Tag Archives: Space

Strategy game Mars Horizon announced

Intrigued by rocket building, mission control, space agency management and space in general, then Auroch Digital have you covered with their upcoming strategy game Mars Horizon, due for release in Q4 this year on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Mars Horizon is a strategy game in which players control a government space agency. Picking between the space agencies of either Europe, Russia, or the United States, the players then control the agency to collaborate or compete in a decades-spanning campaign to expand humanity’s reach further into space. With each game an alternate history begins to be shaped and guided by the player’s actions, building iconic rockets, probes, and satellites that transmit crucial scientific data back to your customisable Earth HQ, all the while researching, investing in, and bolstering your space flight capabilities.

During the player’s version of the space race, perhaps Europe work with Russia, sending satellites into orbit? Could it be that the US get this first satellite into space but that Russia achieves the first moon landing? Who will be best poised to venture to Mars because of learnings from earlier missions? Players will research new tech, expand their agency base, build rockets, send satellites into orbit, and launch a variety of missions throughout the Solar System. The game culminates in the first crewed mission to Mars, setting the stage for humanity to become a multiplanetary species.

The UK Space Agency provided support in the form of a grant plus advice and information on space exploration and the running of an actual space agency for Mars Horizon. Auroch Digital are advocates for video games both as entertainment but also as a medium with the power to explore real world issues and ideas. Speaking about the game, Auroch Digital’s Design Director, Dr Tomas Rawlings said…

We wanted to distil the wonder, drama, and the galaxies of possibility that space offers us as a species, into game form. Mars Horizon is our love-letter to the race into space and the challenges and triumphs of humanity on the way to becoming a multiplanetary species.

If the teaser trailer and screenshots aren’t enough to satisfy your curiosity, then you can check out the Auroch Digital podcast detailing the games’ production. You can listen and subscribe to the Auroch Digital podcast HERE – get to know the team, the process, and learn about how space engineering has been translated for the video game medium in Mars Horizon.

The Station review

The Station may be a short game but its story is well-told, its puzzles well-themed to the environment, and the visuals, sound effects and music do a great job in immersing you. However, is that enough to tempt you with its £11.99 price point?

The developers boast in The Station’s store page that “the best stories are shown not told” and there’s certainly a sense of that with this title. There’s a huge amount of environmental storytelling in every room and corridor you visit, making exploring the space station setting an intriguing endeavour.

You are a specialist sent to uncover why communication was lost to a space station orbiting and spying on an alien civilisation. This discovery of aliens has reshaped your world and provided countless scientific discoveries. However, the aliens are fighting a civil war on their planet, and so present a potential threat, deterring you from making yourselves known and engaging with them. Instead, a stealth space station has been deployed to spy and study them, with a small three member crew. Now communication has been lost it’s your job to uncover what went wrong and how compromised the station is.

Uncovering the fate of the crew involves you exploring each room of the space station and solving simple puzzles to gain access to new areas. There’s nothing too taxing here, it’s all very logical and appropriate to the situation you find yourself in, which helps greatly with immersing you in the story and setting. Furthermore, practically everything can be interacted with, making it a playground of objects you can examine and fling about. Fortunately, despite this you’re unlikely to be led astray with useless items, instead the important things are obvious enough visually, and explained well enough with your mission tracker, to keep you on the critical path.

And indeed, if you stick entirely to the critical path, The Station offers a mere couple of hours of content before you reach it’s rather predictable but still satisfying end. It’s a very short story with an interesting tale but one you’re likely to guess within the first fifteen minutes. However, there’s more to discover that helps bolster the story with additional titbits of information, should you go looking for it.

There are lockers to be found that can be opened with a little searching and puzzle solving, as well as plenty of computer terminals to snoop through. Meanwhile, the aforementioned visual storytelling of each room is particularly strong, with notes, stains, books and other objects painting a vivid picture of what life was like on the space station for the three person crew. There’s an intriguing set of stories for each member, granting you a better understanding of their personalities and motivations. And indeed, these character are well-rounded individuals; learning about them builds a bond with them, making the story and the ending feel more significant.

