Tag Archives: space exploration

Haven Review: Everspace

Everspace to put it simply, it’s amazing but if I ended a game review with a simple sentence I’d probably never get to review another title again. The game takes a page from other great space combat games most notably Star Fox in its combat, not counting do a barrel roll though. The controls for combat are very fluid with a option to increase the sensitivity to make things easier on both veterans of the genre and new comers.

One of the best features of the game is the ability to change the difficulty before you begin a play-through. So if you are having issues you can set it too easy which just decreases the amount of credits you get as you play through, but this can be rectified by putting all the credits you do own into the perk which enables you to find more credits which leads to increasing your threshold of money but keeping it on a easier mode.

Speaking of perks found in most RPG’s or ARPG’s are skill tree’s and although this is definitely NOT a Role-Playing game it does carry over that element, with the ability to perk out one of three ships so you can progress through the game easier and accomplish the mission you sent out to do.  Now you expect that after you die you would re-spawn back at your base of operations and in this instance you are not far from the truth.

However, the game does play off the fact that you did indeed die and one of the main focus points of this game is that you are the clone of the man who created you. So every time you die a new clone of yourself takes over and you got to start your adventure all over again venturing into space straight from sector one, much like the Star Fox games of old on the Super Nintendo and the Nintendo 64, the game is not very forgiving in this respect.

Not to mention its not very forgiving either when it comes to equipping your ship with better equipment. Although you can pick up blue prints and new colors as well as you are venturing through the game, not to mention finding better weapons. You never get to keep the weapons you equip and find only the blue prints and color schemes. Which is all well and good but all the items you can make or store are only found in stages and you only build better weapons or equipment during a stage and not launch into battle with them.

This is quite tedious as you got to mine materials during stages, hopefully while you are not being attacked and then proceed to the crafting screen to make your new equipment, not to mention that while you are crafting you got to ensure you also have enough materials left just in case a crucial function of your craft goes out.

Finding materials to keep your ship going is crucial to the game-play, and on one particular run my life support went out and with it failing and not being able to get the materials in time I spun out and blew up ending my current run. So knowing and having a balance between materials, and items you want to craft is crucial if you want to go for long runs.

However though the biggest issue I tend to encounter is getting fuel for my ship to make jumping easier between sectors and stages. You can attack the neutral NPC’s to get fuel but then for the entire sector they will all come after you making getting to the end game much harder for yourself, so you really got to choose your battles. Because they will occasionally aid you in fighting the various enemies you will encounter as you play through.

All this together helps make Everspace though one of the best action / space combat games I have ever played. With the opportunities to make my ship how I want, a selection of various enemies I can fight and countless ways I can customize my ship for combat. All while adding a reason to explore all the sectors you visit and adding anomalies to make the space combat even more thrilling, such as lightning storms, in space!

The great soundtrack, compiled with the well driven story and beautifully drawn cut-scenes makes Everspace a game I can’t put down. I hope whatever the studio is doing right now involves a sequel and fixing the occasional crashing bug on the Xbox One. All in all, even with that bug this is a game I would recommend to everyone. Regardless if you are a new to the genre or a veteran of the genre this is a game everyone can enjoy.

-Daniel Clatworthy

Haven Review: Sun Blast

                      sunblastFirst up is our disclaimer.  We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all views in this article our are own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Sun Blast is an arcade style, third-person shoot ’em up that combines the forward-scrolling experience of Xevious (Atari, 1983 [US]) with the destructive tactics of R-Type (Nintendo, 1987). Add modern sound and hi-res graphics and you have Sun Blast, by Oblone Software.

SunBlastMedium1The first thing you’ll do in-game is select a ship, and there are three to choose from. The first ship specializes in X-Axis control; that is, its horizontal maneuvering is very responsive, but its vertical control is weakened. The second ship is the Y-Axis specialist, focusing on vertical control at the expense of the horizontal. Then there’s the third ship (which I chose) that sports a median balance between both axes.

The game starts off fairly light. Space rocks are hurling straight at you and you must either dodge or shoot them to avoid losing shields. Some rocks turn into energy cells, which replenish your shields. If you lose all your shield energy, it’s game over. A slightly more advanced version of the rock hurl is the floating mine field. Shaped as classic spheres with spikes, mines can’t be shot…in fact your guns are offline in their presence. You must dodge, dodge, dodge.
SunBlastRockMineAs you advance through the levels, enemy ships will arrive; at first firing standard bullets. Soon enough, giant orange throwing stars appear…attempting to hone in on you. Now here we take a page from a very old playbook. If you remember B.C.’s Quest for Tires (Sierra, 1983) for the Commodore 64 and ColecoVision, the idea is to be the first to flinch. If you dodge a throwing star before it hones in, it will always miss you. If you dodge after the star begins its beeline attack, it will always hit you. Destroy enemy ships before they fire, remembering to collect any dropped energy cells.SunBlastBigThis brings up an interesting side point. Occasionally your ship will get stuck…either on the side of a map or in the corner. I found this happened most often when I swooped over to collect an energy cell. It was hard to tell if this was a glitch, or simply part of the ship’s natural axis-weakness. Either way it was frustrating; the energy cell simply floated just below or above my ship in these cases.

Now let’s talk bosses. The first one looks something like a floating Lich with a massive under-bite. While he tosses rockets at you from four large turrets, your job is to dodge and fire back…not the most original concept, but well executed. The boss’s armor is tough, and it seemed for a while that he’d never succumb. I was relentless though, and eventually he took a dive. Why a dive, I don’t know…we’re in space…there’s no gravity, but okay.

2015-08-19_00016By far the best part of Sun Blast for me was the tunnels. Here you’ll encounter the same enemy ships as before, but now in tight confines. After that, giant drooling worms suddenly emerge from the walls, permitting only a small gap through which to escape. As this was all reminding me of Batman: Arkham Knight, it happened…blockades sprung out from the walls, forcing me to fly over and under to evade.

2015-08-19_00022When the tunnel ordeal was over, I emerged into a peaceful green nebula where I had only to once again crush oncoming space rocks for a while. I like it when games give you a bit of a rest after a tough battle.

2015-08-19_00023Overall, Sun Blast delivers what you’d expect from a genre-specific, single player game. It’s very challenging! But if you’re in the mood to “master the axes”, you’ll surely enjoy hours with this addictive blast-fest.Sun Blast Scale2-Chris Roberts-