Reviews

Everspace: Stellar Edition review – Handheld Dogfighting

'Everspace' is a Space Dogfighter that functions within a Rogue-Lite setting, weird right? The weirdest thing is that the combination or normally foreign game styles marry up quite well. In fact, RockFish Head Honcho 'Michael Schade' told Reggie that he was opposed to the idea at first, taking his development team quite some time to talk him round to the idea.

During Reggie Reviews coverage of EGX 2018, Reggie got the chance to get a sneak preview of Everspace: Stellar Edition with none other than RockFish games Head ‘Michael Schade’. Whilst Reggie was wooed with Michaels seductive accent, we also got hands-on with Everspace running on a completely new engine. Unreal Engine 4 to be exact.

“Hehe, Cockpit.”

Completing the marriage is the overhaul of control mapping, HUD scaling for handheld play, and optimising Everspace to run on Nintendo Switches hardware. Which, (shocker) isn’t as powerful as other current-generation formats. However, I can safely say that little has been sacrificed on Everspaces flight over to Nintendo Switch, with most texture downgrades and graphical downgrades only noticeable in docked mode.

Even then, it’s not really a big deal when readers consider the infamous ‘Mud Smear’ textures most other ports have suffered in the name of performance. Looking back, it’s a stunning title, featuring nebulae, distant planets and other cosmic events popping out of the background. It’s a joy and something to show off when enjoying your latest dose of escapist lunch breaks.

You Must Learn Control!

The controls themselves can take a little getting used to, but Rockfish kindly integrated a complete button remapping option to help out. This isn’t to say the controls are duff or suffer from latency issues, it just works differently to most other space dogfighters. For example, I am used to using one thumbstick to control movement whilst the other controls momentum. In Everspace: Stellar Edition, the movement is more akin to FPS gameplay, which makes complete sense given the titles need to collect various items to drive it’s gameplay mechanics.

“Oodles and Oodles of… Repairs!”

Everspace has had a habit in the past of boasting it’s non-linear storyline. In all honesty, it isn’t exactly content rich either. This titles narrative mostly serves as a track for gameplay elements to stick to, which works quite well. Rather than spoil Everspaces script, I’ll be concentrating on what kind of experience to expect from the multi-platform hit.

A great example would be the opening tutorial, which is again driven by Everspaces narrative. It a great use of resources as I didn’t really feel like I was in an ‘on the rails’, guided experience due to the opening of the title serving as a revelation of sorts for the players’ protagonist. The whole experience just felt natural, which is a challenge to pull off on a title so reliant on narrative prompts in order to keep gameplay fresh.

Your Vehicle, Sir / Madam / Person

To your stations’ pilots, let’s discuss the ship you’ll be driving. It rocks two offensive weapons at one time, which can be switched out on the fly for a light or heavy variant that players can pick up throughout the level they are playing. This mechanic starts to shine when facing various types of antagonists in one dog fight, and also whilst looking for resources and the like, more on that in a second. Players can also pick up various buffs in-levels which have various effects on the ships abilities, borrowing features from bullet-hell titles of old.

“Let’s Do The (Procedurally Generated Rogue-Lite Level) Time Warp AGAIN!”

Back to resources, Everspace encourages management of the like, which can become a bit of a burden if players decide to go all-in on heavy artillery in the first instance. Whilst resources can be mined, it’s probably best not to do so in the middle of a fight. I found learning how to fight with light weaponry and saving the heavy hitters for a tight spot serves the protagonist and his ship best, it will also make for a much more satisfying playthrough.

As well as resources, Fuel and Scrap are required to jump or ‘Warp’ to new procedurally generated levels or upgrade a players ship respectfully. With that being said, it’s always hard to set an even playing ground between rogue-lite, procedurally generated levels and fair loot distribution. Luckily, RockFish have nailed this feature in Everspace by scattering items evenly thus ensuring a good experience all around. Let’s face it, we’ve all risked a cheap rogue-lite experience and got a ‘potluck’ gaming experience as a result. And no, I’m not naming names.

Verdict:

Graphics: 8

Presentation: 8

Gameplay: 8

Sound: 7

Overall Score: 7.8 / 10

Everspace: Stellar Edition is a worthy addition to a Switch owner’s library. Featuring some quirky features for a dogfighting game, it’s certainly not what you would expect from its genre. But in all honesty, it’s kind of made it’s on genr in a way, and it’s great to see a game release with its affairs in order, rather than a flat out identity crisis.

Format: Nintendo Switch(reviewed)
Price: £35.99 (UK eShop)
Publisher: RockFish
Developer: RockFish
Release Date: 11/12/2018

Review Copy Provided By Publisher

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