Even with the low res textures and low poly terrain the game looks damn good. You’ll find gaps in the map further away from the typical spawn points. This is forgivable since you really have to travel pretty far afield and a long while before those cracks show up. The alien creatures are well detailed. The structures are also given the right amount of attention. This includes the textures which many similar games tend to skimp on. Your little droid companion is also lovingly assembled with the same care put into the player model which is spectacular. Even third person view doesn’t do the player model justice. While playing with friends you might catch yourself admiring the graphical fidelity and fluidity of their characters. This comes at a cost. There is very little customization you can make to your avatar beyond recoloring components of the pressure suit. At the time I played the game there was no way to recolor other assets in the game. Being able to produce a custom skin for your assault rifle and handgun would have been a real hook for some. The weapons and tools also enjoy rich modeling with emission effects, particles and mapping that lets you visually differentiate between metals and polymers. I also recently noticed you character leaves tracks in the terrain. Sadly they do not persist for long.
The sound track is gentle. Almost cautiously so. Though it added to the aire of survival it also made tasks feel slow. The satisfying if repetitive slam of the mining tool fits in just as well as the whir of the multi-tool. The handgun shares the zap of the gun on the droid companion and both make satisfyingly crunchy sound when they score a hit on a hostile. When you character tires from running there is an aggressive but not intrusive panting sound that intensifies with more stress. The Head Up Display inside your character’s helmet also give off several distinct warning tones. The music is also contextual. When mining or exploring the audio track sticks to softer pieces of the background music selection. It ramps up nicely and delivers a musical queue when hostiles are close. When your suit takes damage the puncturing sound is rightfully jarring and jolts the player into evasive action. When healing yourself or patching your suit there’s a calming tone as your HUD acknowledges the change in state and reflects the repairs. Resource gathering and item construction also have their own set of satisfying tones. They do an adequate job of letting you know that you’ve made progress on your current task.
I’ve stated this in so many place: I wanted to love this game. It’s just not there yet. It was a love at first sight situation. The relationship started well but dysfunctions began to show up right away. As fixes have been made the severity of these issues has gone down. But there’s still much ground to cover. The list of issues would resemble a diss-track by a popular rap artist. I’ll ballpark as much as I can. Because outside of these problems in mechanics I see a lot of potential. First issue would be difficulty. Even at low spawn rates and lowered hostility the alien creatures are a tough bunch. You need items from them to craft weapons suitable to dispatch them without wasting ammo or risking losing a valuable gun. Even a salvaged knife would be a welcome addition if it could 1-hit immature mobs. A sharpened bit of wreckage with a salvaged rubber handle would do. As a child I made shurikens from laminated steel with tin snips. I’ll take a few of those. When it comes to resources there’s no guide telling you how to gather gases or liquids. Some basic materials become very hard to come by such as carbon. Being able to consume tree bark in a furnace to produce char and refine that into carbon would be a life saver. Getting raw lead from veins of radioactive material would also be beneficial. If I must travel to find these resources how about early in the game we have a craft-able hover pack upgrade for distance travel or some sort of rover? The map tool is useful but it doesn’t really seem to scan for minerals. Even a hint in a direction to go to find carbon and lead would be nice. Having to rely on a Wiki page to find resources kills any immersion. In my last play of the game there were still different types of alien meat that do not provide benefits beyond reducing hunger. Why do we need over half a dozen meats that produce an equal amount of individual cooked meats? You could get back a lot of valuable UI space just condensing those into ‘alien meat’ and ‘grilled alien meat’. This simple change would not disrupt immersion unless meat for specific mobs had special benefits associated with them.
This game has sadly turned into another Grav for me. An empty sandbox with no one else willing to play in it. You might get lucky and find a shard of glass or a cat turd in it. But if you sift through it hoping for a real gem your going to be disappointed until the dev takes on player feedback and makes changes needed to make the game worth 25 dollars on Steam. Quite honestly I would have asked for a refund. Unfortunately the game was donated. Apologies to the donor.
TL: DR; At the 25 dollar price point don’t bother. It’s not complete. Not even close. Improvements have been made. But the devs have yet to validate the price of admission.
Give it another year of core mechanic updates.