Space Engineers Alpha | Review

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Space Engineers is a mix of Minecraft and Space, with added physics.

Space Engineers is a sandbox game about engineering, construction and maintenance of space works. Players can build space ships and space stations of various sizes and utilization, pilot ships and perform asteroid mining. Space Engineers fully utilizes a realistic volumetric-based physics engine called VRAGE 2.0. The game originates from Miner Wars 2081, a previous game released by Keen Software House, and builds upon it. The game is currently in Alpha and is being updated, with more things to do and choose from, regularly. It came 4th place in IndieDBs “Best Indie Game of 2013”.

Building is very simple, and can be done anywhere in space. I am not a good builder, but Space Engineers doesn’t hold that against you. To begin, you bring up the building menu and select a single block which decides what the ship will be; you can choose from a small ship, a large ship, or a station. This will inform the rest of the blocks what sort of ship you’re building, and will change accordingly. Once that’s done, all you have to do is drag down a block to your toolbar and you can begin. So far, there is only sandbox mode, which means you have unlimited resources. Plans are on the way for a survival mode in which you have limited resources and must craft parts, making those great ships even more valuable.

Space Engineers Alpha

Ships need basic objects to function, such as a cockpit, thrusters in all 6 directions, gyroscopes and generators. There is no need for wires as the power is passed through any connected blocks. Ships can also have other objects, such as weapons or gravity generators, which keep everyone on the floor of the ship. The system manages to keep it simple, yet still have some depth for those interested.

Once your ship is complete and you are ready to fight or mine, depending on the purpose of the ship, you get to find out what makes this game truly amazing. Destruction in this game is of the volume I have never seen before. Crashing ships together is violent, while beautiful and satisfying at the same time. They bend, bust, split and contort. As well as this, any disconnected parts from ships will have inertia, and will spin off in the direction it was thrown towards. There are a few problems though. One tiny part of debris can hit your cockpit and knock the ship unusable, until you slap another cockpit onto it. Other than that, the destruction in this game is of high quality and I have never seen anything like it before.

Multiplayer also manages to better the experience. With your friends you can increase the amount of possibilities, such as racing, fighting and many more. Although, in its current state, there is no dedicated server software which means you have to run on the hosts connection. This is not always the best and some bugs are present. Most likely though, with future updates, they will bring out dedicated server software and fix the bugs.

The future of Space Engineers is exciting, as it offers something new and unique in its finish. It looks pretty good for what it is, but the textures could be improved. It offers a wide variety of features that can entertain and satisfy you for hours. It does have a lot of features that are incomplete, some bugs and glitches, but this is expected from an alpha. Although these are present, many are fixed as soon as they are spotted and these do not draw away from the experience you get when building, mining, flying your ship, or being a crew member in one of your friends ships.

You can grab the game on Steam now for £11.99.

– Jack

Jack Bulson

View all contributions by Jack Bulson

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