Everspace is a roguelike space exploration game from small independent developer Rockfish Games. You begin your adventure as the pilot of a spaceship on a journey of self-discovery, as you have lost all your memories (except your flying skills). On your way you’ll explore various space environments and meet many different aliens that will either aid or hinder you on your quest.
Everspace is a very interesting game, as it allows you to play in either first person with a view from inside the cockpit, or third person with a view of your entire ship. Each perspective feels very different in combat, but we found it was more suited to the former. The combat itself is fun and fast paced as you zip around in your craft trying to lock onto enemy fighters in an intense dog-fighting gun battle. There’s a whole host of weapons to equip your spacecraft with: laser guns, gatling guns, electricity guns, etc. Each can be upgraded using materials to increase their damage output and cooldown time.
Although the combat is very enjoyable, we encountered lots of framerate drops throughout, with it even occasionally dropping to the point where it crashed the game. This occurred enough to cause concern, and more often than not caused us to lose some progress, having to restart from the beginning of the zone.
Everspace is split into sectors with each one hosting several different zones and branching paths to choose between. Every zone is procedurally generated with enemies, materials that can be mined, NPCs with side quests, and trade ships to explore. To progress through the game, you're required to jump from one zone to the next using fuel, and the easiest and most enjoyable way to obtain it is by engaging in combat with enemy ships and reaping the rewards. Along with the fuel you’ll also gather up other useful parts and scrap needed to repair your ship when you take damage.
Although the controls in Everspace are very responsive and feel solid, the default button mapping is questionable, especially for precise manoeuvres; L2 is used to move forward and the right analogue stick requires being pushed in and pulled left or right to execute barrel rolls. That being said, you can choose from several pre-set control options, and we’d definitely suggest doing so to find a more natural layout, using the analogue stick to thrust forward instead of L2. It took us several runs to decide on the pre-set controls that gave us a good sense of precision aiming as well as full control over our manoeuvrability.
With every death you begin anew, with the opportunity to unlock new abilities and upgrades using saved up currency from previous runs. There’s a whole host of different upgrades to choose, from hull upgrades, which increase your health and defence, to scanner upgrades, which allow you to see points of interest from further away. There are also new ships which will cost you everything you have, or you could opt for something a little smaller like a new laser gun. All unlocks and purchases feel worthwhile as your survivability increases, allowing for further progression to be made with every run.
Visually, Everspace is a step above many of its peers with a stunning space environment being presented beautifully, complete with an impressive lighting system that shows off the stars, spaceships, and rocks wonderfully. Just a glimpse at the environment and we were stunned by how exceptional it looks, especially for an indie game.
Everspace is a fun and fast paced space exploration roguelike with beautiful visuals, solid combat, and rewarding progression systems. Unfortunately, it’s let down by regular crashes and major drops in framerate throughout. Rockfish has created a slick ship in the form of Everspace -- it just requires a few patches before it can take off.