Empyrion – Galactic Survival is a 3D open world, space survival adventure game with construction and shooter elements. Published and developed by Eleon Game Studios, Empyrion is currently in Early Access on Steam.
At the beginning of the game you find yourself stranded in an alien world beside your crash landed escape pod. Your first task is to build a hovercraft, thankfully there are some essential materials stored in your pod. This however will only get you so far, as you are running low on food and oxygen you will have to build an oxygen generator and scavenge the local flora and fauna for food. Players will eventually be able to build a base and either repair the crashed escape pod or build a new one of their own design (probably with a weapon or two). There is also the option to leave the atmosphere and explore the different local planets and from there build the capital vessel.
Empyrion Galactic Survival: PC
Developer: Eleon Game Studios
Publisher: Eleon Game Studios
Release Date: 5 August 2015 [Early Access]
Price: £13.59 [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Developer]
Flora and fauna are numerous and planet specific (some resources/ores are also planet specific). Meaning the player will have to explore the various different planets in order to obtain the resources they require to build the more advanced items. As with most survival games there are a number of passive and aggressive creatures as well as a seemingly cybernetic race in the form of the drones and turret emplacements. The player will be provided with meat and healing items from the animals, various food from plants and crafting resources from the drones and turret towers, to add a decent reward to the risk of taking on a tower, the player will usually find some difficult while also expensive to craft items inside.
Despite being in pre-alpha as mentioned earlier, the gameplay is solid but understandably restricted. The crafting system is surprisingly well structured and fleshed out. However it should be noted many of the recipes are likely to change, with some recipes feeling a little bit over powered, this is likely to give players a feel for the game before perhaps a more complicated system is introduced. You are given a full set of tools that will aid you in your endeavours which are: a mining tool, remove & repair tool, a filler & flatten tool and of course everyone’s favourite, the colour tool.
You can also construct a number of extremely useful and often essential devices that will allow access to more advanced crafting materials which will in turn lead to more advanced blocks and machinery. Unlike most survival games there does not appear to be tiered tools, it is unknown whether this will change, however there are tiered weapons. There is a substantial farming mechanic in which the player can plant seeds and grow various plants which may also be expanded.
I had a different number of weapons to choose with machine guns, pistols, sniper rifles and even the futuristic pulse and laser rifles. The choice is similar when it comes to the weaponry for vehicles, there is a choice between standard mounted weapons, versus turrets for larger bases and a spacecraft. Whilst certain weapons such as the rocket launcher are a little bit buggy they, for the most part work perfectly fine. The enemy drones and emplacements have of course access to the same, if not better technology so care should be taken when assembling the different vehicles in order to protect the various modules such as weaponry, engines or indeed the “core” which, if destroyed will disable the vehicle. One thing worth noting is currently vehicle and turret weaponry does not use ammunition, which will be changed in a later update. Speaking of ammo, the ammo for the tools I was able to use is a little on the expensive side, care should be taken to not waste it too much.
Of course being in Alpha there are the occasional bugs. In my playthrough I didn’t notice very many, but the bugs I experienced included falling through the world infinitely, which was fixed by exiting and reloading. A strange bug that caused my first small vessel to glitch and not allow any further blocks to be placed on it nor allow the use of the removal tool, this may be part of the known core-block issue, a reload however fixed this and lastly a bug that causes the game to crash upon exiting. However obviously being a pre-alpha these issues are to be expected. It’s worth noting that other players are reporting a number of different issues that I have not experienced.
Once I got into the game a bit more I discovered that the mechanics and gameplay that currently exist are extremely fun. This is obviously where the developers have implemented most their time. I found I barely noticed the lack of graphical fidelity due to this which more than compensated for the said lack of graphics. Obviously being so early in development the developer may improve the graphics further down the line. The soundtrack that is provided is again because of early development but quite basic, but works well. The machines purr nicely in the background, the music is good and unobtrusive.
Overall, whilst this isn’t my first ever pre-alpha game that I’ve played it is definitely the first I’ve properly reviewed. I must say I’m exceedingly impressed with how stable the game is as well as how extensive the crafting and building mechanics are. Whilst there is a wiki and tutorial provided there is currently no in-game tutorial beyond a few help messages that sometimes appear. Of course as this is a pre-alpha there is noticeably more work needing to be done on this title than any other that I have currently reviewed. All being said I have no qualms about recommending this title. Especially if you have enjoyed titles such as Space engineers or one of the many other similarly themed games.