIP!), or Rebel Galaxy with its impressive broadsides and Fireflyesque score I genuinely believe that at least half of my reviews have been games in this genre.
Not that I’m complaining, mind, Space Games remain one of my absolute favourite genres. However as long as the world seems fit to fulfill wishes I put on the internet let me just say this: I really miss beautiful women giving me piles of cash.
Too much? Alright, let’s talk about Everspace.
Everspace is a space combat game with ‘roguelike’ elements from German developers Rockfish Games. It apparently builds on a previous Galaxy on Fire series but unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to play any of those. The game is currently in Beta on Steam and was the fastest game ever funded on the German Kickstarter site.
Now, what I played was mostly an Alpha version of the game along with parts of the Beta. However, my PC did die on me recently so some of my criticisms may have been patched out by now so please keep that in mind.
First things first; Everspace is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Space has probably never looked this good before as even my fairly middle of the road rig was able to create some hauntingly pretty asteroid fields and pointedly aggressive enemy fighters. It’s always impressive when you stumble across an asteroid base or encounter a truly enormous enemy ship. Lasers look impressive, explosions even more so and I never encountered any kind of clipping or other graphical glitches.
So, if you’re looking for something that looks amazing then this is the game for you, even in Beta.
However, I was much less impressed by the gameplay. Honestly, there just isn’t that much to it. Essentially you jump into an area, usually filled with asteroids, you kill some enemies who may engage you and then you find the magic sparkly asteroids which give you resources. Then you jump to the next area and repeat ad nauseam.
There are some throwbacks to classic games like Galaga or Sinistar in pickupable upgrades that enemies and asteroids can drop but really it’s just variations on a theme of lasers for shields, machine guns for hull and missiles for everything else.
The combat can be fun and frantic, again like some of those 2D classics, but when it’s your 20th time killing some sort of space pirate or circling in an endless loop of dogfights it really starts to become a drag. Now, to be fair, this is a criticism of games like Elite: Dangerous just as much as Everspace however the location hopping nature of the game and lack of human interaction really drive this home in a bad way.
A strong story could help to alleviate this problem, and the press releases all say one is planned so maybe this will improve. I’m really hoping it does as the visuals of Everspace really do deserve a great story to go with them. However for now, Everspace remains a unquestionably beautiful distraction which can quickly lose its shine after fifteen minutes of playtime. A nice break game, not alot else.
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