Edge of Space Early Access Preview
Edge of Space Early Access Preview
Our collective wishes for more sandbox and sci-fi games might just be coming true! After the Minecraft and Terraria craze comes some colorful and inspired sandbox titles, with one of the more notorious ones being Edge of Space, a game which puts you in the shoes of an explorer stranded in outer space, hoping to survive in this new harsh environment, and perhaps even thrive. We had the chance to meet Jacob Crane, founder and lead designer of Handyman Studios, along with co-founder Paul Ash, in order to introduce us to the many features of Edge of Space.
Edge of Space is at its core, a sandbox experience through and through, inspired by the established titles of the genre, with a lot of genre specific content added or in the works. The basic premise is this: your character was put into some sort of suspended sleep and was thrown into the deep unknown of space in the name of exploration. You wake up in what seems to be some sort of chaotic flux of various bits of planets and meteors floating together, and you know only two things: the world around you wants you dead, and your only solution is SCIENCE! With that said, you’re started out coming out of your capsule, with only a mining laser and a jetpack. Both of them are essential; the laser for materials, and the jetpack for the simple reason that the world is not a continuous flat surface, but a bunch of flying pieces of biomes (different bits of terrain).
Colours From Outer Space!
What struck me first during the preview, was the surreal, out of this world atmosphere created by the Handyman Studios team (with a bit of humor added in). The color palette and the design of the environments and models, makes Edge of Space visually stunning, and as a result, a strong feeling of immersion is created. You really feel like your character is in a hostile, outer space environment. The animations look good, the enemy models are often hilarious, and include space penguins alongside an occasional rocket shark boss. You can have costumes, hats, and even pets that follow you around, some which are useful and others just for show. While the buildable structures we saw weren’t anything crazy, everything else looks incredible. The sound design was a bit unimpressive, though at this early stage in the game’s design, it’s safe to say that there are a few placeholders here and there.
Brave New World
Our guide recommended that we spend a good time stacking material before we start building, which proved to be a good idea as some items and structures can be quite material heavy. Thus, we had the chance to explore around a bit before we tackled the crafting. And let me tell you, this is one big and confusing world. It’s not some sort of flat continuity, but rather, it’s more like flying chunks of terrain just close enough that you can (sometimes) jetpack from one piece of rock to the other. To add to the risk, there are these little jellyfish-like critters that, while unable to damage you, will drain your energy and can potentially send you crashing down to an early demise. Not only that, but some pieces of the world are entirely inaccessible without some sort of protection against radioactivity, or some form of terraforming. Expect to die a few times before you start grasping the basic concepts.
Lock & Load
The crafting system seemed on first inspection somewhat complex, and the interface was a bit shoddy in the early build we tested. That said, a bit of digging reveals the depth of it, and it’s not only restricted to structures – you craft your own weaponry as well, which is a crucial part of surviving some more difficult biomes. You can also craft a truckload of futuristic themed goodies, going from armor, all the way to freakin’ mechas. Which leads us to the combat: and arguably, one of the most interesting aspects of Edge of Space. Why? Because it’s incredibly hectic – you and your enemies both have flying capabilities and ranged weaponry, meaning you have to jump, strafe and dodge, while answering with a salvo of your own. Without a doubt, this, along with the sheer beauty of the environments, is one of the game’s strong points.
The Last Stretch
So when’s this little gem coming out? In short, when it’s ready. With that said however, they have beta access open for pre-purchasers at 9.99$, and a special edition that includes an artbook, the soundtrack, and special in-game goodies like a special armor and a pet. In addition, they’re currently in the phase of getting their Greenlight approval on steam, so if you enjoy Edge of Space, or simply want to support a small team of independent developers, there’s your chance to contribute. As for us, we enjoyed our time in Edge of Space, and we’ll be keeping a close look on its development and eventual release.
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