Something New – Genesis Alpha One

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I had been eyeballing this on the Epic Games Store for a while, so I grabbed it during the sale for a significant discount. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, as it’s billed as a rogue-like, but the gameplay seemed up my alley so I tried it anyway.

game setup.png

Each run generally consists of you selecting a corporation, which affects your starting situation, along with a basic crew and whatever artefacts are. I didn’t have any yet. In fact, the very first time out, my first session, you have to choose the tutorial corporation in the top left. These other three unlock after you’ve completed the basic tutorial, and the higher tier versions unlock after you complete specific requirements, like collecting 50 iron in a single run.

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After that, it will have you build a basic functional ship. Building is pretty straightforward, with each room having one or more door connections that must be connected to another compatible door. Once you get rolling the ship gets quite large and quite maze-like. There are also some other efficiency-related considerations, like having the directly between the hangar and the refinery. That way resources and ores you collect on planet surfaces have a low travel time.

tractor beam.png

While the hangar is one way to get resources, in the early game you’ll be using the tractor beam. It lets you scan debris fields in your current system and will slowly pull in resources.

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If you don’t want to babysit it, though, you’ll have to use the side terminal to assign one of your crew members to work it. This picture was obviously taken in the greenhouse, though, instead of the tractor beam.

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There’s a couple of these workstation terminals in each room that you can also use to speed up progress. When you don’t have a crew member assigned this is the only way to make progress. Some rooms, like the cloning lab, I use so infrequently that I don’t bother assigning crew members to it.

tractor enemies.png

Every once in a while your tractor beam will pull critters in with the resources. For that reason, I typically keep a crew member and at least one turret in this room. It’s a fairly regular occurrence, probably around a 25% percent chance every cycle.

hargar.png

Once you build up some resources, mostly iron, you can build a hangar. The hangar lets you scan planets, much the way the tractor beam scan debris, and launch away missions to the planet surfaces.

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Planets come in a wide variety of environments. I’ve specifically seen arid, lush, barren, snowy, and whatever this is. You’ll be limited to a certain area with your lander in the center. Things like this dish in the picture are what was listed above as “sites” and you generally stand near them and defend yourself while they process. Once done they give you something like suit upgrades, room blueprints, or location data.

As this implied, there’s a fairly constant barrage of critters while you’re on a planet. This is a sort-of good thing, as it’s your primary source of biomass and DNA to use in the cloning room. Most planets just have little bugs, spiders, and worms, but I have encountered humanoids once or twice. They tend to be significantly more dangerous.

You’ll also see a variety of ores, which look like rocks with little color crystals sticking out of them. You use your harvester, right click, to collect them similar to biomass and DNA that critters drop, but it takes a lot longer. Your harvester can only hold five bins of ore, at least in the beginning, so you may have to pick and choose or make multiple trips.

energy node

Much like the tractor beam, things will sometimes hitch a ride on your lander and in your ore. In any of those cases, they tend to seek out and disable the energy nodes on your ship, and you’ll have to reboot them to keep your modules from going offline.

nest

If you get too many, or miss one or two, you can end up with an infestation. They build little nests in areas with this… stuff… and become a persistent problem. I have not yet found any way to remove it, so I just put some turrets nearby in the hopes that they will keep it under control.

That’s most of the basic gameplay loop, but there’s a lot more than that going on. Generally, you gather materials to build rooms and resources then travel around trying to get new blueprints and materials you need to research or build those things. It didn’t really feel like a roguelike, but I can see that the overall process is probably somewhat iterative. I’m not really sure what the end-game is, really, but enjoyed playing it anyway. I would make a great VR and/or multiplayer game, but alas it is neither.

Since I now own it on Epic, I can longer see it’s current price, but it was $10 when I picked it up, and still should be, at least for another week or so. Y’all take care, and maybe don’t let any alien critters make a nest in your house.

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