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EVE Online's mobile spin-off, EVE Echoes, is now in open beta

(Image credit: NetEase)

EVE Online's free-to-play mobile spin-off, EVE Echoes, has hit open beta today, so you can download it and flit around New Eden in your ship right now.

Though it's set in an alternate universe and developed by NetEase, at first glance it shares a lot with with its PC progenitor. The broad strokes and basics are much the same, letting you fly around New Eden, warping between worlds and stations as you trade and fight.

So, unlike the shelved Dust 514, EVE Echoes is still a sandbox MMO, using a lot of the same systems but adapted for phones and tablets. Even the UI is familiar, and while I'd probably prefer to use a larger screen than I've got with my phone. The touchscreen interface is fine, but the icons are sometimes a touch too small. There are also, as you'd expect, lots of menus, making me miss my lovely PC monitor, but so far it's been serviceable.

If you've not been in the previous testing phases, you should start with the new tutorial, which will teach you the basics and get you in a better ship, but after that you can go your own way. You can also skip the tutorial if you're feeling bold.

The beta also introduces drones, more advanced ships and additional modules. Storyline missions have been thrown into the mix, too, and if you're more interested in making a buck you can focus instead on getting rich in the new Interstellar Trading Centre.

I can't see many EVE Online players drifting over to its mobile cousin for very long, but I do quite like the concept of EVE on my phone. Given that so much of EVE involves waiting to reach a destination and staring at lists—I wrote this while my ship flew to a space station—being able to do that from the sofa or on the train is pretty tempting offer.

You can download EVE Echoes on Android and iOS now.

Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.