I am surprised there isn’t a thread for this, or at least searching didn’t come up with one? Well, assuming there isn’t and I’m not just blind/bad at searching, I’ll dive in as this one deserves a dedicated thread.
So, first off, it’s gorgeous. Just amazing looking. That’s the first thing you’ll notice.
I read somewhere it was built on Unreal 4, and it shows. It’s smooth, fast, and runs like a dream.
Everspace plays like an arcade shooter with some tactical depth and equipment/loot, but the maps you warp to form a progression that looks like FTL - explore an area, then warp to the next, picking your path and hoping your picked well (upgrading your scanning technology helps here). Eventually after a few jumps you’ll warp into the next sector, and all of this is randomly generated and features many vast and varied events, procedurally generated quests (like a friendly ship sending out a distress call, or a damaged freighter needing supplies to effect a repair), enemies of various factions, comm stations to hack, abandoned space stations to raid, all sorts of stuff. You play until you are destroyed and then it’s back to the hanger to try again.
It controls with a mouse and keyboard optimally, and though a controller is supported I have not tried that. This may seem strange at first, but honestly it plays a lot like Descent. Especially as you explore derelict space craft and stations and start navigating corridors. WASD accelerates/strafes while your mouse aims/points your ships nose. Spacebar and Control Shift move you straight up and down, and SHIFT gives you boost at the cost of the same energy you are burning through to fire your weapons and boost your shields. The controls are taught in an early tutorial that does a fantastic job while being short and to the point and a part of your first run; no wasted time.
The key, and this is true of all the best games, it it’s honestly just fun to play. Controlling your ship in this environment, moving and hunting for wreckage and salvage, taking on outlaws, dog-fighting Okkar ships guarding credit freighters, boosting away from a fight you can’t possibly win, it’s all just a phenomenal experience. And it helps it is really easy on the eyes. So far this is a fantastic “play and enjoy while you watch Netflix on the other screen” kind of game, but it’s also very engaging and has some incredible (and randomly generated) moments.
But if that wasn’t enough, each time you dive into said experience any credits you earn can purchase passive bonuses to your next runs permanently. Stuff like improved chances to score a critical hit, extra energy reserves, or hull points and rare loot drop chances all make subsequent runs easier. It sounds like you even unlock new ship hulls and weapon load outs to kick off your next run. You find blue prints that are permanently associated with your save game and once found, those items can be crafted in the subsequent runs if you find the resources. For example, I found some Stasis Missile blue prints and can now build them if I want, and they sound pretty darn useful as a crowd control type weapon.
There are difficulty levels as well. I’m not ashamed to admit I bumped down to easy to earn some credits while I get better at the combat, which has a deeper learning curve than you might initially suspect. Resource management is a problem for me, I’m almost always out of nanobots from repairing my hull (from being bad at dog-fighting) so I can’t repair my life support systems when they get damaged, or when my secondary weapon system is offline. Or when I spend all my energy boosting to a wrecked ship and get jumped by 2 outlaw scouts while I’m almost completely out of energy and have to wait for it to recharge before I can bring my weapons to bear. But I’ve been able to pull many thousands of credits (even with the 25% reduced credit count on Easy) to build with, and it’s been fun just trying, learning, and exploring. So many new things every run so far, though I’m only a few hours and half a dozen runs into the game at this point. I have only been to Sector 3 once, and rarely get passed Sector 2. I have no idea how many Sectors there are in the game.
There is some sort of story, and there is an AI companion in your ship feeding you information and being a snarky asshole which I appreciate, which is all done very well and is perfectly of the way while being interesting adjacent. Some neat little story beats occurred in some runs that didn’t in previous runs, so the story advances while you play (the conceit I will not spoil, but your constant death and running again is actually addressed).
There is a lot I don’t know about yet, screens of information for things like “glyphs” and other ship systems and options I have never come across. People on the Steam forums asking about “DNA” they found and how often you can find said DNA. Lots to explore yet, and I’m eager to get back behind the stick, so I’m going to wrap this up and dive back in. You can somehow unlock new colors and ways to trick out your ship before each run, it sounds like, but I have not come across anything like that yet. I’m very excited to, though!
It’s $30 on Steam, I think it just launched out of early access yesterday? It was on my wishlist for ages (just on the description of a rogue-lite space combat sim) and I have to say, so far while it’s tough as nails (even on Easy) I’m really having fun with it.