ROCKFISH Games highly anticipated space exploration title, Everspace, has hit the Game Preview programme, and brings with it a brand-new concept to space exploration. Will it live up to the hype, or will it be nothing more than a standard space B-movie?

Everspace has a simple premise, to survive as long as possible whilst making your way through seven varying sectors. But, of course, nothing is that easy in space, and you will have to fight and pillage your way through the galaxy.

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Everspace is a roguelike game, a genre which prides itself on trial and error. Every run is an exercise in patience and learning. What went wrong that time? What do I need to keep an eye out for next time? What kick ass weapons can I get my hands on to make my next run last a little longer than a couple of minutes?

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Your ultimate aim is to reach the end of Sector Seven, but to do so you must make your way through a series of sub-sectors in each main sector. Each sub-sector comes with its own unique challenges, be it high-speed enemy drones, that are surprisingly deadly, or agile fighter ships with similar abilities to you. However, with each danger, a wealth of riches is also to be found in each sector. A quick area scan will highlight ores, credits, fuel, upgrades, and more which are littered about after a big dogfight, or after scouting a nearby wreckage. Each of these elements help in your endeavour to reach the end of each sector, either using ores to create new missiles, or equipping a brand-new flak cannon, increasing your chances of survival.

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However, it is not recommended that you spend too much time in each sector, as eventually an almost impenetrable enemy fleet, called the Interceptors, will warp in to ruin your fun. My natural curiosity got the better of me, and I was instantly vaporised as I sidled up for a closer look.

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When the inevitable does happen, and death will be a regular thing when you start out, all is not lost however. Yes, you lose all collected materials and upgrades you gained during your last run, however any credits you obtained stay with you. The upgrade options are deep and varied, and you’ll often find yourself counting your credits to see if you can squeeze one last little upgrade to your shield. Unfortunately, any credits you have left over will disappear, so it is always worth taking your time to see how you can optimise the credits you do have.

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I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not particularly good at flying in games, but after about half an hour of Everspace, I found myself adapting well to the controls. It doesn’t use your typical setup, like Elite: Dangerous, and it took a little while to get to using the left analogue stick for your vertical movement, but it felt natural quite quickly. The overall control scheme is relatively simple, and it doesn’t take long for you to memorise the button maps. After coming from Elite: Dangerous, this was welcome, as I feel an overly complicated control scheme would have ruined Everspace.

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The first thing that struck me when starting Everspace up for the first time was just how gorgeous it is. It’s clean, crisp, and makes great use of the Unreal engine. Along with a beautiful look, the sound is equally excellent, with enemy sounds easily placed, and an adorable dialogue throughout between the pilot and the AI. The soundtrack, too, is exceptional and really pulls the whole package together.

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It’s hard to remember that Everspace is still in production, especially considering how polished and tuned it already is. It will be interesting to see what ROCKFISH Games have up their sleeve for future updates; there are already signs for two more ships which will be available to you before you head out on your next attempt.

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Overal, Everspace is a highly polished, thoroughly enjoyable roguelike adventure, which any fans of space flight titles will love. It excels in that “one more go” factor, especially after you fail spectacularly in around two minutes, but your next run could be the one. With its random encounters, and deep customisation options, Everspace never gets “samey”, and continues to offer an exciting and varied experience every time you start it up. Personally, I’m excited to see what the ROCKFISH Games have in store for the future.

Everspace is now available at part of the Xbox One Game Preview Programme for £24.99.

Thanks to ROCKFISH Games & Xbox for supporting TiX