7 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 9.2 hrs on record
Posted: Oct 3, 2018 @ 12:44pm
Updated: Oct 3, 2018 @ 1:19pm
Product received for free

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Space Bob vs. The Replicons is such a lovely physics-based sandbox exploration/survival resource-management game that has been recently released by Intravenous Software (a totally solo developer). The mechanics seem simple, in that all you are doing is gathering resources, bring it to your ship, doing some simple crafting/upgrading, and going from planet to planet with an end goal in mind. What's working against you are your own resources remaining and those pesky Replicons, which is dead-bent on destroying any hint of humanity.

The standard mode comes with a time limitation and permadeath, both of which make the game really difficult. But there is a much more relaxed "practice mode" where there are no Replicon enemies and no time limit. You just play as you will and you can revive after you die for 1000 credits. This is the good mode to practice on, because the hardest part of the game is the physics and controls.

Playing through the tutorial is what you will do as you begin the game, but that hardly accounts for all of the trouble you will run across in the main game. The tutorial is just a simple blanket to offer you some personal comfort and safety before the game rips it and exposes you to the cold, deep, endless space.

The physics is the best part of this game, and it is designed really well. You thought you knew what you were doing in the tutorial and thought that all of those people commenting about the difficult were just not as good as you, until you start trying to balance things left and right on your small spacecraft to bring back to your ship. There's a fine line between balancing things on either side, pendulous swings, and making sure you are not being overburdened, but still trying to carry as much as possible. What makes the decision even more interesting is the different types of resources that you can collect while you are surfaced on the individual planets.

This game is addictive, even though it's hard. You can probably spend days buried in this one game and still be a slave to its mechanics. I was told that I would be frustrated somewhere between 2-4 hours in terms of learning controls, I would say it's pretty accurate. At the same time, I am still struggling a few hours beyond that. (I am still playing around in the experimental mode without a time limit because I am so bad at it.)

The game's rewards are itrinsic mostly, although if you happen to finish a run, you would land in the leaderboards. This seems to be a pretty faraway goal at the moment. You certainly feel a sense of accomplishment when you manage to slowly make your way to the goal. Perhaps you will get a little farther next time, perhaps you will not. But what you do while you are at it is entirely up to you.

There are difficulty settings for you to pick when you start each run. There is a setting to half your damage but get no score multipliers. There are several other settings to make the game more difficult, but with bigger rewards.

This game isn't perfect, but it's really good. And the developer is super active and very responsive to player opinions. This is certainly someone who cares and wants to have all of the players truly enjoy this game for what it is.

The game should be played with a controller, in my opinion. The mapping of the functions

The following would benefit the game in my opinion:
-Addition of a edge-of screen indicators for locations of the space ship and maybe some important resources. It would be great if distances are included too, but that might be asking for too much. Right now you have to do a lot of zooming in/out and while it's not a problem, zooming out enough to see the ship means that you have to stop paying attention the smaller details on the planet surface.
-Seeing how everything is physics based, I am not sure if it would be good to introduce different gravitational pulls and thus altering the physics based on the sizes/masses of planets. (I don't really want to make this game more difficult, but just a thought.)
-Some individual objectives for some planets. Or maybe make them all optional, but given that the resources are randomly generated when you go to a planet, it might be good for the computer AI to show what resource are available as well. Even then, some things are not even obviously resources until you manage to get close and interact with them anyway.

Conclusion
Space Bob vs. The Replicons recently came out of Early Development and is a very fun physics-based exploration/survival game that can give you lots of play with significant difficulty, but still maintain its casual nature (in the untimed and no Replicon mode anyway). If you can consistently beat this game, you have my utmost respect. If this game sounds interesting to you, it's because it is. I would certainly recommend it.

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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