Monday, August 15, 2011

Space Pirates and Zombies Impressions

It feels so familiar, yet unique, interesting and addictive. This is a huge PC game, that presents you with a generated galaxy that is scale-able in size. They shorten Space Pirates and Zombies into SPAZ, oddly enough, but I will be using that acronym. SPAZ is action, strategy, rpg indie game and at first all I saw was action, but the farther you get into the game the more rpg elements make themselves known. The strategy aspect of the game is simple at first, but the farther you make it into the game, the more command you control and the more the games feels like a strategy instead of an action game. SPAZ came out today, 8/15/11, and is developed by MinMax Games.
It looks like something that I've played many times, invested many hours in and stayed up many late nights with, a game called AI War. This game is similar in feel, yet so very different. The graphic and art looks very like AI War, both of which are top down space shooters and they both have the very similar combat graphics, but SPAZ takes it to a higher level than AI War. While AI War presents a bleak universe for you to roam, SPAZ's universe is filled with human interaction, a more color filled backdrop and a brighter universe. Just like AI War, you may make the universe absolutely massive if you choose to and it also means that it may result in a epicly long game.
Throughout SPAZ you level up your fleet by collecting *experience* orbs from destroyed ships and containers. It's definitely not supposed to be experience, more like tech that you salvage form the enemy, but you use this tech to research better technology. That's where the rpg portion of the game comes from, collecting stuff. I say stuff because you don't just collect tech, you also collect blueprint for new ships, pilots that you may barter or use to better man you ships and minerals that are used for the games main currency. Take a look at this tech tree and this is just from the first version of the game. They are already working on a list of new content.
Combat feels pretty dynamic; it's a little chaotic at times, but your AI buddies, and enemies, are quite good at fighting. The controls are smooth are familiar (uses WASD), and customizable. You can customize your ships quite a lot and like I said earlier, you also can find blue prints to unlock new ships. You have a hanger that allows you to customize your ships, which means messing with the weapons, shields, engines, armor, tractor beams or whatever you can fit onto any given model. You can barter new items from the space stations of various factions (which you could destroy, but it seemed pretty damn hard to do in the demo) and some items require certain technology to be researched before use. You start the game with just two ships, you may control either easily by pressing 1 or 2, and throughout the game your hanger will get upgraded. Once it is upgraded you can go from using small scout ships, to larger frigates and eventually to large scale capital ships.

In each star system in SPAZ there are quests or missions. They are dynamic and constantly changing. There isn't too much diversity in them at the start, but as you get to bigger star systems they get a little more varied. In the beginning they start with things like, escort this ship for the civilians, destroy this military supply drop, attack this enemy patrol and pretty basic missions like that, but as I got to the second area they got a little tougher and more interesting. I love that each area has factions and you may choose to help whomever you want to help. Even better, all the factions do not communicate with factions in other star systems, so you can go from helping the civilians in the first area to helping the military in the next. I don't know if that applies to every area in the game, but it does in the first couple areas.
I really enjoyed the demo of this game and I really wasn't interested in it at all before hand. I saw the trailer for the game and thought that looks weird, but it's a lot of fun. I highly recommend everyone to try the demo, especially if you like space games. I have so many questions about the rest of the game and it remains to be seen if the missions will have a large variety, or they may be repetitive. I also would love to see how many ships you can unlock , apparently a lot, and how the whole faction thing plays out. You may have not heard me ever mention anything about zombies, well they exist, but they are only in the demo for about five minutes. They seem cool, they infect ships instead of destroy, and the graphics for the zombie ships is pretty great looking, but I suspect they are more prevalent in the later parts of the game.

Space Pirates and Zombies Gameplay

The demo convinced me to try this game and I will report back with a review as soon as possible. The game costs $14.99 and is available on steam (as is the demo). Thanks for reading everyone and hope you check out this great looking space rpg.
Steam page-

-Written by Sean Cargle


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