By Mohammad Abubakr
Sometimes it can be great to take a break from hardcore MMOs or FPS games and spend some time playing single player indie games. Rebel Galaxy let me jump away from my fantasy and war torn worlds and move into the edges of the known universe. Developed and published by Double Damage studios, Rebel Galaxy is a space adventure and action game with some RPG elements allowing players to explore, discover, and trade in the known universe. Having been founded by Travis Baldree, the project and engineering lead on Mythos, and Erich Schaefer, the co-creator and lead designer of Diablo and Diablo II, I came into Rebel Galaxy expecting another great indie game.
First of all, I am a fan of space, flight, and naval style combat. All of these interests were present and fed by Rebel Galaxy so it is not surprising that I enjoyed my time playing the press copy of Rebel Galaxy. The official game will be released on October 20, 2015 and patches fixing bugs and modifying the gameplay from community feedback are already being released. I do not expect the game to be drastically modified especially since the release is so close and therefore we can jump straight to a full review rather than just focusing on first impressions and revisiting the game in the future for a full review. There is plenty of content and polish already present in the game for it to qualify for a full review.
Large space battles can be quite intense
As mentioned above, at its core, Rebel Galaxy is an RPG. The game lets players live the life of a commander on a powerful star destroyer. You can battle pirates, explore the world, befriend aliens, mine asteroids, and even discover artifacts. All of this can be done following your own path. If you want to do good, you can, or if you want to follow the path of a rogue pirate, you can. The game truly lets you play how you want; even the responses to NPCs can be chosen manually through the dialogue system.
I personally decided to follow the law and focus on good missions and later on also take part in some mining and trading to earn money. This money can be used to upgrade your ship, purchase new parts, new ships, and even hire mercenaries. If you really want to continue to make money, you can even purchase additional goods and trade them around other stations to make a profit. I felt like I was playing Eve again, although Rebel Galaxy does have a more involved combat and movement system.
The movement and combat is very well done due to the simple and intuitive controls. A gamepad is recommended and therefore the game was played using an Xbox 360 controller for this review. As you would expect, space is massive. For this reason, all ships are equipped with boosters and warp drive. If you are clear of any stellar mass, warp drive can be initiated to travel at very high speeds. It’s a blast to fly around and explore. Unfortunately, the different areas are not as unique from each other as I would like, making exploration feel a bit like a chore after a while. Another thing to note would be that the player’s movement is only in the X and Y planes, you cannot move up or down on the Z axis.
With the simple and intuitive controls, along with the responsive movement, you never feel like your ship is doing something you did not intend. The combat is fast paced and easy to follow and participate in. As briefly mentioned above, the ships fight using side mounted cannons as seen in naval combat. I have always been a fan of ships and this type of fighting but definitely was not expecting to find it in Rebel Galaxy. For those unfamiliar with ships or naval combat, in order to fire at your enemy, you must rotate your ship and fire from your left or right sides. This system makes it essential to have good positioning as you cannot always fire back at your opponents; getting caught off guard can be quite costly. There are top mounted weapons and even missiles that can be used but your main source of damage will be from your side mounted cannons. (Missiles may do more damage but they have limited rounds)
The naval style combat is a ton of fun
What you do in Rebel Galaxy is entirely up to you. There is a main storyline which players can follow or they can branch off and complete optional side missions. If you are not a fan of just fighting, you can pilot a mining barge and spend your time breaking rocks. Or if you are just in it for the money, you can travel around space to different space stations smuggling or trading. There is a lot to do in Rebel Galaxy.
Unfortunately the missions are not as exciting as I would hope for from a space action adventure game, and they are mostly made up of the generic tasks we find in MMORPGs such as deliveries or assassinations. The difficulty of some of the battles does add a lot to the game. You will have to run away from some battles or ambushes. It can be frustrating having to run away or be blown away but this only increases the satisfaction of returning in the future with a stronger ship and maybe a hired mercenary to exact revenge.
There are multiple classes of ships, each with their own advantages and disadvantages
All of this is accompanied by an amazing soundtrack. Indie games are always leading when it comes to their soundtracks. I am not a big fan of game music, typically turning it off in exchange for my own, but Rebel Galaxy hits the mark with their background tunes. Players even have the option to substitute the in game music with their own custom music!
Warp is quite cool
Conclusion: A refreshing game offering a new way to have fun and pass time.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent playing the reviewers copy of Rebel Galaxy. With everything offered in Rebel Galaxy, it is quite surprising to see it available for only $20! That’s right, a game with so much to do and as much polish as Rebel Galaxy is available for only $20 on Steam. It’s great to see a reasonably priced game and not have to fork out $60 (or $70-80 for us Canadians…) and still be presented with a game packed with features and polish.
I recommend this game to anyone looking to pass time and enjoy yourselves while experiencing a more unique game. Great job Double Damage Studios!
The graphics in Rebel Galaxy look good and there are plenty of options available for customization. I was especially happy to see an option for windowed fullscreen which is a godsend for those with multiple monitors. While the graphics look good, the level design and areas are comparatively lacking to the point I don’t feel the draw to explore. You can fly across the galaxy and yet the worlds look quite similar.
Overall, the controls in Rebel Galaxy are very well done. They are intuitive and responsive. The only complaint I have is with regards to the turning and camera controls. In Rebel Galaxy, you turn towards the direction you are facing. Sometimes this makes the turns appear very slow and can even result in unwanted turns when you simply wanted to rotate your camera.
For a game that is priced at only $20, Rebel Galaxy offers a lot for your money. There is a lot to do in the game and you can play the game how you want. This results in a lot of options and paths that can be taken with their being always something to do.
There is a good amount of customization as you can purchase new ships and customize the ship’s loadout.
Being a single player game, there isn’t much I can comment on about the community. There is a (small) following behind this game but we will see how it fairs once the game is publicly available.