I have avoided space games for quite a while now. I am not sure why in all honesty, maybe because of the lack of them on console for years. But after picking up Elite Dangerous I was reminded of a time when I loved them.
So I took a chance on a game called Beyond Sol from Praxia Entertainment LLC for Steam and currently in Early Access.
Beyond Sol is an open-world empire building and combat space exploration title. Or as I like to call it… a smaller scale, top down Elite Dangerous. Whilst on the whole is it unfair to compare this to the Frontier title, it does a lot of things that Elite does but focuses it to be a lot more pick up and play and means it can also sit alongside it.
It takes a kind of pseudo 3D top down perspective, where you look over your craft and the world you inhabit and considering space is a vast nothingness in the most part, the map, which is procedurally generated, is full of life and constantly has things to do.
These include gathering resources, trading, taking contracts, dealing with pirates, fantastic combat scenarios and much more. You start off with pretty much nothing and have to build a city. before extending outwards, to the point you will find yourself in the middle of warring factions, needing to create allies and also making enemies.
It is this that drives the game forward, as every action you take will have an effect on your relationships with everyone else. Take a contract from one city and sure, your relationship grows, but you then have to deal with another faction taking action for that and depending on your current relationships, it could have severe consequences.
There is a lot of travelling between locations, especially when it comes to trading and gathering resources, but options such as warp drive mechanics make this a pretty easy going system. However there are advantages and disadvantages to how you travel, as when you are gunning it to a location at top speed, your shields are down, leaving you vulnerable to damage from many sources. Which in turn means you need to consider where you may pass whilst doing this.
Combat has a kind of MOBA feel to it, using your mouse clicks to choose where you are moving, but then using key bindings to choose weapons, tools, etc. You only move when you have thrusters on, which means combat can take place in a very small area, or continue across a much larger space.
The game is in Early Access right now, so finding games you can join can be difficult, but you can also host and allow friends to join your world and whilst I am yet to try out the multiplayer side, I am more than happy with my experience in single player.
How happy? Well I haven’t been desperate to return to Elite Dangerous since installing Beyond Sol and whilst there is work to do, the current build is yet another example of the great side of Early Access. It feels like a game that could be released at this point in time with a few minor fixes, but it is exciting to see what it ends up like for the final build.
If you have any interest in games based in space, I urge you to pick this up, even in Early Access.