It’s Rogue-like month here during June for absolutely no reason whatsoever, so I’m going to be looking at four different lesser-known games with Rogue elements that you may or may not have heard of. Previously, we’ve seen Hellmut: The Badass From Hell, Rico, and Descenders, but finally it’s the turn of Everspace.
I was a huge fan of space shooters when I was younger. The X-Wing and TIE Fighter games were constantly on my PC, and Freespace 2 was tremendous. Then there was Wing Commander and Tachyon which got plenty of attention from me too. As a genre though, space sims seemed to disappear for a long time. Thankfully, they’ve made something of a comeback in recent years, and Everspace is one that I’ve had a great deal of fun with.
Everspace is essentially FTL, but with you flying and fighting from first person. You’ll fly from node to node, trying to reach a lab at the far end of the sectors your flying through, with the ultimate goal of finding out who the hell you are, and why when you die you come back in a cloned body. As is often the case, the story isn’t the biggest part of the Rogue-like experience, but it’s there, and meeting certain characters along the way will expand on the universe.
Being a space game, each node is big and has plenty to explore (and plenty of empty space too). There are traders, wrecks, convoys, pirates, and more to find in each area, and this exploration is somewhat essential if you’re going to have a hope. You’ll find new weapons and ship systems that will power you up to the point you’ll be able to take on later, more threatening sectors. The small squads of raiders you come across early on can be difficult due to their numbers, but later nodes will have you coming under attack from powerful fighters backed up by frigates and more. You could just race for the jump gate and hop off to the next sector, but there’s no way you’ll survive that final confrontation without some serious upgrades.
To say Everspace is hard is something of an understatement, especially if you aren’t familiar with space shooters. I consider myself somewhat well versed in the genre, but I had to play it on easy for quite some time before even making it to the last node, let alone winning. The controls don’t always help, depending on your experience. I was expecting to fly around in something of a simulation style environment, more akin to Elite: Dangerous, but your ship controls much more like the one in Descent, with you being able to strafe from stationary, or whilst in motion. It took some getting used to, but it does work well and keeps the pace up.
In fact, this control scheme works really well with the combat, which is quite thrilling when you’re taking on multiple foes. You’ll find yourself darting in and out of range as you offload a set of missiles on one enemy before unleashing a laser barrage against another. Making use of the systems and powers you’ve picked up along the way is key to surviving big encounters, and running away should absolutely be a tool in your arsenal as death can be quick and brutal.
Everspace looks and sounds tremendous. It’s impressive how fantastic everything looks even on console. There’s often a lot going on with very little slowdown, and the photo mode really shows off all the detail and lighting effects. Take a look at those screenshots! The voice work is a bit sub-par at times, but other sound effects are really quite good and sell a sci-fi atmosphere.
Of all the Rogue-likes I’ve played in recent years (and there have been a lot), this is probably my favourite. It’s quite different to most others, feels good to play, and looks fantastic, so there’s really not much to complain about here! If you need a Rogue game in your life, this is a great choice and its available on pretty much everything along with an expansion called Encounters which adds even more!