The 24-hour news cycle pervades every bit of our culture. There isn’t a point during the day or night when you can’t turn on some form of media and be inundated with information about whatever your heart desires. Video games are no exception, and within our constantly growing sphere of the world, we discuss, analyze and hype everything. Given that, what I’m about to write shocked me: I had absolutely no idea what Everspace was until I started playing it.
Flying blind, I downloaded the early-access title on my Xbox and dove in. With the massive disappointment of No Man’s Sky fresh in my mind, I was cautiously optimistic about what kind of sweeping adventure I’d find in Everspace. And so, with hopes high, my ship blasted out of the hangar and into the vast oceanic void of space.
Two minutes later, my ship was in flames. That hadn’t gone according to plan. But in actuality, it had. It took me another few quick deaths to realize what should have been blatantly obvious from the word go. Everspace is a rougelike – with spaceships. And despite being in its early developmental stages, there’s a massive amount of potential for Everspace to soar into its own, successful niche.
Since the game is still in development, though it is coming along nicely, we are giving it a placeholder score of 2.5 GiN Gems for now. We fully expect that to shoot way up as more content is added and the game inches closer to a full release.
Trying to wrap my mind around the game’s controls took a little doing at first, particularly flying. Unlike most other flight-based games, Everspace doesn’t have your ship in constant motion. Unless you’ve activated the thrusters, your ship hovers in place. Initially, this seemed like a disadvantage, with enemy ships swarming, ready to blow me to bits.
But that was missing the point. Everspace isn’t just a game about combat; it’s about exploration, gathering resources and judging whether you’re better off to stand and fight or flee to live another day. That said, the game’s combat can be surprisingly deep, and deciding which weapon loadout to carry usually means the difference between obliterating your enemies and becoming space junk yourself.
In the game’s current state, most weapons deliver a significant amount of damage to enemy shields or a ship’s health, but not both. There are a decent variety of armaments to choose from, too, such as chain guns, lasers and homing missiles.
There are also weapons which have other effects. At one point, I found a pickup which essentially had the description, “You really don’t want to use this.” But I really did.
And true to its word, Everspace created one of the most absurd in-game explosions I’ve ever seen, leaving my ship utterly crippled and anything that had the unfortunate fate of being in front of me dust.
It’s those types of unexpected occurrences that make me so optimistic for what RockFish Games has in store. There’s currently only one ship available in the Xbox One version of the game, but with a fleshed-out back story, additional weapons, new ships and more on the way, Everspace has the potential to tick all the boxes of what a great game should be.
To make it even more appealing, Everspace’s procedurally generated sectors of space look like works of art, with each area of open space feeling strangely vibrant and lifelike. It’s a delicate balance, but RockFish captures the feelings of isolation and habitation in conjunction.
There’s a lot left for RockFish to fill in with Everspace, but the framework the developers have laid out gives me reason to be excited for what the future of the title brings. If it continues on its current path, Everspace is going to be one of those games I latch onto and never let go. I think a lot of you will probably feel the same way.