Excellent visuals and sound also help to bring the space station to life. It’s mostly dark, a cliché lighting model for space stations that have suffered a failure of some kind, however, other light sources help give an identity to each room, with subtle hues to denote the different personalities of the crew and neon lighting acting as a theme through the common areas. Music is rarely used, and when it is used it’s short and brilliantly effective. It all comes together to give the space station a superbly immersive atmosphere.

Indeed, ‘immersive’ is the word I keep coming back to. The Station does an excellent job in capturing your attention, and while its short runtime is disappointing it does feel appropriate to the story it wishes to tell. If then you’re looking for a bit of a palette cleanse; a walking simulator in a sci-fi setting, with light puzzle elements and an intriguing story, then The Station is just the title for you.

Thanks to Xbox and The Station Game for supporting TiX

Morphite review

It’s No ‘No Man’s Sky’, but it doesn’t need to be.

Morphite is Blowfish Studios’ mobile-come-console exploration game, which puts you in the shoes of Myrah, a girl who explores the galaxy, against her mentor’s wishes, in search of the titular Morphite; an item with immense power, both creative and destructive. It also has links to Myrah’s past. The expositional mouthpiece is Kitcat, a robotic cat. Kitcat is the show stealer, no doubts.

In Morphite you’ll explore dozens of planets, with each acting like a small Metroidvania environment in which you’ll shoot monsters and solve puzzles to obtain key items and progress the story. As you play, you’ll discover new ways to upgrade both Myrah and her ship – which criminally doesn’t have a name. Upgrading is done mainly via vendors and space stations. Upgrading your armour is a must, for a while at least, as it grants access to new planets; those that are too hot or cold are restricted at first. Upgrades require currency, these chunks are obtained via looting chests, killing monsters and destroying other objects on the surfaces of the worlds you explore. The chunks are complimented with resources which are obtained by picking harvesting mineral nodes found scattered around the various landscapes on the numerous planets you’ll find yourself visiting.

You have a fair few gadgets at your disposal, from grenades to a robo-pet. These tools will allow you to approach each location with a degree of freedom; you can choose to just go in phasers-a-blazing, killing any wildlife in your way, or you could – if you upgraded your shields and/or scanner – tank the damage from hostile animals and scan them for valuable data. This data can then be sold to upgrade your items further.

This circular approach sums up Morphite nicely, as, like a circle, Morphite doesn’t stray from the formula it establishes very early on. This isn’t a necessarily bad thing, as we have to remember that Blowfish made Morphite as a mobile title first, with console following.

As I stated at the beginning – It’s No No Man’s Sky, but it doesn’t need to be.

Thanks to Xbox and Crescent Moon Games for supporting TiX

Tacoma Review

Tacoma is going to be a very difficult game to review and score. It will probably be the shortest review I am going to write since joining TiX, as I can’t go into too much detail about the story in fear of giving you any spoilers. And, most importantly, the day after finishing Tacoma, I am still not sure how I feel about it.

Tacoma is the latest game from Fullbright, a very small team of developers whose past game, Gone Home, was extremely well received when released on PC, and has since been ported over to Xbox One. Both Gone Home and Tacoma are examples of games which have been given the somewhat harsh moniker of “Walking Simulators”, which are short, story based experiences.

Tacoma is a story, set in 2088, about six astronauts who are based on the Lunar Transfer Station Tacoma, 200,000 miles from Earth. You play as Amy Ferrier, a contractor assigned by the stations owners, the Venturis Corporation, to enter the abandoned Tacoma station to retrieve AI data from each of its sections and retrieve the physical processing module of ODIN, the station’s AI.

As you explore the station you use an AR device to witness the events that have befallen the crew, leading to the Tacoma becoming abandoned. Using the AR device you are also able to investigate the crew’s personal logs and emails, to see their individual thoughts and messages home. All these AR sections play like video clips, giving you the ability to forward, rewind and pause events to gain all the AI data needed. During these sections you discover codes which enable you to open new areas of the space station. Also dotted around are various objects, which when manipulated can earn you some nice easy achievements.

