Image credit: Everspace Official Site
Everspace, the first PC game released by developer ROCKFISH, is a space flight simulator similar to No Man’s Sky (but a lot better) and a roguelike similar to FTL. The main character has about as much information as the main character does upon starting, and travels through the demilitarized zone to try to find information. Much like Rogue Legacy, you play the game over and over, losing all progress upon death but using the money you obtain to upgrade your skill tree. Ideally you’ll get further into the game each time, but due to the random nature of the game you might get stopped in the first sector by a swarm of enemies.
Similar to how Rogue Legacy explains your repeated ventures into the castle by having you play as the descendant of the previous character, in Everspace you play as an unending army of clones who try to fly through the demilitarized zone. As most systems have at least one battle in them, you have to keep your ship maintained so you don’t die. Each system has resources for you to mine that allow you to fix up your hull and repair your systems.
As this game is a Roguelike, it’s hard as hell. I found a forum thread wherein a player requested a way to craft fuel because it would make the game much easier. The developers agreed, and cited “making the game easier” to explain why they would not allow you to craft fuel. The first achievement you unlock is “Welcome to Everspace”, and the description is “Die”. It’s not as frustratingly impossible as Overture, but it’s not easy by any means.
Image credit: Everspace Official Site
As a space simulation game, players expect Everspace to look visually stunning, and it does. In one run of the game, one where I barely made it to the second sector, I took so many screenshots that I didn’t have the room to put them in the article. You get the sense of flying through large swathes of space without the bored feeling of nothingness that No Man’s Sky gives you. Each system has plenty to look at as you search for resources, and you can explore as far as you want because you can jump to the next system at any point. Everspace is a great example of how presentation should be done in a space exploration game.
The soundtrack is excellent as well, but unfortunately there were some stretches of time where there was no music playing at all and the game was dead silent except for the ship’s thrusters. When it did play, though, it sounded great and complemented the feeling of the game. Presentation is where this game shines.
Unfortunately, this is where most of my problems with the game appear. I tried every combination of viewpoint and controller, and not one of them worked as they should. Between a mouse, a dualshock controller, and the steam controller, I’d recommend the mouse. However, you have to turn the sensitivity all the way down if you don’t want to go shooting across the screen with the slightest movement, and turning it down to .1 seemed to work the best (it starts at around .5). Also, by default, the reticle isn’t locked in the center of the screen. Which means that you can aim wherever you want on the screen, but if you want to tilt the camera you need to hold the reticle near the edge of the screen. It’s terrible, and although there’s an option to lock it in the center, I’m baffled as to why that isn’t the default.
Combat is somewhat frustrating. It all makes logical sense, but the way it’s handled makes it much more difficult than it needs to be. Ships are unnecessarily hard to hit with a mouse or controller, and it seemed like too many time’s the mouse was just off to one side of the ship and it was too easy to over-correct. The game is supposed to be hard and you’re supposed to die a lot, but it feels a lot more fair when you die due to a tactical mistake in FTL than in Everspace, where it seems like it’s easier for the enemy ships to hit you than you to hit them.
Now, there’s another controller option. This game is VR compatible, and it seems like this game was designed with VR in mind. Assuming there aren’t any hardware issues, using a VR system would eliminate the main issue I have with the game. Unfortunately, I do not have a VR headset, hundreds of dollars to drop on one, or any space to set it up. This is a shame because I would love to play more of this game, and playing in VR would make the experience even more enjoyable, but I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon.
Image Credit: Everspace Official Site
Everspace is a beautiful looking game with a solid concept that unfortunately suffers slightly because of the controls. It could be much worse, and judging by the reviews on steam a lot of people don’t seem to have the same issues that I did. I would very much like to play this game on VR in the future, and I will as soon as an opportunity presents itself, as this is easily the kind of game I could sink hours in. If you love space games as much as I do and have a VR system, then I’d definitely recommend picking it up.