When I first got this game I was excited for a space themed Massive Multiplayer game. First, this is a massive game and not just because it’s an MMO, but the galaxy in which the game takes place is large. I didn’t think that many planets could exist in a galaxy, and in reality it most likely can’t. According to the website, www.thespacegame.com, a player can “explore 270,000,000,000 star systems.”
That means a player can spend years on this game and never finish. It is a lot of content to keep a player occupied and this is the first thing I noticed. Fluffy Kitten Studios is the company that produces the game and it began with two visionaries but it was only a single person that created the first demo for the game. The Studio is now more than two and the work each put in looks to have paid off. The art is stunning. It was done in a way that makes the player feel as though they are in space with a high level of detail in the ships, bases, and planets. The ships themselves are painted with little details and they were made as a way for the player to travel around the entire galaxy. Even the little starter ships. Ships in this game use warp and I believe also the big giant space gates near planets to perform jumps.
The story of Ascent the Space Game is about a collapse to human civilization. Starvation is prevalent and factors into the first missions. It’s up to the player to rebuild and grow colonies on the many worlds, ending starvation, and restoring the galaxy. One of the first missions is aiding the people of Vulcan. Vulcan is in the midst of a famine and Susan Steele, fully voiced, instructs the player to bring grain to Vulcan. I had to travel to other star systems, land on a base and purchase the grain. After several shipments of grain starvation ended on Vulcan and I had new missions available. Susan is the point of contact for missions, at least in the beginning. It’s amazing that they have fully voiced characters for a small studio, then again this game is a marvel. Landing on planets is possible in the game, at first a player can not do anything, over time once blueprints and supplies are acquired a player can start building colonies on the worlds. Following the story, the barter and trade system, shipping grain and commodities, and world building makes sense. At first it didn’t but after playing I enjoyed the challenges. I can see why there is a growing number of players online.
The game starts off slow with a small ship, no way of developing a colony, and a mission to buy and transport grain. Over time, and remember the massive amount of planets in the galaxy, a player can get better ships, and gather the components to build worlds, mine asteroids, and produce enough to save humanity and expand the galaxy. My little starter ship is neat but once docked with a station a player can buy new ships with the right amount of credits. On the star base a player can also buy from the local market, primarily food and industry supplies for helping the people of the galaxy, and there is also a galactic market with more valuable commodities. Docking at space stations allow the player to earn more rewards through the contract board. Here you can find blueprints, credits, rare items, and others. The main contracts given by Susan Steele and others and the side missions are located in the user interface along with many other tabs and options. New missions are also acquired by warping to new sectors of space.
One thing I did encounter, and I was hoping for this, was space combat. Pirates exist in star systems and they cause trouble for players. Was looking forward to some action then just buying and selling grain. Other nice things about the game is a chat and galaxy map, but also a very in depth help guide. The character page gives assets and the location of assets. When making purchases a player must go to different locations to acquire them. Autopilot is a feature that takes the player directly to different sectors of space and space stations. There are also action buttons that allow a ship to dock with a station, jump to systems, and land on planets.
The story, features, community, and art make for a good game. I did find some difficulty with the game in general. Mostly with playability. The controls don’t seem to work great. My ship moves with thrusters but sometimes I can’t control the ship smoothly with the W, S, D, A keys, maneuvering a bit too fast at times. This just keeps my ship in an awkward state and makes it look like it is just hanging in space. To get started I actually had to go the game’s wiki page after a terrible time with the tutorial, apparently I could not get my ship to even move. Space combat is was also difficult to maneuver and fire at first. Over time it gets better, just takes practice and reading through the tutorials and wiki. The community is available to help which is great. Its also suggested to turn on manual grav anchor. A little anchor in the right corner that is either red or green, ship can move or not move.
Ascent – The Space Game, even with the playability issues, has great potential to be a very decent massive multiplayer game. With the billions of worlds to explore and colonize there is plenty to do and keep a player from getting bored. Though a player can explore this world for free there is a premium subscription for the more dedicated players with added bonuses, such as the availability of more planets, and industry and combat modules. All in all it’s a good game created to keep players playing for a long time. It does need some tweaks for the controls, but it is voiced and the art and story are good. I also like the trade, farming, industry, and world building aspect. Never played a space game where I had to end starvation by transporting grain or building colonies on other worlds. I would recommend this for any one looking for a challenging space MMO that is not like other games available.