When you first encounter the AR mechanism its a little bit confusing, as there are markers at various time locations on the bar. But when you realise that they are colour coded, and each crew member is also colour coded, then the objective becomes clear. Each AR sequence can also be split, with the crew members splitting off and having their own conversations, which means the sequences have to be played through multiple times with your focus on different crew members.

The story is by far the most immersive element of Tacoma, especially the back stories and emotional moments witnessed in the various emails and messages sent between the crew, and between their families back home. Just by witnessing these moments, and by reading letters or notes left in drawers, you feel a bond and form emotional attachments to the characters, so much so that you really root for their survival.

The design of the space station Tacoma is also superb. You do feel like you are on a living, breathing space station, where a small group of people live and work. The simple additions of areas like Laundry Rooms and Kitchens, although not the most exciting areas, make it feel realistic. Each area of the station is connected via a hub, where there is no gravity, so you have to manoeuvre being weightless. From the hub, getting to each individual area is done via a long tube with a mechanical lift, which positively reinforces the feeling that you are on a space station. Each area has gravity, so it’s back to walking!

Tacoma is short. I am going to get that right out in the open. It is really short. All in all, to get every bit of content from this game will take about three hours. And that’s it’s biggest flaw.

When the game is about to finish, I was expecting it to move to a new location, or tell me that there has been a mistake and that there was a whole secret area to investigate. But there wasn’t. It was Game Over (man). So, apart from mopping up achievements for the full 1000 Gamerscore, that was it. The achievements are also pretty easy to get, but you will probably need a guide as most are secret and you may not naturally do some of these things whilst playing.

The shortness of Tacoma is the reason I am still unsure what rating to give it. Tacoma is a great piece of storytelling, in a fairly new, inventive way, but it left me feeling a bit empty afterwards. It just didn’t give me enough. I wanted more story, I wanted to see what happened afterwards. I wanted more history of both the crew and the Venturis Corporation.

And, unfortunately I came across a few bugs. At times the framerate drops a lot, and this mostly happened when travelling to different areas of the ship. On one of these occasions it also caused the game to crash, so it’s not perfect in its performance. This even takes place when the game starts with the message “Press A to start”, and you press A and nothing happens, so you keep pressing A until finally the game catches up with the first press of A. The bugs are not game breaking but are definitely frustrating.

So, this is my dilemna. Should you play Tacoma? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt. But, if you are like me, you’ll come away with a slight sense of disappointment, as you’ll feel a bit cheated on what time you spend for your £15.

Thanks to Xbox and Fullbright for supporting TiX

Songbringer coming this summer

Spaceships, drugs, parties, adventure and swords, sounds like the perfect party doesn’t it. Unfortunately, it’s not a party but the works of a one man development firm called Wizard-Fu, Nathanael Weiss is the main man and he does the programming, design, art, music and business behind Songbringer.

Songbringer Introduces Roq – a shirtless carefree dude just cruising the galaxy in search of the ultimate party aboard the space-faring art party ship, Songbringer. When Roq accidentally awakens an ancient evil army, the galaxy as he knows it is thrown into war. Now it’s up to Roq and his trusty sidekick, Jib, to save the galaxy from total annihilation.

Songbringer presents a gorgeous procedurally-generated overworld with ten dungeons in 3/4 perspective. Players enter a six-letter world seed code when starting a new adventure, granting them the possibility to explore 308 million unique environment combinations – no adventure is ever the same, unless you share your code with friends: The seed codes generate the world dynamically and deterministically, so entering the same seed will always generate the same world.

