Space Sims are back. As someone who used to call the wild black yonder his second virtual home, Sidewinder Freestyle Pro in hand, I couldn't be happier. Elite Dangerous is vast and tough and beautiful, Starlight Inception was a toxic puddle of leaking coolant but thankfully Star Citizen's evolving Arena Commander mode is on hand to calm me back down.
And yet I still find myself dipping back into Starpoint Gemini 2. This deeply impressive blend of RPG, space sim and fleet command launched in Early Access last year and hit v.1.0 in October, but silly season being what it is, I didn't have enough time to fully review it.
Let's rectify that right now. Launch fighters and fire at will!Click here to read more...
Starpoint Gemini 2 is out soon, and it's already quite brilliant. Mixing real-time 3D space combat with exploration, RPG progression and fleet strategy, the early access build's freeform sandbox mode is a lot of fun... but the story and campaign is still an unknown quantity. It's out of Early Access and into v1.0 very soon, with a 40% discount if you take the plunge now. Our preview is on site if you want to know more.
Star Citizen's astonishing crowd funding campaign shows no signs of stopping as Chris Roberts' space sim blasts through the $48 million mark, having finally released a playable component. We'll now get a fun new in-universe advert for the Retalliator ship line, but Roberts has bigger plans for what happens when the war chest hits $50 million.
Specifically, he'll commission a team of linguists to create entirely new complete languages for each alien race. Qapla'!Click here to read more...
Developer: Escape Hatch Entertainment LLC
Publisher: Escape Hatch Entertainment LLC
If you claim that your game is the "rebellious stepchild of Wing Commander, X-Wing and Freespace 2," and "the return of the space simulation genre," you'd better make damn sure that the finished product delivers. Especially when you ask for -- and receive -- $150,000 on Kickstarter to make it on the back of that promise.
Starlight Inception certainly talks the talk on PS Vita and PC, and it's exactly the sort of ambitious indie project that I usually evangelise from the rooftops, but I'm dismayed to report that this latter-day space sim falls drastically short of what I'd consider to be an acceptable level of quality. It's not enough to crib from legendary sims and hope for the best, indeed, the constant references to Wing Commander and other better games just reminds us how good we used to have it.
The action takes place "one hundred years from tomorrow," wherein a new war is breaking out between Earth and the non-aligned nations. As a new threat emerges, it's up to the brave fighter jockeys of the
TCS USF Midway carrier to scramble into the black, defend Earth's interests, lead strike missions and a undertake bit of mild escort duty. Though the story is told through stilted, poorly-acted, monotonous, awkwardly-animated cutscenes that do their best to make you fall out of love with the setting before each mission, who cares, because we're here to "light up the sky."
Platform: PC (Steam Early Access, £16.99)
Developer: Little Green Men Games
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Starpoint Gemini 2 promises to be an intoxicating proposition for fans of space sims and RPGs. Throughout a freeform galaxy wracked by fierce conflict, players will battle, mine, salvage and trade their way to bigger and better starships bristling with turrets and fighters, exploring dozens of systems, all while pursuing a lengthy storyline and levelling up their character with perks and skills.
However, we've heard it all before, since the original Starpoint Gemini made much the same boast but fell short in the execution. Little Green Men Games have therefore gone back to the drawing board to deliver a firm foundation for the sequel: a fully 3D, PhysX-powered sandbox universe to explore and conquer in real-time, allowing us to directly control our capital ships in tense naval battles among the stars.
This foundation -- sans storyline and several features -- is currently available on Steam Early Access. Though Starpoint Gemini 2 still has much to prove, I'm delighted to report that it's shaping up very nicely indeed. Full power to engines, launch all fighter wings and fire at will!Click here to read more...
Strike Suit Zero didn't manage to revolutionise space combat the way its developers hoped, but it's still an utterly gorgeous and hectic arcade space sim that makes the 'verse look very pretty indeed. For £3.75, just the art design (courtesy of Appleseed's Junki Okubo) and the sountrack (from Homeworld's Paul Ruskay) are worth the price of admission by themselves. Be aware that numerous patches have dropped since we reviewed it - and it SUPPORTS OCULUS RIFT if you have one.
GoD Factory: Wingmen, the ambitious 4v4 space dogfighting game that's offering a totally free prototype to test and try, only has one day left to secure a sizeable portion of its $70,000 Kickstarter target. Nine Dots Studio sunk a truly enormous amount of their own money and time into the project, which is in serious danger of falling by the wayside unless they can claw back some money with alpha funding. As we wrote in our hands-on preview and discussed in an extensive interview, it really is a breath of fresh air.
We've got a video plea from Nine Dots' CEO Guillaume Boucher-Vidal after the break, which was kind enough to mention us. It's not our place to tell you what games to back and how to spend your money, but if you like the idea of a refreshing new take on space combat, it might be worth checking out the campaign before it's too late. There's a Twitch Marathon running today if you want a closer look.Click here to read more...
Developer: Firedance Games
Salvation Prophecy is one of the most ambitious games I've seen in years. Indeed, it's utterly astonishing. Attempting to reach the holy grail of fusing together high strategy, third-person shooting and space sim combat, this unassuming little package promises much more than games several times its price.
Is it being developed by a team of hundreds? Funded by fat publisher war chests or massive crowd funding campaigns? Nope. What makes Salvation Prophecy doubly impressive is that it's almost completely created by one man - Sean Lindskog - who describes it as an "I-made-this-game-while-living-in-a-cabin indie," and called in favours from artists around the world. As such, don't expect much in the way of production values and polish, while shortcuts and oversights abound.
