Game review on
Clinton Raethel / Fri 6th Oct 2017
48 views / 4 bites
OVERVIEW Combining sold space combat with persistent roguelike mechanics and a half decent story, Everspace will keep you saying 'Aahhhh come on just one more go'. Oh, and it's drop-dead gorgeous.
STORYLINE On the run from a corporation of some sorts, you are a clone with a limited memory of past events. With nothing but a ship and an AI buddy, you will 'live, learn, die, repeat' to uncover who you are and what lead you to this point. Given that roguelikes seldom have a story to them, this is quite a clever way of implementing a plausible storyline, and uses well-spoken narrative and beautifully stylised cut scenes to tell it.
Everspace is a glorious mix of the '94 game Descent, and the 2012 FTL. If you haven't played either, let me break it down for you: you are in a spaceship with freedom of movement in six directions, a healthy armoury of swappable weapons and sub-systems, and an endless selection of enemies and objects to hurl your weapons at. You are making your way through a star system that is randomised on each playthrough, a star system that is constantly testing your ability to stay alive.
This is one expertly crafted arcade shooter. Controls are tight and responsive, resulting in combat that is both fun and satisfying. You will need to make the best use of the assets available to you as you balance offence with defence, weapon use with movement ability, shield vs. hull damage and more, which in turn allows for a great variety of playstyles. There are resources to collect, blueprints to unlock and upgrades to craft, and your ship must be kept fuelled up and repaired if you're going to have any chance of surviving.
The nature of roguelikes means that you will die a lot, but this shouldn't scare you in Everspace. This is a persistent roguelike, meaning you have the ability to upgrade your pilot and ship after each run. Death is how you progress, and there's a great risk vs. reward system at play as a result. All unspent credits are lost after each run, meaning you need to push harder if you want those better upgrades.
This is one beautiful game. Colours are vibrant and playful, particle and fog effects are realistic, textures are detailed and the backdrops for each star system are just... wow. Space games can often struggle with depicting orientation, but not Everspace. Whether in first or third person views, I always knew where I was - and what I needed to do to get to where I needed to be. The depth of field at play is quite simply perfect.
AUDIO The soundtrack rises and falls with what happens on screen, providing great ambience when exploring, and creating tension when dogfighting. Effects are punchy and layered well, prioritising critical warnings and alarms over all the chaos that can be going on around you. The voice acting also warrants a mention, as it is well above standard.
VERDICT It's rare seeing an indie game punching this high above its weight. It may have a few rough edges, but it does so many things right that it's hard to even remember what they are. Whether it's the fun and polished gameplay, the absolutely gorgeous graphics or even surprisingly enough the story, there is always a reason to venture back out into space and try your luck again. Now, who can I borrow a VR and HOTAS setup from..