Rebel Galaxy Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Rebel Galaxy Preview



Space is a vast, empty vacuum. Planets and star systems as far as the eye can see, rebel fighters and militia trading vessels litter the galaxy, and the space blues never stops playing. Our own humble Milky Way may not have much in the way of intergalactic spacecrafts, but Rebel Galaxy has plenty to spare. Rebel Galaxy’s universe is in a constant tug-of-war that includes everything from small rebel vessels to formidable militia warships that can rip apart almost anything in its path. You are placed in the middle of this crazy galactic warfare and soon become an active contributor to the chaos.


Space the final frontier.

Rebel Galaxy is primarily about exploration and combat in the confines of an initially unfamiliar star system. Beautiful nebula, massive stars, asteroid belts and numerous other space phenomena cover the galaxy. Cruising through colourful nebula after fighting a gang of rebel fighters above the rings of the Saturn-like planet is an amazing feeling that the game enhances with its gorgeous visual style. This is not the dim and dark space that is often portrayed, but rather an assortment of bright hues and a colorful light spectrum. Utmost care is put into each detail of the environment to give a very real sense of the beauty and expansiveness. Navigating through an asteroid belt can feel perilous with a small ship and passing by a gigantic planetary mass is an awe-inspiring experience the first time around. Rebel Galaxy knows its pace very well, however, the speed of exploration one of the game’s few faults.

Starting off with a small corvette-class space vessel, you can explore all of the game’s first region right off the bat. However, the craft is equipped with a spare few weapons and no upgrades so engaging most enemy vessels at this early stage will almost inevitably result in the destruction of your ship. A plethora of upgrades can be purchased from space stations, which are the hubs for repairing and upgrading ships, acquiring missions and talking to bartenders. Side missions can be taken from any space station and reward credits for completion. Credits are used to for all ship upgrades and repairs, and the proper ship augmentations are a necessity for enduring confrontations with rebel ships. Unfortunately, only a very limited number of missions can be taken at one time, so frequent trips back to the stations are necessary.

Humble beginnings with a small ship eventually turn into glorious escapades of intergalactic combat with intense firefights and intricate weapons systems. The time before the fun escapades is not the most exciting, however, as the phase of the game before your ship becomes combat ready is a little bit of a slog. In a game that is centered around exploration and combat, the first few hours are greatly limited in that respect until some fundamental weapon and defense upgrades are installed. Until then, exploration is constrained as rebel ships in the galaxy can appear at almost any time to destroy your relatively weak craft. It isn’t too long before upgrades make many enemy fighter ships trivial but the road to that state is filled with frustrating deaths and a unsatiated desire to explore.


These guys are definitely not human!

Story missions are the primary source of income for these early parts of the game. You are chasing a warm trail of information left behind by your aunt in the interest of finding her last known location. Dealing with bandits, traders of the illicit goods and general space scum ensue as the hunt for your aunt spans multiple galaxies and information continually accrues to suggest that auntie was perhaps not the nicest woman. Interactions with other space folk are voiced fairly well, including alien tongues that are reminiscent of some of the languages present in the Star Wars games. Individual characters are not Rebel Galaxy’s strength, but the game does an excellent job of setting up the atmosphere and universe with the narrative even if some of the minute-to-minute story moments are a little lackluster.
Upgrades make your ship a formidable vessel, in time, and opportunities can be properly explored with a more self-sustainable ship. Each craft has multiple turrets, broadside blasters and other offensive capabilities that can are all upgraded individually. There is a staggering amount of available ship customizations in addition to the weapons such as upgrades for shielding, engine boosters, warp drives, and ship software, to name only a few. Each upgrade is significantly different than the other options – the separate turret upgrades differ in everything from range to projectile type. I gravitated towards a pulse turret as my beta turret on my ship, as opposed to swarm turrets because who doesn’t like to shoot high-powered energy blasts from a spaceship? Every improvement added to the ship takes it one step further to dominance over the enemy combatants.

