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RymdResa

Score: 76%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Morgondag
Developer: Morgondag
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Flight/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

RymdResa isnít a game that sets out to dazzle you with sophisticated graphics, but thereís an undeniable charm to its simple, 2D presentation. Space adventure doesnít get any simpler than this, putting more focus on exploration and discovery than on customizing pilots and ships. All that said, the gameís self-assigned label as a "poetic space odyssey" definitely stems from this spare aesthetic. In poetic terms, RymdResa would be a haiku rather than an epic. Simple events and interactions throughout the game are accompanied by muted hues and line drawings that can begin to feel very meditative.

The music and sound design of RymdResa also reinforces the idea of an endless exploration in space. In this game, youíre not exactly playing a faceless explorer. Periodically, the astronaut piloting your craft will break in and recite a few lines before dropping back into silence. The short snippets range from musing on loneliness and death to wondering about other survivors and reflecting on the nature of objects in his path. The "games as art" debate could use an injection of "games as literature" with RymdResa as a prime example, but a finite amount of content means youíll come across the same snippets too often. Hereís hoping the developers load in more as the game matures.


Gameplay:

Our vision of endless space exploration draws mostly from games where you could travel from planet to planet, basically the 8- and 16-bit versions of Catan with mostly contained choice and gradual progression. Otherwise, space games tend to lean in on combat and dogfighting a la Star Wars or other franchises. Nothing against those approaches, but the idea of exploring an endless galaxy generated by a computer is so much more on trend. Not only are there a huge number of highly detailed 3D space combat and exploration games in development, but think of all the roguelikes just in the last year or so set in dungeons or open worlds. Most have heaving Platforming elements, or at least tend to be character-driven in an RPG-lite fashion. RymdResa takes a different approach by pulling the camera back to the simple view of a roving craft, plowing an endless field of stars.

If youíre imagining some similarity to F.T.L., youíre not entirely on the wrong track, but where that game stressed more simulation, resource management, and trading, RymdResa goes more for simple interactions, gathering, and twitch reflexes. Flying a ship in space comes with all kinds of hazards, requiring close attention to how much fuel youíre burning, your speed, and your orientation. Eventually youíll find new craft and customizations that improve your experience in some ways, but can also make things more interesting. RymdResa also isnít as open-ended as it may seem at first. There are three chapters that you unlock by finding marked waypoints. At first, this feels nearly impossible because your ship is in a puny state, so leveling up and earning special abilities is paramount. Depending on your piloting skills, the first chapter can be mastered quickly, but thereís always opportunities to replay and improve your ship.


Difficulty:

Learning the controls takes some getting used to, since there are just a few relative indicators for your speed and direction. Controlling speed isnít as simple as just throttling up and down. Youíll have to spin the ship around and blast rockets to slow yourself, or burst to one side or another as a way of avoiding obstacles. Parallax effects give you some hints as to how fast youíre moving, but itís more commonly a huge obstacle rushing up on you that indicates speed. By that time, itís almost always too lateÖ Gathering more energy can help to offset periodic collisions, but running into asteroids and the occasional sun are the most common reasons youíll have to restart.

If youíre risk averse and play a more careful game, the difficulty ends up being fairly low. The downside of this approach is that youíll end up playing a lot longer. RymdResa is probably better suited to this meditative approach than to fast-throttling and twitch reflexes. Some level of twitch control really helps, but itís not the main focus. You also find that some ship types lend themselves better to a more muscular style of flying, and various defensive power-ups you gather help you avoid instant death in the face of space debris.


Game Mechanics:

RymdResa really only has about four controls that matter. The first three are arguably the most important, which involve spinning the ship to port or starboard and firing the thrusters. The fourth is a single button that lets you investigate objects as you pass them in space. All of these will grant you some combination of space points and resources. The former helps you level up, while the latter keeps you flying, even in the face of accidental impacts. Once you get a bit farther into RymdResa, youíll start finding objects that can be attached to each ship, improving your base stats. Youíll also find consumables that can provide just-in-time resources or demolish space junk in your way. These items are assigned to hotkeys, and thatís about the limit to any keyboarding youíll need to master RymdResa. A minimal game with minimal controls.

Replay is decent if you enjoy relatively open-ended gameplay with some mission elements, and the procedural approach means youíll never explore the same stretch of space twice. The missions tend to go by quickly once you upgrade ships even moderately, so what youíre staying for is the tranquil gameplay and ship unlocks, punctuated by some mysterious poetry from a lonely cosmonaut.


-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows: OS: Windows 7/8; 2 GB RAM; Graphics: Hardware Accelerated Graphics with dedicated memory; Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
Mac: OS: Mac OS 10.7.5+; Memory: 8 GB RAM; Graphics: Hardware Accelerated Graphics with dedicated memory; Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
 

Test System:



Mac: Yosemite 10.10; 2.8GHz Intel Core i7; 16 GB RAM; Intel Iris Pro w/1536 MB VRAM.

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