Features

  • Single-player action RPG
  • AI or human-controlled second player
  • Local co-operative two player mode
  • Full gamepad support, including rumble
  • Realtime combat
  • 7 kinds of weapons including the nanosword, boomerang-like tophat, bombs, blink orb, ghost sword projectile, lighter and kilobombs
  • Hundreds of unique items and powerups
  • Some items can be combined, for example: ghost sword + lightning cube = lightning sword
  • Hidden items, secret entrances, secret pathways, bomb-able walls
  • Over 30 different achievements
  • Dynamic shadows
  • Full day / night cycle
  • Reflective surfaces
  • Original soundtrack
  • Online leaderboards highlight the top players based on completion time, percentage of map uncovered and percentage of items found
  • Roguelike-inspired permadeath option which gives a higher score on the leaderboard and allows for faster runs
  • A science fiction narrative featuring a spacecutter named Songbringer, its crew, an ancient evil army, and a planet named Ekzerra
  • Multiple NPCs, some of which are rare finds
  • Approximately 6-12 hours of gameplay per adventure, depending on thoroughness
  • Procedurally generated overworld and dungeons
  • A world contains: 1 overworld, 10 dungeons and 13 primary bosses
  • Worlds are based on a six-letter seed; enter the same seed to play the same world on any platform, or enter a new seed to play something different
  • World generator is hand-crafted, creating worlds based on human-designed rules, blending the best of both procedural and bespoke game design
  • Support for multiple languages

Kerbal Space Program review

If you’re not a rocket scientist, then you’ll find Kerbal Space Program extremely difficult. It takes the science of rocketry, orbital mechanics and space exploration and challenges you to overcome them. And these obstacles will seem insurmountable at first. Simply building a craft capable of going straight up works your grey matter. But eventually you’ll find success, and this opens up tantalising new challenges to overcome. It’s compelling, forever difficult, always rewarding, and surprisingly fun.

The cute, green Kerbals that make up your staff, pilots and astronauts provide an excellent humorous balance to the otherwise serious science and challenge of space flight you’re tasked with. Seeing their faces as they fly through the atmosphere and beyond, turning gleeful or terrified depending on the smoothness of the flight, is funny and heart-warming. It also injects an important modicum of personality, something that drives you to keep them safe and rescue them if things go awry.

And things will certainly go awry. Tutorials teach you the basics of designing your own space craft and planes and flying them around the planet Kerbin and its solar system, but actually doing it is another thing entirely. Designing crafts that balance weight, with thrust capability and fuel enough to get where you want to go, is a constant to-and-fro between the launch pad and the assembly building as you tweak your crafts to perform at their very best.

Kerbal Space Program 1

And you’ll feel forever compelled to better design your crafts, with the cosmos constantly calling to you until you’ve landed on every planet and successfully returned back home, and then even more challenging missions will flood your mind. The moons of all the planets need to be visited, Kerbals you’ve stranded need rescuing, space stations need constructing, satellites need launching, every biome needs exploring on Kerbin and beyond, indeed the options available to you are vast and fascinating.

In sandbox mode these mission are entirely driven by your own imagination. There’s no budget concerns or technologies that needs researching, you have everything available to you and are free to build any craft you desire, no matter how monstrous it is. Career mode and science mode restrict you, with career mode offering you contracts to be completed in order to gain more resources and science to unlock new technology. Here your progress is more tightly managed, making it an ideal place to start as you learn the ropes. But either mode you choose is still extremely difficult, but you’ll find you make just enough progress through failure to keep you hooked; it can get frustrating but it’s remarkable how enjoyable it is too keep failing time and time again.

Kerbal Space Program 2

A big part of that enjoyment comes from the lack of penalties there are for failure. When something goes wrong you can revert to launch or the assembly building as if it never even happened. It’s an almost immediate restart too, with the only loading occurring at the very beginning of the game. However, performance often takes a dip when too much is going on on-screen. The larger and more complex your craft, the harder the framerate is hit. It’s common to see dips into single figures, and this can put a restriction on just how creative you are with your builds. Otherwise performance is admirable, leaving Kerbin and descending into the atmosphere of another planet is fairly seamless, as is shifting focus between multiple crafts once you have a copious amount of satellites and crafts exploring the solar system.