Traveling through the depths of space is made easier and more fluid over the course of time, as well. Upgrades for the ship include better engines, boosters and warp drives that find their use in the ship-to-ship combat but are most appreciated outside of the encounters during the exploration of the star systems. Warp drives are one of the neatest features of the vessels in Rebel Galaxy. Outside of combat, your ship will automatically switch to “sub-light” boosters that provide increased acceleration above the ship’s normal maximum speed in combat. Soon after the “sub-light” boosters engage a prompt to engage, the warp drive appears – the warp drive is truly something to behold. Engaging this drive will send the ship into hyper-speed that propels it forward like a true rocket ship. Never before have I seen a more convincing depiction of speed in a game centered around spaceships The camera work is done especially tastefully and dynamic controller rumble makes the experience all the more awesome. Control of the ship isn’t lost while the warp drive is engaged, although handling is greatly reduced, of course. If a “stellar mass” or any other large object is in the way of the your warping ship the warp drive will automatically disengage and you will be left to navigate around the obstacle. It’s definitely cool that this adjustment occurs automatically and it adds an interesting dynamic to the space travel but it’s a little annoying to be forced to readjust and re-engage the warp drives after an errant asteroid belt.


A beautiful look out over space.

Upon arrival at any number of interstellar destinations, a group of enemy ships may lie in wait for the best opportunity for an ambush. Or a mission may specifically designate a target craft to be eliminated or escorted. Most of the missions, unfortunately, boil down to traveling to a specific mission location marker and killing everything or nearly everything in sight. Occasionally, there will be more specific tasks such as assaulting an enemy base or protecting friendly mining droids but even those often conclude with killing a healthy wave or two of enemies. If the combat wasn’t so fun and dynamic, the lack of mission variety would pose more of a problem.

Combat is a delicate dance between ships that can easily go wrong if the one of the dancers misses a step or accidentally falls. It is something that must be mastered for high-level competition and the proper equipment must be brought if success is desired – the sweet success of eliminating all rebel spacecrafts one-by-one until all of their ships explode in a smoldering pile of wreckage from a well-aimed broadside blaster and collection of their cargo. A mercenary can be recruited from a space station to be your dance partner to further contribute to the eventual success. All ships have shielding that must be penetrated in order to reach the ship’s armor. Using a smart combination of broadsides and an assortment of turrets is the best option in assaulting the rebel crafts. Enemy vessels can range from fast fighters to slower frigates and even larger ships that all have varying strategies for destruction. Management of your own shields is crucial, as there are four separate shield regions that can be assaulted individually to reach the ship’s core. This is only a surface discussion of the combat systems but suffice it to say that the combat is truly dynamic and it is fun to ascertain the correct strategy for taking down a group of enemies and the options for assault increase over time. Cargo from the environment or destroyed vessels can be sold at space stations on the commodities market, a stock-market like system with fluctuating prices for each item in the game. Different stations will have different rates for each item and illegal items can be acquired which can only be sold at special stations. All of these features and systems are excellent, but they are made better by the game’s incredible music.

The soundtrack is one of the most stellar parts of Rebel Galaxy. You won’t find ethereal, reflective melodies or music akin to the more bombastic Star Wars score. Instead, a respectable collection of rock and blues songs augment your ship’s journey through the coldness of space. From solo blues guitar to some grooving licensed rock songs, the soundtrack gives the game an amazing life and atmosphere. Rather than a cold mercenary exploring the dark, cold reaches of space, you can take on the role of a space cowboy who explores a very brilliant and colorful star system while your tunes keep you company.

Rebel Galaxy has rare innovative qualities that aren’t found in many games. The utmost care was put into the environments, sound design and combat that make exploring and fighting across the stars an amazingly fun experience. Although adjusting to the game’s pace is challenging and the first couple hours are slower than they should be. Issues aside, Rebel Galaxy is one of the most fun space combat games I have ever played and has quickly become one of my anticipated releases, to date.