Double Damage have put their open galaxy space adventure into the free PlayStation Plus library this month and it’s worth a look.
Picture the scene, you’re a faceless/voiceless entity, a tabula rasa to project upon in any way you see fit. This is your space-faring fantasy and it delivers in spades via the Space Trader genre.
Will you abide the laws, become a bounty hunter, trade commodities throughout the galaxy? Maybe some mercenary work? Exploration is more your speed? Mine asteroids? Salvage wreckages? How about the pirate’s life for you? Intercepting trading vessels and jacking their cargo under threat of gunfire? It’s all there for you to try your hand at.
Rebel Galaxy had me at hello. I was thrust into a beautiful spacescape and given a humble vessel to make my way. Aunt Juno, a lucrative woman, has left a reliquary of some kind in the care of a seedy alien at a space station bar. It’s unknown what it is and Aunt Juno is nowhere to be found. I’m presented with a couple of errands to acclimate myself to the lay of the…not-land and am instantly off the leash to do as I please.
Immediately I’m off to a good start. I’ve had a lot of experience with titles in this genre, so I’m warping off to different outposts in my solar system and checking the commodity markets and asking the bartenders for hot tips and news.
“Easy!” I think to myself, as he informs me of an outpost buying Yikyak meat at a premium. I’ll be space- rich in no time. I hit the commodity markets full of hope, buying up all the Yikyak meats I can afford (as they luckily had them in stock) and I set a course for profit city!
Things didn’t pan out as smoothly as hoped, however, as I get pulled out of warp en route by some doublejack pirates. No problem, says I, as I attempt to gun them down with controls that I’d initially found clunky, owed to the fact you can only travel the X-Y axis and not the Z, and realize that my on board AI is telling me that they’re too strong.
I flee the encounter, hitting that warp like a scared child and staying the course. Space is cold, and I’m reminded that I’m a little fuckin' fish in a big fuckin' pond.
I’m elated, though. The music in this game grabs you hard and tells you that “Rebel Galaxy is a good time!”
The score is so well done that the sound is ever changing to match the experience you’re having at that given moment. You can be cruising along peacefully in the void, admiring the stellar sights as you ease off the controls and enjoy the ride, accompanied by twangy western guitar music that reminds you that the final frontier is the wildest yet. Engaging in combat throws catchy rock music at you while you’re trading laser. I cannot think of any open world game that manages to match the score so perfectly to your situation. It really is a bit of a show stealer and I don’t find the tracks becoming stale with repetition.
Repetition, though, is what may turn some away from Rebel Galaxy. Inevitably and quickly you’re going to find that you’re doing a lot of the same thing but at different destinations for different yields. But the carrot on the stick just keeps you ticking.
For me the game dangled the tasty promises of making some scratch and modifying my rig with fancy shields, deflectors, broadsides and various other middle fingers to those doublejack bastard pirates that so rudely pull me out of warp and put out fake distress beacons to lure the Samaritan in me. I can’t even begin to describe the dopamine hit on gaining better ship classes and high end gear and becoming the big fucking fish in this big fucking pond.
I was the guy surviving insurmountable odds, trekking fearlessly across the stars with all my fancy merchant guild bells and whistles and top of the line weapons, engines and warp drives. Untouchable!
Until I got my jump drive and visited a neighboring star system that all too quickly reminded me that I am still just a little fish in a big fucking pond, and that Rebel Galaxy had many more carrots for me to chase.
Personally, I love this game, but I’m acutely aware that I’m part of a niche demographic. There’s a lot to love, but there are aspects that may lose an audience.
If you’re looking for your Star Wars style dogfights in this game then you’re in the wrong place.
Combat in Rebel Galaxy was a little clunky for me in the beginning, as the game doesn’t quite throw a tutorial at you. It took a while for things to click and make sense when I finally figured out how the health gauges worked and that combat wasn’t as much a dogfight as it was a naval style of combat. It works well once you’re in the know.
If you’re someone that can’t stand grinding in games, this isn’t for you. Rebel Galaxy is all about the grind, and if you can’t embrace it you’re going to have a bad time. Getting that dreadnought and swinging it at your enemies like you’re Ron Jeremy on super Viagra is not going to happen quickly at all, as this is one of the key reasons to repeat and repeat. I can’t even tell you how often I intended on playing for 2 hours and found out that 6 had passed me by. That’s what happens when the grind doesn’t feel like one.
Rebel Galaxy is worth a look. It’s free to PlayStation Plus members in the same month as No Man’s Sky is set to launch. A ballsy stroke of genius in my opinion. The best advertising is word of mouth, so putting it in many hands for no cost is going to ensure that it’s not a title that will be lost in obscurity.
GG, Double Damage, GG
You can’t take the sky from me!