Patient players, however, will discover that Salvation Prophecy is infinitely more than the sum of its three inconsistent parts.
Click here to read more...
GoD Factory: Wingmen is dead-set on bringing Space Sim combat back to the masses. It's an arcade multiplayer dogfight, eight players screaming through the wild black yonder in customised fighters, battling to destroy enormous carriers in an airless Danger Zone. With over a thousand customisation and upgrade options, not to mention eyecatching art direction, extensive lore and Oculus Rift support, it's an ambitious project, and Nine Dots Studio have been working their fingers to the bone in order to deliver on their promises.
In our hands-on preview, I described GoD: Factory Wingmen as an "exciting new take on the genre."
However, Nine Dots Studio's first Kickstarter campaign failed to reach its target over the summer, and they've now returned to the crowd-funding arena with a beefy free prototype and new features. Keen to know more about GoD Factory: Wingmen and its Kickstarter plans -- and why they feel that it deserves your money -- I sat down for a chat with Nine Dots CEO Guillaume Boucher-Vidal for the scoop. Be sure to download the entirely free playable prototype!
Dealspwn: Thanks for talking to us! First things first: could you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
Hey there! My name is Guillaume Boucher-Vidal. I'm the founder and CEO of Nine Dots. When I'm not taking care of administrative duties and public relations, I do game design.
Dealspwn: As I understand it, GoD Factory: Wingmen is part of an expanded GoD Factory universe. Could you introduce us to the setting?
Boucher-Vidal: GoD Factory is a universe in which there are 6 known sentient species. They are the humans, the guantris, the Chorions, the Ar, the Cantruscan and the Magniscients. II always found that the alien species in science fiction were extremely unimaginative. They're always humans with scales, humans with blue skin, humans with pointy ears, humans with fur, etc. In our universe, all species are radically different, none but the humans are humanoid. It's not only physical either, as these differences affect them culturally.
Click here to read more...
NB: This occasionally appears in PWYW bundles.
X Rebirth has issued a new trailer explaining how its trading and mining economies will work - and how they've been slightly streamlined without losing any of that tasty space sim depth. If you're a fan of the genre, it'll be more interesting than it sounds.
The anticipated space sim sequel launches in November, at which point I hope that a hopeless storyline and characters don't get in the way of all the sandbox mercenary loveliness.Click here to read more...
Elite: Dangerous has received a new conceptual trailer showing off what a pitched battle might look like, and how the freeform mission system will let us pick our battles. It's pulse-pounding, essential viewing for Sci-Fi fans, but whether the project will look or play as brilliantly as the CGI remains to be seen. After all, it's primarily designed as a mood piece for potential soundtrack composers.
Best known as 'the Kickstarted space sim that isn't Star Citizen,' Elite: Dangerous promises to let us explore the galaxy for fun and profit, in development by original series creator David Braben.
Yesterday we ran our video interview from this year's Gamescom where Chris Roberts previewed the first playable section of Star Citizen - the Hangar Module - but in the early hours of the morning the team at Cloud Imperium finally allowed all of its backers access to their virtual ships for the first time. So, we felt it would be be rude not to do a quick walkthrough of what you can find in the initial release. Carl provides commentary as he explores the Business Hangar, jumps in his Hornet fighter, and rides an elevator.
Just because he can.Click here to read more...
X Rebirth has been in development for the best part of seven years, and frankly it shows. Matt and Carl will bring you some Gamescom impressions soon, but for now, enjoy this glorious feast for the eyes.
It's out on November 15th, and I won't have to convince my Sidewinder Precision Pro to work on Windows 8. Apparently intuitive streamlining without a lack of depth will make X Rebirth eminently playable on gamepads.Click here to read more...
Backers of the ambitious Space Sim won't have to wait for much longer get to walk around their bought spaceships, as the Hanger Module for Star Citizen is scheduled for release next month, but the folks over at Cloud Imperium have released some new pictures that show the UEE Marine in all their glory. Although the developers state that it is still a work in progress, the in-engine shots show the level of detail the artists are aiming for, along with giving us an idea of how Chris Roberts and co will be putting the CryEngine 3 through its paces. See the new shots after the jump.Click here to read more...
According to the description, you'll get both the Terran Conflict standalone game and the Albion Prelude expansion/sequel hype. You'll also get a Steam code by the looks of things.
EVE Online is ten years old and still providing us with all the heart-stopping drama we could ever want. Developer CCP has released a new trailer, partly to plug a new collector's edition, but also to celebrate their humble origins and the evolution of the MMO space sim over the years.Click here to read more...
All eyes may be on Star Citizen at the moment, but Frontier Developments are still hard at work designing Kickstarted space sim Elite: Dangerous. The ambitious project has finally received some in-production screenshots, which look reassuringly impressive.
Elite: Dangerous is slated to release next year on PC, and we'll be following its progress as the project develops.Click here to read more...
Just when you thought the success story that is Star Citizen couldn’t get any better, especially after last week’s news, yesterday the folks at Cloud Imperium announced that they had hit a new milestone of $14 million. The smashing of yet another stretch goal was made possible thanks to the last minute dash for limited edition ships, along with a final opportunity for pledges to gain lifetime hull insurance for any space-faring vessel bought.Click here to read more...
Indie space combat MOBA GoD Factory: Wingmen has shown off its Oculus Rift VR support in a breakneck new trailer. The visceral space combat is going to look rather pretty on the three-dimensional, periphery-dominating headset... after a brief learning curve.
You can check out a new trailer after the break, and read up on our glowing hands-on preview for the gory details. If you like the sound of it, go check out the Kickstarter pitch and Steam Greenlight page.Click here to read more...