I love that we're at a point in gaming technology where I can look at a jaggy pixelated line and know with absolute certainty that it's jaggy because the creators wanted it to be. It is purposeful pixelation, and upcoming isometric RPG Space Wreck is rife with it, combining a comic artist's eye for composition and lines with a sense of animation that suits its inspirations: Classic western isometric RPGs like Fallout and Arcanum. It's set to launch on December 5, 2022.
Space Wreck is set in a collapsed space society where your ship has been stranded among a debris-strewn junkyard with both other castaways and the people who live there. It's set on the fundamentals of classic isometric RPG design, including the option of non-violent resolution and wildly differing paths based on your character's statistics and skills.
The developers give examples of this, like characters with low speech skills being unable to initiate conversations with strangers, characters with low computer skills accidentally crashing terminals, or characters with a high physical stat being unable to squeeze into air vents to use a shortcut—they're just too swole.
There's a demo for Space Wreck out on Steam right now, and the developers updated that earlier this month. It has a version of the first chapter of the game designed to let you get an idea of what combat, exploration, and interaction are like in the wider Space Wreck world. I recommend kicking as many people as you can into the void.
Space Wreck is set to release into Early Access on November 5th. It's developed by two-man Latvian indie outfit Pahris Entertainment SIA. It'll have the full game with all of the intended launch content on release, but Pahris is releasing it as Early Access because it'll have "all the bugs we haven't yet found."
The playthrough of a single Space Wreck story fork will take about five hours, but the developers are really clear that it's intentionally short to make room for many differing "forks," or story paths. They say that one fork will let you see "at most 60%" of the game.
"By that I mean, you'll miss out on entire locations - with their own stories, quests, NPCs, and items that are available in the other fork," says the release FAQ. It's a game that's "intentionally short but full of content."
For my part, that sounds pretty neat, as does the clear design philosophy of only having a few character statistics and skills to choose from alongside weird perks and stuff, letting you focus on tweaking your character at creation then roleplaying what your results give you. I also like their copious use of gifs, so here's some of those.
In closing, the only truth you need that Space Wreck is at least worth looking at is that one of the developers has been posting development updates to the PC Gamer Forums for coming up on three years. I've seen official websites with fewer development updates. Surely a forum connoisseur of such taste can't make a truly bad game?
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Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.