Controlling your fleet of crafts is initially tricky. Kerbal Space Program’s PC roots are still firmly attached and at no point does the controller feel at home with the experience. Many buttons double up on functions, with a tap for one input and holding down for another. Furthermore, you can, and indeed must, switch to a cursor to access the more advanced functions, such as setting manoeuvre nodes to work out required burns for orbits. However, surprisingly the controls turn out to be fairly intuitive, never ideal, especially when accuracy is required, but competent enough.

Kerbal Space Program 3

Indeed, Kerbal Space Program is part hard-core space exploration simulator and part humorous disaster-scenario creator. It’s more skewed to the former, acting as an educational and fascinating glimpse into what is takes for our space agencies to achieve what they do. Yet despite its stiff challenge it’s still hugely enjoyable, and once you do manage to master some off the mechanics it’s also extremely rewarding. There’s always another challenge for you to overcome, and the journey to conquering it is full of explosive failures and delightfully gratifying successes.

Thanks to Xbox and Squad and Flying Tiger for supporting TiX

Is the next Call of Duty set in space?

It’s still early in the year but already we’re all hungry for news on what games are coming out in 2016. Activision will certainly have a new Call of Duty title to show us all come E3, and this year it’s Infinity Ward’s turn at the helm, so what are we all in for this year?

Space! We think it’s going to be space.

After toying with us with that one quick mission in space in Modern Warfare 2 as well as the first level of Advanced Warfare, people have been crying out for a space setting, and this year just might just be the one where we finally see it.

Infinity Ward’s Twitter account posted the following New Year image at the beginning of the year:

Infinity Ward new year Tweet

An odd choice of image unless space was a theme in their next project. Meanwhile, rumours of Call of Duty: Space Warfare have been circulating since 2010. In fact Activision filed the trademark application with the United States Patent & Trademark Office for Call of Duty: Space Warfare in May 2010 according to Gamespot. The trademark was since abandoned in 2011 but Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Future Warfare are still active.

Of course, back in July last year, Black Ops 3’s multiplayer director Dan Bunting told GamesRadar in an interview that space as a setting was highly unlikely.

There’s an element of Call Of Duty as a brand that’s very gritty, it needs to feel believable. Even if it’s not real it needs to feel like it could be,

Dan told GamesRadar,

I don’t think we’re ever going to reach a point where we just completely ignore finding authenticity to try and ground the world and make it feel believable.

But that image from Infinity Ward’s Twitter still has us convinced that space is indeed the next frontier for Call of Duty. Time will tell, but until we have confirmation of the new CoD, tell us what setting you’d like to see the series tackle in the comments below.

Rebel Galaxy review

Rebel Galaxy has a lot of personality. There’s character behind its art style; an aesthetic that’s visually pleasing, impressive, vibrant, and not at all based on reality. And indeed it’s this character that’s present throughout this open-world space exploration title that makes it so engaging and unique, allowing it to stand toe to toe with the likes of Elite Dangerous because it offers something different within the same space.

Rebel Galaxy is an arcade version of the open-world space genre. You start with a basic ship and set out doing practically whatever you want: mining, pirating, mercenary work, trading, whatever takes your fancy. But in addition to this open-world universe you can explore and exploit, is a story that sees you hunt down a lost relative before being hunted down yourself for the artefact you harbour. Switching between the story and the many choices of side-professions on offer gives you an experience that’s never dull or static, with plenty to do and intriguing things to discover.

Rebel Galaxy 1

It’s a terrific mix of linear storytelling and open-world choices that allows you to play at your own pace. Certain mechanics are kept back until you progress further in the story, so eventually you have to progress within it, but you can typically do a story mission or two and then return to your altruistic or nefarious space business.

Whatever you decide to do you’ll be doing it within a brightly coloured and vibrant version of space. Nebulas are bountiful, and stars and planets glow a myriad of different colours; there’s hardly any black to be seen and it’s a wondrous visual treat. Meanwhile, as you hail fellow pilots or converse with aliens and humans alike in bars on space stations, you’ll witness exaggerated and unique individuals with a similar aesthetic to Star Craft that’s sure to impress and occasionally put a smile on your face as you accept jobs from them, make trades, or threaten to steal their entire cargo.

