If you’ve always dreamed of being an astronaut, now is your chance in the latest episode of Blackbird Interactive. In this title you will find yourself tired of living on an earth that has become a livable place after climate change. You have a lot of outstanding debt and want to build a new future for yourself. You’re striving to reach the stars, and you find an ad that seems to have the solution: you’re applying for a job at Lynx Corps, a company that dismantles spacecraft in large warehouses in orbit around our planet. You get the job and you have to read a lot of contracts (I couldn’t stop laughing at the absurd grooming rules and the different parts of the contract you sign). You’ll find all of that in this action game.
Blackbird Interactive did a great job of introducing players to their title as it has a great and entertaining story that helps to follow the context of the game and world building. Although not everything is as it should be and you realize that the company you work for is a nightmare that deprives you of all your rights. They pay off your debt and then increase it once they’re done with the equipment and training. Then all you have to do is work and work. An almost impossible task. This new future may not be exactly what you imagined, but hope is the last thing lost, they say, and it’s proven here. Your supervisor is a friendly man with a southern accent, and you soon meet other space dissectors from nearby stations.
You start with a very limited team and you must seize every opportunity that presents itself to you. You have limited shifts of about 15 minutes
It was difficult for me to learn to control the pressure differences between outside and inside. If you screw up, you can create an explosive reaction that will suck everything out of the ship. It’s important to know what you’re doing because you have health and you can die in the game. It’s not just pressure that matters, the further you advance, the more dangers you’ll encounter. Your company thought it was cheaper to let the workers take care of such things. If you’re not careful where you cut, you can create a domino effect where air pressure will explode containers and completely shatter the hull of your prized ship. It is important always have a plan to make as much money as possible. Luckily you have special equipment to help you and great training to prepare you for any danger.
plus Money equals bonuses and points to improve your team, so there are many reasons for progress. Don’t be alarmed if you get blown up, melted down, stabbed or otherwise killed. The company has already killed you once to gather all the genetic material it needs, including bodily fluids, to clone you. Each cloned body costs him a lot of money, so every time you die, the debt increases (yes, I know, that’s sad). Accidents continue to happen in this new universe, so don’t be surprised if you explode, burn, run out of oxygen, or die electrocuted, but don’t worry, you’ll learn from everything.
I have to say that sometimes I found it a bit repetitive and I missed a multiplayer mode, but I think the game got to me just in time. It’s an easy title designed for relaxation, although it takes time to learn to beat other players’ best records. The more tools you acquire, the more opportunities you have to bang your head out and smash your spaceships. It helps that it has great custom design and lighting which I think permeates all. The sounds and voice actors also fit perfectly with the game’s narrative. They don’t meet the characters in person, but they do talk to the player via email and radio. I also like the music which reminds me of the great game Bastion, the American South and the Wild West. Bastion’s music man Darren Korb describes their music as a “trip-hop acoustic frontier”. Hardspace: Shipbreaker removes that trip-hop aspect and features a lot of great songs. It’s not the first time we’ve seen a dark side of folk in space games, but it fits the theme perfectly.
What sets Shipbreaker apart is the combination of gameplay and music. It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing a huge spaceship levitate into easily sortable pieces. The developers have managed to bring a world full of atmosphere to life while floating in space thousands of kilometers from Earth.
While I love the music, gameplay, and setting, there are a few minor issues worth noting. I think that despite the increased complexity of the spaceships the game could have had a bit more variety in terms of scenarios and missions. Of course, I understand that the key is to simulate a very repetitive slave job, and that developers can’t do much more than present a polished basic concept to expand on later. But there are some errors and inaccuracies. You can accidentally trigger an explosion by not cutting where you should. In addition to battles with different difficulty levels, there is also an open game mode and a competitive mode, which offer more fun to play.
Unless you focus on the lack of variety and minor glitches, this is one of the best experiences of the year. In my case, I would get lost in the game for hours and find it hard to put down. So if you don’t get bored at first, you can make 20-30 hours out of it. However, if you’re not enthralled with the gameplay, you won’t like it. I am happy to see that there are more and more experiences that broaden our perspectives in these worlds. Shipbreaker’s gameplay concept would have been great to build an experience around the opening moments of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, allowing us to work for this universe’s “scavenger guild” and the great ships after the clone wars to put out of service. If you think Shipbreaker has something to offer you, give it a try.
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