Hands-on Impressions of Reassembly From PAX Prime 2014
Tinkerers and space fans alike should be very excited for Anisoptera’s first official video game release, Reassembly (PC, Mac, Linux), which is a vector art infused spaceship game that meshes crafting with arcade style spaceship shooting action. While at PAX Prime I had the opportunity to go hands-on with the game while discussing its merits with Arthur Danskin, who is the game’s creator and the founder of Anisoptera, and I found Reassembly to be a very detailed and intriguing Indie video game experience.
At its core Reassembly is a crafting game that allows players to build their own spaceships using an AutoCAD inspired interface and vector art designs to allow for complete customization of every ship in their fleet. The crafting mechanic is very deep, and players can spend hours upon hours just building ships for use in the unscripted gameplay component that resembles an arcade style space shooter, such as Asteroids if it were on steroids and featured vibrant colors and thousands of projectiles. Ship building is completely dependent on resources you can earn in the actual game, but outside of that restriction the only limitations when it comes to the design of a ship are your imagination, and the white “snap-to” points that signify where you can attach various parts of the ship. For example, the body of your ship may be shaped like a rectangle with multiple white “snap-to” points on it, so you could choose to load up each side with guns, or you could choose to add a bit more shielding or engines to suit your preferred play style.
For the sake of time I wasn’t able to build my own ship from scratch while playing Reassembly at PAX Prime, but I did get to see Arthur and his team step through the process of configuring a ship. It really is as simple as dragging and dropping ship parts to the locations you want them placed. You have to adhere to the “snap-to” points, but outside of that you have complete freedom in regards to the design of your ship. If you want a ship with a massive cluster of engines behind it with a formidable array of weapons in front of it, then feel free to do so. Reassembly is all about creativity and the resulting destruction your ship can cause thanks to your demented or highly efficient designs. In addition to building your main ship, you can also design your own fleet of support ships that can be called into battle to provide a bit of backup during hairy situations.
Those players that really enjoy the crafting mechanic of Reassembly will have the ability to share their ships to other player’s worlds, or to enter them into tournaments against other player’s ships. These features will only be added if the game hits its Kickstarter goal, which is just under half funded at this point, so make sure to pledge what you can if you feel like you’d just rather be a ship designer than a full fledged star fleet commander.
Once you have a ship built you can take it into the game’s competitive regions that play out like an arcade spaceship shooter. The gameplay is very fun and challenging thanks to all of the chaos taking place on screen. The space regions are littered with enemy AI ships and other space debris looking to take your newly created craft down, so players must be quick on the trigger and thrust to stay alive and earn resources. Depending on your ship and your created fleet, you can also unleash support ships that will trail you and attack anything you set your ship’s sites on. You can essentially mark a target and forget about the support ships, which is nice because as mentioned before the action gets very frenetic in Reassembly, so not having to micro-manage your support ships is a bonus.
This aspect of Reassembly’s gameplay model is completely dynamic. There are no missions, and there is no scripted content, so the game world is very organic and ever changing. Players can build space stations to replenish resources and build larger fleets, and they can also take over abandoned space stations to add to their resource pool. In reality the action-based gameplay of Reassembly mainly serve as a medium to test drive your ships to see how well they perform after you upgrade them or make some strategic modifications.
Reassembly has major potential even in its Alpha state. A closed beta is set for this fall, so if you want to guarantee access to it you can pledge to its Kickstarter campaign. Based on my hands-on preview there’s no doubt that gamers who love to create things in a digital sandbox will surely appreciate what Arthur and his small team has accomplished with Reassembly. It has a great vector art based visual design, deep customization, and addicting arcade style gameplay to test out your Franken-ships warfare capabilities. Amateur space ship builders now have a medium to start their careers, so be on the lookout for the next Death Star or Millennium Falcon once Reassembly goes live sometime next year.
To see Reassembly in action you can check out two gameplay trailers for it after the break.
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