Platform Previewed: PC
Everspace is a space rogue-like shooter developed by Rock Fish Games based in Germany. They have a heritage of developing mobile games with Everspace being their first step onto the PC gaming market. Bold and ambitious, does it stand out, fall in line or just end up being a junk of space scrap? Good thing it’s “bold and ambitious…”
So how does it stand out? – The best way to describe Everspace is to say it is a mash-up of Faster Than Light and Elite: Dangerous. You take the rogue-like elements and navigation of Faster Than Light, some of the flight combat mechanics of Elite: Dangerous, a crafting system, resource and inventory management, persistent progression, and to top it off the visual fidelity of the Unreal Engine 4 game engine.
Sound a bit complicated? Maybe. Let us get into the details.
Everspace puts you in a cockpit of a space fighter. There is no clear cut objective either. You have to go forward and blow up everything and anything hostile that you encounter. Although doing that is completely optional. Combat is dogfighting and while it’s simple to those accustomed to space simulators like Elite: Dangerous, it never intended to be that. Simple, but straightforward, and very intense. Just starting out, you would have a challenge handling any more than three opponents at a time since you don’t have enough shields yet to stand such combat and you are bound to die constantly. The thing is though, getting into a fight is completely optional and you can just point your ship at the jump coordinates to get out of the system. It may seem cowardly, but self-preservation is a better choice than the cold and empty void of space. Jumping from system to another is done by focusing your crosshair on the jump circle and it does the rest, no need to plot coordinates or anything. Once you jumped, you are greeted by a map of the sector and to move from the different systems in the sector, you are given a choice of adjacent systems which is visualized by lines leading to the next possible systems. Take your pick of where you want to go next, and off you go, but do note that jumping uses your limited stock of fuel so be sure to explore for it. Jumping sector to sector is different though, as you need to use a jump gate to go to the next one.
Your ship has an arsenal of weapons and knowing what and when to use it is important in survival. The default starting primary load out is a shield destroying pulse laser, ship hull ripping-gatling cannon and your good against any target with your secondary of homing explosive missiles. Don’t worry about ammunition for your primary weapons, only the missiles have an ammunition count and once exhausted, you will have to craft more of them, more on that in a moment. As you progress and you would have enough resources to upgrade your current weapons, mostly straight forward upgrades like additional damage output. This is the crafting mechanic of the game, and to craft these upgrade you need to explore each system to jump into, and while a lot of resources can be found in containers scattered throughout, you can also mine for resources at asteroids and enemies can also drop them. You can even find new and better weapons, some of which can be flashy. Remember though, all the upgrades, weapons and resources you pick up is for your current run of the game though and upon your presumably violent explosive death you are brought back to a hangar with empty hands. In the hangar, you can view your ship, handle your various persistent perks with credits dropped by opponents or found in containers, view your objective for your next run and overall stats. The persistent perks to least to say, are basic. Increase ship hull hitpoints, decrease energy consumption while boosting, more equipment slots and more of the same. Admittedly, these perks are more for ease of life in preparation for the next time you launch into space, so there it is understandable, but some interesting variance of perks and a store with a random selection of weapons would be very much welcome later on.
Everspace is powered by the popular Unreal Engine 4, and while new to the PC market, Rock Fish Games are showing they know what it takes to get people’s attention. Everspace has some very strong visuals, and it is not just limited to ship textures, lighting effects and such. Well, it is one part, but having a strong vision of what visual aesthetics is the other part. Without a proper vision, a game can fall flat in its face the moment it is first seen in public, but what Rock Fish Games did right was have a vision. What do people look for in a space shooter? A color palette that showcases both the wonder and beauty of space along with its coldness and dangers, powerful explosions, bright tracers streaking out of primary weapons, varied ship designs, and more. This is an aspect that Everspace has already nailed down perfectly, the visuals are stunning. As it is Everspace is ready package even in its alpha state, and for the developers gives is a solid foundation for the game as it goes through the different stages of development. Down the line once the game is finally released, we may see many of the gripes like the lack of uninteresting perk and weapon upgrades, or just the lack of other ships to fly around be addressed. Only time will tell, but till then, Everspace is one fun game to play even if it is not complete yet.
Access to Everspace’s Alpha is available on their website here.
This preview is based on the closed alpha copy provided by the developers/publisher.