This frantic co-op spaceship game mixes the best parts of FTL and Overcooked

I've seen a lot of episodes of Star Trek but never one in which Captain Picard frantically runs down a corridor of the Enterprise carrying a torpedo and crashes right into Worf, who is headed the opposite direction to stuff a ticking bomb into an incinerator. Bumping and shoving, they eventually manage to pass each other in time for Picard to load and fire the torpedo. 

Then he accidentally ejects himself from the ship through an airlock and suffocates in space.

That'd be a weird episode of Star Trek, but it's business as usual in This Means Warp, a frantic co-op spaceship management roguelite that's like if FTL and Overcooked were shoved into a transporter together and merged into one entity. Just like in FTL, you travel through space, battle enemy ships, and deal with random encounters and events. And as in Overcooked you handle everything by bumbling around as the ship's captain, carrying items from one place to another while trying to stave off total disaster.

I've played a bit of This Means Warp, which is now in Steam Early Access, and it's a fun mix of strategy and chaos. The controls are a bit awkward and the characters waddle more than they run, but that adds to the tension as you try to quickly carry ammo to weapons and deliver repair kits to hull breaches. Prioritizing tasks is a constant—should I target the enemy hull to keep them busy with repairs, or should I aim for their weapons so they can't fire back? Can I delay fixing my own hull breach to load the weapon and get off another shot, or should I drop the torpedo and grab the repair kit?

Your shipmates can be other up to 3 other human players or AI-controlled companions you meet along your adventure, and honestly they can be just as much of an obstacle as your enemies, such as when all three of you are jockeying to grab the single available torpedo from the ammo spawner, or all trying to fit through the same narrow doorway to fix a leaking hull. Coordinating takes communication (or just yelling at your partners) but even playing solo you can assign AI crewmates job priorities, and they do a pretty good job of keeping your ship up and running.

Each victory brings new upgrades: modules that improve weapon damage or increase hull health, new features for your ship like a little robot that can load weapons for you or automatically grab enemy bombs and incinerate them before they detonate. Enemy ships get progressively bigger and more dangerous, and naturally there are massive boss ships with force fields and powerful weapons. Along with combat encounters there are optional time-based missions, asteroid belts to navigate, and visits to space docks to buy new weapons or modules for your ship.

This Means Warp is one to check out if you're looking for a fun and frantic local or online co-op game like Overcooked. Plans are for it to remain in Early Access for about a year, during which new ship layouts, bosses, and minigames will be added. You can find it here on Steam

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.