Rebel Galaxy, a small title I’d never heard of or knew anything of in the slightest. But then a Twitter post pops up on my feed from a friend raving about this “little” title, from how much fun it is to the stonkingly good soundtrack. OK I thought, my interest was piqued and said friend is usually right on the money on most occasions, so I go straight to the PS Store and begin downloading.
On the surface the premise is a fairly simple one. Take the superb naval combat mechanics from Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and transpose it all to outer space. THAT right there was enough to put a huge smile on my face! But to say it’s just a re-skinned naval warfare game would be to do a huge disservice to developer Double Damage. We have a vast, procedurally generated galaxy of 14 systems to explore, giving you a substantial ocean of possibilities in which to create some mischief. Then when married together with some marvelous rock music, slick responsive controls and an addictive ship upgrade system, that smile won’t dissipate anytime soon.
Now if all of this is sounding too good to be true, you’d be half right. As with any good RPG-style of game, starting on the lowest rung of the food chain and rising up to Emperor Palpatine levels of power has always been the main hook to keep us going. Equally the same here. Our budding space explorer sets out looking for their aunt, a smuggler of some notoriety, the details of which are hinted at from various “acquaintances” we run in to. Her old heap of junk, rust bucket of a trawler is our starting vessel, equipped with the equivalent of tissue paper for shields and pea shooters for offensive abilities.
Early enemy encounters often result in getting completely pasted many times. Thankfully the explosions look lovely, shame it was my ship getting turned into confetti and not the enemy factions.
These difficulty spikes can be extremely frustrating, but stick with it through the first couple of hours and before long you’ll have enough credits together for some sweet new proton canons for your broadsides and pulse turrets to help take care of enemy fighters buzzing around you like flies.
Mission types come thick and fast quickly and can be added to your mission log whenever you dock at a space station. Menus are clear and intuitive to navigate through, whether it be outfitting your ship, selling your cargo on the in-game stock market, or picking up bounties to hunt down the local scum and villainy. Everything has been made easy so that you are out there looking for that final frontier instead of wrestling with your ship’s pitch/yaw in order to dock at a friendly port.
Controls and menus are simple then, in a very good way, but there’s a depth here that I wasn’t expecting and frankly, caught me completely off guard. The aforementioned stock market for any goods you collect can go up or down in value depending on the trading port you are currently docked at. You can mine asteroids for minerals, hire mercenaries for protection runs and even hail other vessels out there with you in the void. Incoming transmissions too can sometimes bring up hilarious dialogue options if your feeling like picking a fight. There is even a rather nifty Tactical command option for the AI weapon turrets. These can be assigned to: Any, Targeted Only, Locked Only, Fighters Only, Capital Ships Only and finally Turrets Only.
All of this has been from only the first 5-6 hours of playing it but I am completely hooked. I WANT those MKVII HS Missile Launchers and that Ceramic Hull Plating, oh and that Ramming Deflector! Although an extra capacity Smugglers’ Hold would be handy too.
Version played: PS4 | Also available for: Xbox, PC
The games soundtrack has a playlist on Spotify here