Rebel Galaxy 2

Whether you’re planning on peaceful trading or aggressive pirating you’ll inevitable have to fight off the odd reprobate, and combat is a delightful dance in the stars. Rebel Galaxy’s combat is naval based, with heavy broadside weapons and lighter point-defence turrets elsewhere. You’ll constantly need to manoeuvre to line up shots and dodge incoming fire and it’s a thrilling and entertaining experience. Larger ships move more slowly and pack a heavy punch forcing you to line up your broadside shots as accurately as possible to do as much damage as you can or even to target specific systems. Meanwhile shields will need tearing down, a perfect job for your smaller turrets, when you’re not using them with a lock-on reticule to shoot down the smaller crafts wiping through the wild black. And finally, a salvo of missiles can turn the tide of most battles, unless smart use of the limited deflector shield nullifies their damage. It’s spectacularly involved and action packed yet supremely easy to perform.

Dodging incoming fire and manoeuvring to line up shots is only half the challenge, however, often you’re surrounded by enemies and are better off fleeing or trying to separate the smaller ships from the large ones so you can pick them off more easily. Furthermore asteroid belts are numerous and popular battlegrounds, challenging you to dodge crashing into them as you fight. Using them as cover is particularly effective, and forcing enemies to engage you within these cluttered fields can often result in them bumping into a few. Wonderfully these asteroids can be destroyed as well, making the battlefield dynamic and interesting.

Rebel Galaxy 3

Space, however, is a big place, and your warp drive and sub-light engines, even when upgraded to ridiculous speeds, still must contend with large expanses of space to fly through. It’s how it’s supposed to be up there amongst the stars, but the travel time can put the brakes on the pacing a little too hard. Rebel Galaxy is otherwise exceptionally fun and varied. Missions may appear similar to each other on the surface but once you go about completing them they often take a few twists and turns. Moreover, even a simple combat engagement can play out in a myriad of different ways. Add to this a brilliant Southern rock soundtrack and your space cowboy, Firefly fantasies can be realised with Rebel Galaxy.

Thanks to Xbox and Double Damage Games Inc. for their support

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Elite: Dangerous review

Elite: Dangerous is a truly massive open-world game full to the brim with possibilities. It’s a staggering achievement in design and function that’s transitioned from PC to console spectacularly well, with only the most minor compromises. However, with such broad scope comes a lack of direction and drive, requiring the player to set their own objectives and make their own fun.

Indeed Elite: Dangerous achieves the lofty goal of realising the space exploration freedom of previous Elite titles with precisely the kind of refinements and features we all expect from modern titles, and it’s a remarkable feat to behold. Given a measly sum of credits and a small jack-of-all-trades ship, the galaxy is your playground; ready for you to explore, trade in, fight in, and enjoy however you like.

Elite 1

Space stations allow you to buy goods which you can then trade elsewhere, playing the market and making significant credits from identifying where those goods are most needed. Or perhaps combat is more your thing and you’re tempted into serving a faction in the ongoing conflict between The Federation, The Empire and The Alliance. Or if the war doesn’t concern you, then perhaps mercenary work accepting contracts from space stations to hunt certain individuals is more your style. Or you could look at less legal enterprises, such as pirating or the trade of illegal goods. Then there’s exploration. 400 billion star systems have been generated for you to explore with wondrous sights and secrets, and data gained from visiting systems can be traded at space stations for credits. The choice is completely up to you and this ability to do whatever you want within this huge galaxy is a tremendously exciting prospect but also an overwhelming one, and unfortunately Elite doesn’t do the best job in preparing you.

A set of tutorials are on offer to teach you all the basics but these are largely concerned with showing you the controls. Once you dive in to the real game you’re completely left to your own devices. Elite doesn’t hold your hand, instead it’s more of a simulation, one that’s highly immersive but daunting all the same. This includes the controls and interacting with your ship. Whilst the controls are well mapped to the Xbox One pad, with sub-menus popping up on screen when certain button are held as well as instant actions tied to single presses of the same buttons, there’s a lot of them to master. It may sound and initially seem complicated, but it’s pleasantly immersive once you get the hang of it, this even extends to a button that allows you to look around the cockpit of your ship and access additional menus through the on-board interfaces. It all fits so nicely into the fiction and avoids throwing you into game menus, allowing you to truly feel like the pilot of a sophisticated spaceship.

