When I first came across this title on the Humble Store, I was uncertain what it even was, much less if I would like it or not. It was an odd-looking title on the UPlay platform that was hard to categorize based on the provided material. I figured a small risk once in a while is acceptable and went for it.
Overall it feels like it’s somewhere between Starfox and Assassin’s Creed. You get a Starfox sort of gameplay in a more open-world sort of environment. You can even do a “barrel roll.” I got the distinct impression that the game was designed to be a toy-based franchise like Disney Infinity. Can’t possibly tell where I got that idea.
Upon starting a new save you are prompted to select a Pilot. I am uncertain how permanent this choice is, but if there’s a way to change pilots I either haven’t unlocked it or and too oblivious to have noticed. There are quite a lot of moving parts in the game, so the menus are a bit weird. In addition to an “ultimate” style ability, each pilot also has a skill tree style upgrade system.
Once you’ve done that you’ll be asked to select a ship. From the starter selection, there are several different ones, from the performance class shown here to the tank class that I’m using. In all things, including pilot, ship, and weapons, there are a number of locked items that aren’t available. It’s implied that these could be unlocked via gameplay. In fact, I’ve met some of the pilots in question.
I didn’t see a major difference in the ships stat-wise, but I haven’t actually used anything but the tank class, so it’s hard to say one way or the other.
The final loadout of a given ship looks something like this. I had already managed to locate a couple of mods when I took this screenshot. There are several different weapons with various element types. I think heat, cold, kinetic, gravity, and anti-grav cover the basics. I was using two heat weapons here because I couldn’t tell what was and wasn’t unlocked, but I ended up putting that flamethrower on the left side and putting some ice rockets on the right side. This allows me to hit something with the flamethrower to apply a heat effect, followed by the ice missiles to create a “thermal shock” combo.
At least for the first couple of hours, most of the gameplay took place in what I have been calling “hovertank mode.” Mostly because that’s what it feels like I’m driving. I haven’t found combat to be overly difficult as far as I’ve gotten. There was one POI that lit me up pretty hard, and it was some manner of unique artifact that I didn’t need to deal with.
There are some random organic and metal components you can acquire as you wander about, though inventory is fairly limited in the beginning. Most of the organics have a special mini-game attached where you have to maintain the proper distance to “pluck” it. Those items can eventually be traded to outposts in exchange for currency, items, and influence. They reveal more of the map if your influence is higher.
There are a variety of other things going on too. Wildlife to scan, small puzzles that require one or more element types to complete, elemental canisters that must be shot with their opposing element to open, outposts that require you to block with proper timing, you know, general POI-based content that offers a variety of rewards.
I spent a lot more time on the first planet than I had to in order to get the components to unlock more upgrades to the… mothership? Those trees unlock additional mod slots, additional inventory space, fast travel capabilities, things like that. I wanted access to a few basic items, so I put the effort into unlocking them before I moved on.
From a story standpoint, I wasn’t overly impressed. The cinematics were pretty solid, but the writing so far hasn’t been particularly interesting. Genious captain re-invents ability to create long lost energy source and now the big bad wants it because reasons. I couldn’t find anyone named John Crichton though, and the technology isn’t “wormholes.”
It’s still on sale for a few days if anyone is interested. It’s not bad for $21. Not sure I’d recommend it at full retail, but let’s be fair, I’ve only played it for a couple of hours.
Y’all take care, and remember, Judge is the best character.