Game Review #114: EVERSPACE: Stellar Edition (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Chad M.
Developer: ROCKFISH Games GmbH
Publisher: ROCKFISH Games
Category: Action, Arcade
Release Date: 12.11.2018
Price (at time of review): $39.99
Buy EVERSPACE: Stellar Edition from the Nintendo eShop here.
Rogue Unlike the Rest
When venturing into the eShop for a roguelike, you’ll encounter many different games as it’s become more and more popular over the years. Two of my favorite games of last year are roguelikes, and as the popularity grows with the culture of gaming, the space for more innovative things becomes ever more present. The creators of Galaxy on Fire wanted to take a crack at creating that game that would set itself apart, so the developers over at Rockfish Games set out to crowdfund, as many do nowadays. They took to Kickstarter, asking for a quarter of a million dollars, and smashed that by hitting almost double the goal. The idea of a roguelike that’s a single-player 3-D space shooter grabbed hold of an audience, and now EVERSPACE has made its way to the Switch.
Set Shields to Max, I’m Going In!
As the story begins, our protagonist is being interrogated. The game uses flashes of art mixed with voiceover to convey its story. As you’re being interrogated, the talks go south, and as you’re being detained, you’re injected with a toxin. Before being locked away, you’re able to fight free and get away long enough to commandeer a fighter ship and escape. As you play each time, you are slowly given more story piece by piece, which, when you die, adds more incentive to jump back in to see if you can get further and unlock more of the storyline.
Once you take flight into the galaxy, you run into your old friend—who is not too happy with you! As you deal with that, you’ll have to juggle fighting with aliens and pirates alike. To say anymore would take away from the game, as the storyline is one of the main reasons to dive in and go deeper and deeper each time, trying to uncover your past and discover what the future holds; but in saying that, the storyline never felt like the main attraction.
Gameplay & Fun Factor
The first thing I noticed was how well the ship controls. The fluidity is perfectly established here; it feels arcade-like, but in the best way possible. I was able to boost up to an enemy and barrel-roll over to evade their fire, and then, while strafing and following them, I blew them into a smoldering heap of wreckage. Now, this didn’t happen on my first play through, as I had to learn by trial and error, but luckily there were multiple levels of difficulty for when I started out new to the game.
After I got a hang of the controls, I felt that, if I was hit or died, it was because of my error, not clunky controls as I’ve seen in other space-shooters. So you’ll have to work on controlling your ship, but most importantly, you’ll need to dial in your aiming ability; and as it is with most roguelike games, luck will play a factor as well. As I said, on luck you’ll run into consumables and items throughout each play through, some taking a good run to excellent, and some having little to no effect. Each weapon and mod can also be upgraded and changed throughout your runs. Pairing the right setup will determine how your run will go: are you going to be brazen and run and gun every fighter you see using short range with drones to protect you—good luck with that—or are you going to choose long-distance weapons and shields to play it safe? This is one of the many questions you’ll pose each time you strap in for another go.
In saying that, for me personally, that was the reason why I started to like the game more and more. It never was my main game, but it became the game I was playing when I didn’t have an hour or longer to give to a gaming session. It makes it so easy to jump in and just play the game. Once I had the basics down, I’d strap in my weapons, one for dealing damage to shields, and one to destroy the hull. From there, I’d tinker more and more each time. Plus, each time you play, you gain currency after you die, which you can use to buy more ships, or to purchase items to edge the odds in your favor, like increasing critical hit percentage and faster cool-down for shields.
You’ll constantly have to keep your eyes peeled for items, and more importantly, fuel, as it is imperative to your journey. Each time you want to progress onward, you’ll need to find the jump gate in that stage and use it to warp on, and this will consume fuel each time, so I don’t recommend warping without sufficient fuel. You also have to be prepared, as each time you jump, you may be presented with a gorgeous jaw-dropping ice-cluster field, or you may land straight in the hands of the enemy with rockets and lasers exploding you to a fiery mess.
Audio & Visuals
Everything in this category screams triple A for something like a roguelike. The voiceover is decent, as are the art-styled cutscenes, but past that, everything else was top-notch. The soundtrack and sounds were expertly done, and so was the Jarvis-type voiceover’s NPC that guides you through the perils of space. This is by far the most gorgeous roguelike I’ve ever played. Rockfish is using the Unreal Engine 4, and it looks really good in some stages, then you’ll hit a jump gate and land in the middle of an asteroid field, and you can’t help as your jaw drops with its beauty.
Final Thoughts (I’ll See You In The Stars)
For me, this will be a very simple wrap up. If you’re looking for a sim-heavy or hardcore story-driven space-shooter, this isn’t the game I’d recommend, as in one hand, it’s not as much a No Man’s Sky as is it like Wing Commander. It blazes its own trails, in my humble opinion, as this is the premier space-shooter that you can play for a very long time without getting tired of it, because every playthrough will be one of skill and luck. So, if a fun and gorgeous space-shooter with roguelike elements, tons of upgrades and weapon loadouts peaks your interest, then I’d recommend grabbing EVERSPACE.
Buy EVERSPACE: Stellar Edition from the Nintendo eShop here.
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*Review Code by Evolve PR