Elite 2

But with the complexity of controls and options comes hesitation and indecision, and these can severely effect the fun you glean from the experience. Without your own plan for where to go, what to do and how to do it, it’s hard to find the drive to experiment with and explore what Elite can offer. Furthermore, not fully understanding the navigation interfaces and flow of combat can lead to perceived unfair deaths and confusion. This truly is a simulator; dog fighting is slow and tense, exploration is over vast distances and dangerous in its own right, with fuel limiting the distance you can jump with hyperspace, and supercruise within star systems taking considerable amounts of time to reach specific destinations.

It all comes with practise, however, and when it does all click into place for you it’s powerfully compelling. Engaging NPC and fellow player ships in combat zones is a visual spectacle of deadly lasers and explosions with the promise of considerable credits for the skilled or lucky pilots. Meanwhile, detecting a signal within a star system and investigating it can offer opportunities to pick up some valuable goods left behind from a battle, introduce you to trader vessels less concerned with precisely how your found the goods you’re selling, or even pirate parties expecting to ambush you and not expecting a tough fight.

Elite 3

It’s an MMO with a bias towards singleplayer experiences. You can play in an offline mode of NPCs if you like, or join the online mode full of both Xbox One and PC players, all flying around the galaxy chasing their own objectives, and this adds a terrific element of emergent storytelling and gameplay. Other players are unpredictable enough to make things interesting, whether that’s the foolish players looking to pick fights with NPC authorities, providing a beautiful laser show for you to watch or even get involved with, or interacting with you more directly, friendly or otherwise. Yet it’s big enough for you to never meet another person, either because you’ve travelled to a star system no else has ever been to, or because the vastness is so well realised all you see of other players are lights darting across space. It’s a rare MMO experience that can surround you with other players yet leave you feeling utterly alone.

Once you figure out what you want to do in the galaxy and start making credits, you’ll be on the look out for newer ships, weapons, engines, shields, power generator, etc. to buy, and these can be purchased from the larger space stations. This truly allows you to customise your experience and build the ship you need for the job you want to do. Large hauling vessels may lack speed and weapons but have huge cargo space for transporting more goods at a time. Meanwhile, swapping your cargo bay for a fuel scoop allows you to fuel up from suns rather than purchase fuel at station, making that an ideal upgrade for explorers or mercenaries that aren’t welcome at certain stations. New parts to your ships take up internal or external slots as well as add mass and power consumption that you need to manage, frequently offering you expensive upgrades or new ships that require you to get back out there and earn more credits.

Elite 4

Elite: Dangerous is a tremendously immersive space simulator that can eat hours of your time with it’s endless possibilities, awesome scope and beautiful visuals. It doesn’t have the warmest welcome for newcomers to the genre, and the fluidity of a mouse on PC makes for better combat that the Xbox One pad, but it’s still a remarkable game that plays splendidly on the Xbox One. There simply isn’t anything else out there like Elite right now, and with new features on the horizon and long support promised, there may be no end to the enjoyment it offers if you’re patient enough to explore this frontier.

Thanks to Xbox and Frontier for their support 

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The Solus Project playable at Gamescom

solusprojectAs we get closer and closer to August’s Gamescom, we are beginning to hear more about what will be appearing at this years convention in Cologne.

 

Teotl Studios, the Swedish developer behind The Ball and Unmechanical for the PC have teamed up with GRIP Digital to announce that their upcoming title will launch as a console exclusive on ID@Xbox alongside the PC release.

The Solus Project, a space survival game, see’s you stranded on an alien planet and in order to save the people of Earth you must overcome the grim conditons and find a way to send a signal home.

The title is scheduled for release on PC and Xbox One early in 2016…

The Solus Project will be playable at the Microsoft booth at Gamescom this August.