Rebel Galaxy, an indie game that may just beat Elite
Rebel Galaxy is a game available for download on Steam and produced by Double Damage Games. It is available for PC and MAC OS X, there is also a PS4 version in the works. The game is a space-faring action shooter similar to Freelancer and Elite but one that concentrates on ships that are larger. Gameplay is set on a two-dimensional plane but with all the graphics cheats it has a gorgeous 3D look. The ship-to-ship gameplay seems inspired by Star Trek Online. You can place a vast array of offensive and defensive weapons on your ship as well as shields. That said, Rebel Galaxy manages to convincingly push the boundaries of the genre into a new direction. You can buy Rebel Galaxy on Steam for $ 17.99.
Rebel Galaxy is set in a procedural generated galaxy that has both a cowboy theme (think Firefly) and a pirate theme (think Freelancer). You can interact with plenty of alien characters, mine asteroids, raid for loot and explore anomalies. The maps that are generated are huge, with portions controlled by factions that could be friendly or hostile. In this universe a young swashbuckling pilot is looking for his aunt, while he also possesses an alien artifact that could change everything. Like GTA 5, players have the freedom to not follow the story when they want. The number of story missions is limited anyway. The best to get a better ship would be to accept one of the side missions or fly out looking for trouble. Despite the map size travelling is a delight. I never had any problems with finding my way. The use of hyper drives and shortcuts means that any part of the map is quickly accessible.
Gameplay – all broadside on!
Within a short gameplay session players who have played Elite Dangerous will quickly notice the similarities. Hauling cargo around to distant locations and the intermittent combat seems lifted right out of David Braben’s game. Yet, Rebel Galaxy has a much faster pace. Cargo hauling is dull but will quickly earn you money to buy the upgrades you need. Random combat is rewarded with loot that can be sold to buy even more upgrades, or even a new ship. Despite the similarities to other games Rebel Galaxy engages the player continuously. The action only slowdowns when you are travelling.
Ship-to-ship combat is the real meat of the game. It takes a while to get used to it though, firing broadsides against enemy targets feels counterintuitive as you are no longer watching where your ship is headed. Bumping into enemy ships, stations and asteroids not only does damage but can get you stuck. Luckily, ships are also fitted with turrets that can be set to fire automatically. They are less powerful than broadside guns but useful against fighters. In combat things can get hectic quickly. With multiple enemy and friendly ships it is difficult to say who is winning. Often combat is little more than an adrenaline fueled slugging match. Sadly, the frequent drops in frames per second can mean you lose overview completely.
Graphics of Rebel Galaxy
Rebel Galaxy is a beautiful game, without a doubt. However, I found that I had to turn down some graphics options on my gaming rig to play it at a decent frame rate. This is especially true during combat. The game makes good use of all possible graphical effects imaginable; lens flares, bloom and loads of decals. That said, the universe that has been generated is just a facsimile. Both planets and suns are barely larger than your ship. It feels as if you’re flying a ship in a bottle and it does lessen the immersion. While the ship and space station models are adequate, they can’t compare with Elite Dangerous or Star Citizen. On the tight budget that this game was made, the emphasize was on gameplay while graphics are good.
Rebel Galaxy is extremely entertaining. The experience reminded me a little of the first time I played Scrapland and Borderlands. Players are put almost directly into the action. That said, the game does suffer from a few glitches. I will point out that players can better switch off the music track entirely as it is far too distracting. This was my review of Rebel Galaxy. Below you can view the trailer if you want to.
Score; 8 / 10.