Posted: September 2, 2014
Early Access Review
***I will retain the original review here, but I will add and mark new points. If you want my most up-to-date review, scroll down.***
I'm going to be completely honest; there's a lot of potential here and I hope it reaches it, but so far I'm just not seeing it. I'm trying not to be too harsh, I respect the dev team and their game, but here are my impressions...
The first thing that comes to mind with this game is; There's alpha games, and then there's ALPHA games. While I play a lot of games in alpha and beta stages, I usually enjoy the experience because they often bring something new and innovative to the table to make them interesting. Sadly, I'm just not seeing it with the alpha of this game. There's little that I would consider standout, innovate, or unique. The mining lazer is cool, but not groundbreaking, and mindnumbingly slow without any upgrades in sight. At the very least, it should have the option to heat the targeted rock and at least one sqaure of the rocks around it at a slower rate. This would speed up the process while still allowing precision. Jetpacks are cool, but the limited energy and energy regen followed by blind jumps makes them more frustrating than anything. If nothing else, the early jetpacks could use a massive buff until more is added and that situation is sorted out strictly for exploration purposes. Beyond those two features, the game doesn't have much to offer.
My next gripe is the actual game's goal and layout. The game gives you the goal of terraforming, and that's about it. I really didn't like that goal. I don't feel like it's a goal at all. Terraforming is just something you DO in this kind of game from start to finish. I don't feel like something I'm going to be doing anyways -and can do at any point- should be my final goal. It gives little to work towards other than "look I mined out this rock lol." If my goal is to terraform, than I want to be given a final idea of what I'm terraforming towards, rather than just changing the landscape slowly. Which brings me to my other argument; the real "goal" players give themselves is simply going downwards. I feel like the only way to progress is to mine resources and then continue falling downwards in hopes of new discoveries. There's also multiple levels as you fall downwards, resulting in higher risk areas. This is great and all but then why terraform anything on the top levels if the better resources and more interesting stuff is downwards? Why even set your roots and your house at the top just to work your way back down and farther again? I'm not trying to be harsh, I just think some good thought has to be put into these concepts before the game moves forward and falls flat on its face.
I'm hoping that my investment, and the investments of everyone else gets put to good use here. I think somewhere in this alpha is a great game, but right now it's barely in a playable stage. It's just very unsinspiring when compared to the games everyone, myself included, will immediately pin it to- being Terraria and Starbound. Both of those games have unique and recognizeable art, music, gameplay, and attitude. Even the art in Edge of Space feels cluttered and weird and just like it needs to have its own personality to it. I will say that I love the music at the opening menu though.
Closing thoughts; I don't regret supporting this game and I hope it continues getting support so that it can become a full-fledged competitor with other similar games, and hold a meaningful spot in a steam library. That said, until the game brings proof that it's serious and has something to prove to the gaming world, I wouldn't recommend putting coin into it to have it gather dust in your steam library.
*** As of Jan. 30th, a few months after original review
Well I'm not entirely sure I can list everything they did, but the devs are pulling through on this one. With some UI overhauls, and massive variable tweaks, even the initial few minutes feel much more active and fluid than before. The progress curve is much more obvious right now and you have to work towards your progress points individually. Exploration is a bit easier now as jetpacks have recieved decent buffs, nulling my earlier complaint about them. Also mining has been considerably buffed, with an early "overcharged" mining lazer now available that damages at least 2 layers of blocks at a time. So my mining complaint is decently nulled. There's a bunch of other tweaks/buffs that improve fluidity of gameplay including changes to weapons, monster health, so on so on.
My initial impression before was that the game was an unplayable wreck and I was a bit disappointed in it. Right now my impression is that I can really start to get into this game. Although I feel it's a bit lacking in overall content right now, yaddayadda it's an alpha, we've been here before. It could just use a bit more... Variation? Maybe just several different sprites for the wildlife or something. The sights get a bit repetitive at the start. I haven't moved too far in yet as there is quite a lot of grinding involved now.
All-in-all I'm refraining from saying I recommend this game just yet. While it has shown significant improvement and I feel like the devs have listened to complaints and worked to better the game, I'm still not ready to recommend this game. I'm going to see if the devs are still dedicated to improving the game and adding content, and if they seem committed and the game starts to come together I will change it to recommended in a heartbeat.