General game information
Game name: Everspace
Release date: The Beta version is already out, Early Access is scheduled for Q3 2016 and full launch for Q1 2017
Genre: Roguelike action arcade space shooter
Developer: Rockfish Games
Remember when space games were a dying breed, only kept alive by the hard work of Shawn Bower at StarWraith 3d Games? Here at Gaming on PC we too remember those dark times, and we are glad that the genre has seen an amazing resurgence in the last few years. Everspace devs Rockfish Games are actually part of the genre’s revival, as their previous credits include the Galaxy on Fire games, which helped popularize space games on mobile platforms.
Having a history with space games means that Everspace isn’t an amateur project (it was funded on Kickstarter last year) and the game’s mechanics and underlying tech are all quite impressive.
The current build of the game does not contain the story based elements (the final game will have a narrative, though it won’t be a linear, level after level space shooter) but it features enough content to leave space action fans satisfied for a pretty long time.
Players start the game in the cockpit of a small fighter craft, with two weapons at their disposal (more can be found as loot, or obtained from downed enemy starships) and a huge, unexplored sector of space in front of them. From that point onwards, gamers are free to explore that particular section of space, engaging in combat with space pirates or aliens (or attempting to raid Federation ships, which start as neutral, but will quickly become hostile if the player attacks them or tries to get loot that belongs to their faction)
Everspace is not a simulator, and that’s quite obvious from the start. Combat and movement feel responsive, designed to get the player rolling right out of the gate. There’s a fuel requirement for hyperspace jumps, but finding fuel isn’t very hard (blow up an enemy ship and you will probably get some, mine an asteroid and you can get some more, etc)
Battling enemy ships requires good reflexes and basic common sense (if you see an enemy with shields, you should probably try to weaken them first with energy based weaponry before engaging with your minigun for example) and the explosion and destruction effects are top notch.
As the game is a roguelike, if your ship gets destroyed, you will start over from the first sector. However, there is a progression system that will let you activate new perks and upgrade your vessel, so subsequent runs will be easier and you will never feel like you wasted your time.
There’s a basic crafting system, and you can get different tools to assist you on your journey, such as combat drones that follow you around shooting at enemies, shield boosters, scanning probes and similar useful tech.
Everspace‘s graphics look truly impressive, thanks to the power of Unreal Engine 4 and some great art style choices. Many asteroids are fully destructible, and advanced graphical effects are used everywhere.
Overall, Everspace‘s beta build left a highly positive impression on me, and I will be eagerly awaiting its Early Access release.