Like rogue-like games? How about dungeon crawlers? Interested in space? If you answered yes to all of these, you’ll be wanting Everspace, a rogue-like space exploration and shooty dungeon crawler. There’s a little more to it than that, but if you fancy flying around, shooting stuff and looting anything you can lay your hands on before jumping to another area of the galaxy then you might as well stop reading and go and buy it.
Here’s the bad news for your character: they’ve got no idea who they are or what’s going on. It seems to be the old amnesia “who needs a backstory” start, but it’s actually a pretty clever mechanic for the fact you’ll be getting blown up quite often and starting again from the beginning, somehow keeping a lot of your upgrades when you do so. If you avoid that initial moment of dread it’ll certainly help the opening moments of the game – it’s not long before you find out why you can’t remember anything (and I won’t spoil the surprise, other than to say that losing your memory isn’t the same as not having a memory to lose…) and once you’ve run through the various tutorials at the start to figure out how your ship works you’ll be diving in to start hunting around for useful stuff.
And the hunting around, in true dungeon-crawler style, is not only addictive but also essential. You’ll need fuel to jump to another area, and while you’re blasting asteroids and invading outlaw bases trying to find everything you need – and any cool extras along the way – you’ll be getting more powerful and tricky bad guys coming to hunt you down. So there’s that balance to find, the risk vs reward conundrum that makes you choose whether to hang around in the hope of finding something cool, or getting enough fuel to jump and getting he hell out of wherever you are. And with each area being randomly generated to a degree, your voyage of discovery is going to be pretty unique each time you start again, stopping too much deja vu from sinking in as you set yourself up again ready to fire up the boosters and kick ass for the 8th time.
In terms of how you’ll feel playing this, everything looks pretty spectacular and the sound is great as well, especially through a decent set of headphones. Distant space looks fantastic, and the lighting is a work of art, showing off realistic shadowing and making things harder to see as you’re heading towards a nearby star without even putting your shades on. It certainly adds a very neat edge to your dogfights and exploring, and makes up for the control scheme which, by default, is a little fiddly at times. There are different control schemes to use though, and you can tweak them further yourself, so by spending some time experimenting with different control ideas you’ll find something that works (and even spending some time with the default ones might reap rewards eventually) but it’s something to keep in mind when starting out. Don’t give up though, or you’ll be doing yourself out of some great space action.
So really, looking back at when I started playing Everspace, it would’ve been very easy to take the initially-cheesy-but-actually-not storyline and the slightly jaunty controls and call it a day before the first couple of hours were through. But my goodness, what a mistake that would’ve been. I’ve always loved futuristic dogfights, it’s what kept me playing Warhawk for a crazy amount of time, but I wouldn’t have expected Everspace to turn out quite as well as it did. It always had promise, and always looked like it could’ve been something great, but I had doubts.
Not any more. Everspace is really good. You should get it.
Reviewed on PS4