Occasionally here at Player2.net.au, we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for a blockbusting amount of time (2 – 5 hours) and report back to you the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – Everspace
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Roguelikes have become a staple in our gaming diet over the past few years. Games like Rogue Legacy and Sperlunky helped popularise a style of gaming that took the difficulty and game-over conditions of titles from decades ago and then infused them with a tantalising progression system that encouraged “just one more go.” Since then roguelike elements, namely the game over progression, have been added to just about every gaming genre known to man. We have had FPS’s, RPG’s, SHUMPS and even Sports games that have had the roguelike touch. Now thanks to Everspace, we have a space dogfighting/exploration game in the mix, but the question is do the staples of the roguelike experience work in this genre or are they just added on because it is the trendy thing to do?
Everspace saw me take control of an unknown pilot who has stolen a spaceship and is escaping from rough treatment at the hands of some dodgy scientists. Next thing I knew I was was flying through space, mining resources to improve my ship and dogfighting with nasty space pirates. What Everspace did really well is drip feed more of the story each time I started a new playthrough. Each time I played I learned more about my current situation, about the galaxy’s inhabitants or about the events that led to escaping from the starting space station. Exposition is handled by a handy on-ship computer that pipes up when more information presents its self, which was an elegant way of handling the story elements without them getting in the road of the action.
Speaking of action the bulk of the game is made up of piloting a spaceship around the galaxy, progressively getting closer to discovering the truth behind the story. Piloting the ship is pretty easy and it wasn’t long before I found myself comfortable as I zoomed through levels, tackling enemies and gathering resources. The game is broken up into zones, with each zone usually consisting of some minor goals (like hacking a radio tower), some enemies and some resources. Fuel is the most important resource and without fuel, I couldn’t warp to the next zone. This made me explore each zone fully and tackle enemies I would usually avoid before I moved on. It is a nice way to make sure that players explore the game fully and the developers have implemented it in a natural and unobtrusive manner.
Like all roguelikes death is inevitable, but with each death, I felt like I was getting further along in the game. Before I restarted I could spend the credits I found during the previous attempt and upgrade my ship or even buy a new one. It is a very similar system to Rogue Legacy and it works well here. Initially, I was lucky to make it past two zones but now with some choice upgrades, I can easily make it through 8 or 9. It is a very rewarding way to encourage players back time and time again.
With Everspace, Rockfish games have taken the well-used elements of a roguelike and successfully inserted them into a wonderful spaceship adventure. Controls are tight, the story is a cut above what is usually present in these sorts of games and the enticing improvements available after each playthrough ensure repeat plays. The game isn’t the greatest looking space sim or the best sounding but in the end, Everspace is a wonderful and rewarding challenge that all fans of spaceships or roguelikes would do well to pick up.