A game often considers similar to Faster Than Light but more modern is an indie game developed by Red Beat. You command a crew as you explore regions of space on an adventure. This game gives the player quite a fair amount of control in how hard it can be once you level up high enough to unlock more settings, missions, ships, perks. Along the way, you are given a number of choices that plays an impact on individual encounters such as, do you let a ship go free or sell off one of your crew members. The game does not force you to have morals or punishes you for lack thereof. It is simply a risk to reward where sometimes the reward was not worth it. While other times well you did not want the crew member anyways!
Thought the game you are moving from one solar system to the next and from planet to planet. Along the way, you run into other ships to attack, monsters, events, space stations. Even dealing with different hazards occurring such as asteroids, supernovas, and nebulas. All while undertaking the main quest line (there is 4 total) and a lot of smaller missions inside of the game as well.
As you move around you start to uncover each system and find different things like a space station to buy or repair it. You also get to see movements of the different ship as well. Each one has at least one gate in the system to move onto the next. This can make it easy to try and map out a safe path back to a known station if you are in dire need of repairs as well.
They are generally indicated on the galaxy map where the gate is, who controls that system and how hard it is along with a little bit of lore text. It also gives you a visual idea how far along you are on your adventure. Since the final mission tends to be towards the last system you have yet to visit unless you are playing on max galaxy size.
The game itself has 5 ships total you unlock from gaining levels by completing or failing games. Each ship starts off with its own flavor of style. While you are not locked down to anyone playstyle throughout the game it just has a strong pull on how to start off.
Each of these ships has 7 bay areas that can be attacked and will need repairing during combat. When they go offline you lose functionality that system provided. Some of them as they become more damage degraded in their ability.
For instance, as weapons systems take damage. You starting losing power and guns starts to go offline the further it drops in health till it is taken out. Meanwhile, shields that regenerator overtime during a fight taking out will need to be repaired by your crew members leaving a ship an easy target.
All of these systems can be upgraded using Titanium Ore that you can get from mining, buying at stations, or earning as a reward from random events.
When your total ship's health runs out this is one of the three ways you can fail the game. Upgrading this system increase hull health and cargo capacity to hold things you loot like weapons, drones, and computer cartridges.
Hull health can be repaired at space stations or from random events that can occur while on your adventure. Your crew can not, however, repair this on their own. Often leaving you with wondering if you should backtrack to a known station to repair or press forward hoping to have enough to last till you find a place to repair.
One of the more interesting ways to engage in combat is sending over your crew’s warriors to the enemy ship to attack systems and their crew who are trying to repair them. This, however, can be rather risky as if you blow up their ship before recalling your crew back you lose them. Your teleporter can also be taken out and it has a cooldown leaving them stranded on the other ship unable to return unless you repair. This can also be a great way to keep the enemy from boarding your ship by taking out their teleporter. Once they return they are healed and upgrading this system increase by how much and the overall health of the system.
I sent a guy over and sadly he is outnumbered and the teleporter is on cooldown so he won’t be returning. At least he prevents the crew for a while from repairing their shields so I could get them down and take out the ship. His sacrifice will be noticed whatever his name is. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll run into a ship selling me a fresh warrior soon enough.
You can send drones over to attack and with each passing attack their damage increase. They start off rather weak and I don’t find using them to be worthwhile. The starting ship, for instance, does not even have this system unlock it costs 25 Titanium Ore. Every couple of levels unlocks another drone slot. I only ever used them once and never did again.
These not only absorb certain types of damage while they are online but can also reduce damage taken from beam damage type of weapons. This is often the first line of defense that has to be taken out to be able to damage the hull with full damage. Over time it regenerates making it sometimes rather annoying to take out if you or the enemy is able to repair system damage it takes.
Unlike most games upgrading this does not make your ship go faster outside of combat. Having higher levels increase your evasion chance as well as reduced damage from cannon and missile damage. They are also required to be online if you are losing the battle and want to make a run for it.
There are also some wealthy merchant ships in the game that do nothing but run from you as soon as you enter combat with them. If you can’t take out their engine in time they escape.
This system plays a very critical role in keeping your crew alive. From healing them up if they are standing in the bay to how fast O2 is returned to a room after a fire or hull breach occurred in that area.
There are several different types of weapons each having strengths and weakness to what you wish to target. Some have bonus shield damage but do reduced damage to the crew, while others might be great for dealing bay damage but not shields.
