One of the things that people have always wanted to achieve is to explore the vastness of space. However, this might not be as appealing as it sounds, and the game Asteroids: Outpost surely manages to explore this idea. Simply put, this is a game created as an open world sandbox, where you want to colonise a planet located right near the asteroid belt. The main reason why people came here, according to the game’s story, is that mankind needs the resources available, specifically in the mines. However, while the asteroid belt has numerous minerals, there are also threats.
As a miner, in Asteroids: Outpost (based on the classic Asteroids videogame IP) you will need to create your own outpost, start mining, craft items and just explore the massive location. You will have the opportunity to claim a piece of land right from the start, which is quite nice, but the main focus here is on exploration and the mining of rare minerals that can be found in the fallen asteroids. The better the resources you scavenge, the better the technologies you can research, so the title does encourage exploration, something that I enjoyed quite a lot.
However, this is a game with a multiplayer focus, so alongside creating your own production buildings and mining resources, you will also have to deal with other players. Since humanity are a competitive race, we will also try to kill each other in order to achieve domination, and that’s exactly what you get here. Asteroids: Outpost requires you to constantly upgrade your base and tech, while also building defenses. The game comes with a surprisingly large research tree, so I find it quite good in providing incentives to play more and more.
You will have a limited amount of air to explore the game space, so you do need to upgrade that and ensure that you come back to base often. It’s nice to see such elements, and these do affect the gameplay quite a lot. Asteroids: Outpost does show the hostility of the alien space, and this is something I enjoyed tremendously. I also liked the vast range of terrain types: it’s really cool to explore mines and abandoned camps to find resources as you see fit.
It’s important to note that you can craft turrets that can destroy asteroids whenever it’s necessary, something that, for me, was quite interesting and new. The asteroids are constantly raining down upon you and your base, so you have to decide between leaving your turrets to defend your base whilst you mine the remains of shot-down asteroids, or taking control of one yourself and blasting them to defend your base.
I found the gameplay to be quite demanding at first, but as you get accustomed to it and research technologies, you will see that exploring the planet via a vehicle and interacting with others becomes a vital part of the game. In time, you will be able to cooperate and create colonies, but trust can be an issue. In one of my game sessions, I became an ally with a person just to find him plunder my location for resources later in the game. Even such a simple gameplay idea changes the experience a lot, and I have to say that I am very impressed when it comes to the uniqueness of the title.
The version played is Early Access, more specifically Pre-Alpha, so there are lots of elements missing in this title. What I did want to see was a story or some guidance, as the game gets a little hectic in the beginning as you try to figure out what to do. It’s very impressive from a visual standpoint however, because the graphics are very high quality, with numerous visual effects and a ton of unique elements that blend seamlessly to create an astounding atmosphere.
While the polish is there for the environment, the weapons in this version do not look that amazing, but hopefully their design will be improved. Also, the planets are mostly barren right now, but it’s expected considering the fact that the game is in Early Access right now.
Is it worth your money? This is definitely something to debate upon. Many people might consider Asteroids: Outpost as being a tech demo instead of a game, and they are right, because while the core mechanics are there, there is still a lot of stuff to do in order to create a fully fledged game. It does look really cool, and exploring the planets is nice, so there is fun to be had here, but the constant crashes and bugs might hamper the experience. The price is a lot considering the current state of the game, but on the plus side the devs seem to be quite active in patching the game and expanding the gameplay experience. However, there’s much to be improved here, and for the time being, unless you are an avid sci-fi fan and need a planet exploration fix, you can avoid it. Do keep an eye on it though, as the game does have a lot of promising features that you will enjoy!