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EVERSPACE: Because "Rogue Galaxy" Was Taken

Company: ROCKFISH Games

I havenít been a diehard fan of the space simulation/shooter genre since its inception, though I did play my share of the original Wing Commander. The genre itself is still very niche and very small to this day, and while weíve seen some successes (Elite: Dangerous, Rebel Galaxy), itís been most recently shrouded in an uncertain fog of mystery (Star Citizen) and disappointment (No Manís Sky). So here comes EVERSPACE to put its own unique stamp on the core conceit behind the spacefaring game. I recently spent some time with the preview build, and while itís not out to dethrone any of its contemporaries in terms of its complexity, itís a promising little title that draws its inspiration from the most unlikely of sources.

Most space sims donít burden themselves with narrative concerns; theyíre usually about mechanics and scope. Take Elite: Dangerous, for example. You donít really have an identity apart from the one you envision for yourself. And yeah, itís got a setting, but itís spread understandably far too thin to prop up more than the most rudimentary political conflicts. EVERSPACE takes a micro approach to its story in the hopes that it can establish the sense of place and lore that is nearly impossible to capture in large-scale space simulators. In the current build of the game, story elements aren't incorporated, so as of now, it's something I'll only be able to help the developer tease until launch.

Unlike most other space sims (and in line with its narrative ambitions), EVERSPACE isnít enamored with the big picture. Its attitude seems to be "The bigger the universe is, the less interesting it is." The developers of the game bill it as a roguelike; while most games media has developed a distaste for that descriptor, my aversion to it here is only partial. See, I would actually take it a step further and call it "Rogue Legacy-like." This makes for a unique approach for the genre: instead of total freedom to go anywhere and do anything, EVERSPACE is constructed of procedurally-generated nodes. These nodes are connected and populated with resources, enemies, allies, events, etc. By keeping the map design intensive and focused, it cuts out the filler that scares potential players away from the genre. Time spent in uneventful transit and minutiae concerning the physical properties of your ship arenít universally-loved mechanics, after all. So what happens is youíre free to explore and exploit the contents of each node for as long as you want, and when youíre ready (or need to get the hell away from something), simply aim at the universal escape vector and youíre out of there in a flash.

Another way in which EVERSPACE is like Cellar Door Gamesí fantastic action game is how it handles its permadeath. When you fall in battle, you are replaced by a new pilot who inherits his predecessorís cash pool. From there, you can outfit your ship to be deadlier, more adaptable, and more efficient.

My time with EVERSPACE definitely leads me to believe it's going to boast the same cycle of addiction and progress touted by the best roguelikes. But at the same time, it appears to be mechanically sound enough to stand on its own as a great casual space simulator. However, considering the fact that it's still just a preview build, all judgments will be withheld until our final review.

When's that review coming, though? Well, your guess is as good as mine; the word on EVERSPACE's release date is a vague "Q4 2016," but rest assured. As soon as it's out, we'll be on it.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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