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Play a farting fox-headed rentier in this reverse-Kerbal

A hologram of Chop, a one-eyed pig with a chipped tooth, looms over a fox-headed human against a Southern American backdrop.
(Image credit: Beard Envy)

As developer Beard Envy gears up to show me Uncle Chop's Rocket Shop, I realise I actually have no idea what this game is about. I'd been pulled in by the incredibly vague trailer, touting a surreal kaleidoscopic vibe straight out of Cartoon Network's renaissance era. 

As a complete sucker for that stuff, I was curious yet worried that would be where my interest ended. Turns out I had nothing to be worried about. As if the name wasn't a dead giveaway, Uncle Chop's Rocket Shop is all about spaceships in some far-flung southern American future, fixing them up and paying rent in the hopes Uncle Chop won't straight-up murder Wilbur, the humble repairman you play as. He's a strange little dude, a sort-of human sporting a multi-eyed fox head who can fart his way up ships to reach every nook and cranny. Each day gives eight minutes to repair as many ships as possible. Select a job, wait for the ship to come down and get to work.

Handily, the game provides manuals to help figure out what the hell you're supposed to be doing, with a slew of different manufacturers and brands to wrap your head around. They vary from your bog-standard mechanical parts to slugs that have to be fed and even a sentient AI that must be played around with until it's in the correct mood. 

Shipshape

Repairs are done through a series of small minigames, like perfectly timing a gas canister fill. Let go too early and you're short-changing the client. Let go too late and the canister bursts, forcing you to replace it out of your own pocket. The minigames gradually get more finicky, like having to unscrew and keep track of the various bits and pieces of each module, but you'll be rewarded for your extra effort.

A purple slug grins on a colourful ship module.

(Image credit: Beard Envy)

You can consult the manuals for the most basic, run-of-the-mill fixes, but Beard Envy says there's a lot of room for experimentation. What if instead of oil, you filled the guy's spaceship with coffee? Sometimes the results of your tomfoolery will be immediate, while with others it could be days until you have a very pissed-off, caffeine-soaked alien on your doorstep.

Repairing ships will go towards paying off each week's rent and avoiding death, but extra coins can be put towards some nice workshop upgrades. It should eventually allow for bigger, better ship repairs and hiring helpers to make life a wee bit easier. Beard Envy also tells me there are some mystery contraptions that can be discovered as you venture deeper in, and I get the impression that the three-man team has tried to think about everything.

When your fox head isn't buried inside some bizarre module, there are a plethora of characters knocking about this weird slice of space-bound Americana. Clients have different personalities, like one alien who seems very keen to pet you. You can run around and chat with people who work or live nearby before your shift starts, offering an overarching narrative and allowing you to align yourself with certain groups that inhabit the area. I didn't get to see much of the story element, but there was a lovely twang of British humour running through the Americana. 

The fox-headed mechanic speaks to a large pink alien with speech bubbles above his head, one which says "huh" and another that says "I've no idea where those scratches came from."

(Image credit: Beard Envy)

Uncle Chop's Rocket Shop looks quirky, fun, and I get the impression there's a surprising amount of depth hidden within its roguelite elements. While I initially came for its looks—and it does look stunning, scratching an aesthetic itch deep in my brain—I've been roped-in by how it plays, too. It's weird and wonderful in all the ways I want my games to be, like an interactive, deadlier episode of Regular Show.

You can wishlist Uncle Chop's Rocket Shop on Steam (opens in new tab) now, with a release date of soon(ish).

Mollie Taylor
News Writer

A fresh writer in the industry, Mollie has been taken under PC Gamer's RGB-laden wing, making sure she doesn't get up to too much mischief on the site. She's not quite sure what a Command & Conquer is, but she can rattle on for hours about all the obscure rhythm games and strange MMOs from the 2000s. She's been cooking up all manner of news, previews and features while she's been here, but especially enjoys when she gets to write about Final Fantasy, Persona, The Sims, and whatever other game she's currently hopelessly fixated on. There's a good chance she's boring another PC Gamer writer about her latest obsession as we speak.