As you upgrade the weapons system you unlock more slots and how much combined energy you can have in use. They range from one energy to three per weapon. Finding a balance between laser, missiles, and the cannon is often fun as higher numbers are not always best.
The main computer itself can be loaded with different cartridges offering a short-term bonus that come with a cooldown after use. They can provide a wide range of benefits depending on what one you use. From increase chance to dodge attacks to increase firepower and even causing fires or hull breaches. Often tipping the battle in your favorer if time and applied in the right area.
While this system is easy to overlook when it comes to upgrading to have more cartage slots and have higher costing ones. The enemy sure won’t forget often making the main computer a prime target just so you can hit them when they are running 60% dodge or deal massive damage from the bonus. Even before the combat begins high enough levels can hack and cause some system damage. They can also provide extra options when running into random events such as gambling.
As you can see my crew is off dealing with a few issues on the ship. From systems needing repairs to putting out fires caused by attacks. A fair amount of micromanaging can be done for those who enjoy that sort of gameplay. If not, no worries. Between being able to save crew locations and just putting points into their health. You don’t always have to move them out of an incoming attack or rush them into the life support bay for healing.
With a wide range of various races can give the player the opportunity to try and min/max a role they wish that crew member to play. From: Human, Norg, Robot, Chax, and Oaklana. Some are great for repairing while having little health, while others have a massive amount of health but I would not trust them to torque a wrench.
Humans are the only race that can be a captain. If they die its game over and they are a second of three ways to fail a game. They have a decent amount of health, damage, and system repairability. They also come with an added feature that they provide a bonus for bay they are standing in.
These can be great for teleporting over to the enemy ship to attack crew and systems. While they also provide protection for the captain and engineers from attacking forces. While not the best for repairing systems they at least can. Freeing up other key crew members for more desperate repairs.
While rather fragile and you need to keep care to move them out of harm’s way. They repair and even provide bonuses as they level up for being in certain bays. You often get a choice as seen in the screenshot above this one could provide a bonus for shields or the main computer. Sometimes one will luck out and get a couple of bonus as they are level up through your gameplay.
One of the features I really love about this game is just how many options you have in controlling varying aspects of gameplay one you unlock custom settings. There are a number of ways to make the game harder for a bigger point bonus if you win or easier if you are struggling with certain aspects of the game. It also lets you decide if you feel one type of weapon is needing a buff or perhaps a nerf as well. Really allowing you to tailor the game to your liking.
You can have a game that only takes a couple of hours to play to something well over eight depending on just how many systems you want in the galaxy along with other settings. For those wanting the ultimate challenge, you can even add in a jump limit adding a third and final way to fail a game. Along with making the enemy’s far super than your own crew.
Even things like players luck and how often you find planets with mineral deposits to get Titanium Ore can be chosen.
While you are out moving from one planet to the next you can often come across a chance to mine for credits and Titanium Ore. It is done by playing a game where you take risks trying to uncover rewards while avoiding hitting unstable tiles The game itself is color-coded from low risk (green) to high risk (red). You even have a chance to find extra drills to extend the 4 turn game but be warned hitting a third unstable tile ends the game and you lose it all.
There are so many events that can happen to you while on your adventure it is what makes one gameplay different than the last. It almost seems like the game sometimes tries to help out of a hard spot or just desired your luck has finally run out and given you a string of negative events.
They can be minor from crew costs be higher for a certain amount f moves or a certain type of weapon causing less than normal damage.
Sometimes you can run into the space police who claim they have a warrant for one of your crew and want to take them away (like I’d ever let that happened yarrr.) While other times you could run into some people who are willing to let you go if you sell them one of your crewmates.
There are just too many events to even recount. My favorite has to be betting as you can get some powerful items out of it. I might also use my main computer to rig the bet so I always win. Yes, even your system levels on your ship can play an outcome in how the events go.
While I have over 40 hours in this game I would say around 25 to 30 hours is where it started to feel little too repetitive for my taste. The game sells over on Steam with a normal price of $9.99. I picked it cheaper back when it was on sale last year for $4.99 which I feel at that price point is a steal. So I’m rather satisfied with the amount of playtime I got out of it. It still is a game I could see myself playing a couple of times a year on a weekend where I just wanted to do something for a couple of hours.
As you can see in my final victory score screen this is the fourteenth game I have played. As such I have had some fun replayability. I think this might have been around my sixth win. A few of them I restarted on bad starts or put the game on max settings and died right away. It’s only a shame I forgot to hold off on finishing the game this time around. I forgot you can’t go back to the system before and get a bunch of screenshots for a review-oops!