You know that thing we sometimes do, when we write out the first paragraph of a review as a question? “Oh, will this game be good? Or will it be bad?” in a kind of funny, quippy, witty way? Yeah, it works for most games. But I have to say, I think doing that with “EVERSPACE” would be a disservice, both to you and to the game. You see, some games are like online casino offers, you can play around with them a bit and be playful when writing stuff out. But “EVERSPACE” is so good, so (dare I say it) perfect, that I want to come out and say it from the get-go: this game is absolutely top-shelf.
Let’s start with the “bad” things, before I gush on about the game, shall we? Simply put, the game might be a bit difficult for some. Not everybody likes roguelikes after all, so there’s that. Also, I encountered a bug: if you die while registering a jump to another sector, the game will crash.
There. With that out of the way, let’s talk about all the ways in which EVERSPACE met or surpassed my already pretty high expectations.
You see, I grew up playing “Freelancer” by Microsoft Studios. It was never a huge hit commercially, but people who like it, really do like it a lot. In fact, there’s people still playing it, adding more areas to explore, better textures, etc. It enjoys a very healthy modding community. So when I saw the description of “EVERSPACE” as a “space shooter where you upgrade your ship while traveling from sector to sector, all the way unraveling a story”, I said to myself “That sounds A LOT like a new take on the ‘Freelancer’ formula!”.
I was not wrong.
The game sees you exploring the trope of amnesia for the first part of the story: you escaped from the baddies, you forgot some stuff. Very predictable. But it gets really interesting, really quickly. And the way they’ve been able to advance the story despite you dying multiple times, and despite the roguelike nature of the game, is nothing short of amazing.
The gameplay is top-notch, too. The controls are super tight, and the hallmark of every good roguelike, that lootfest loop, addictive and rewarding, is here in all its glory. You are constantly rewarded with weapons upgrades, ship upgrades, and a ton of progression stuff that makes the game feel tough, but fair. And it controls so, so nicely! Combat can get a bit hectic, but once you grow into the control scheme, you are able to dish out massive damage and out-class and out-strategize your enemies. Yes, there’s a lot of strategy to the combat here, too: do you stay and fight, hoping to get more loot and resources? Or do you escape to fight another day, with better weapons and more fuel?
There are even politics in the game, with alliances made, forged and lost during the course of the story, while you try to figure out what exactly happened to you. It’s not as deep as a Civilization game, but for a game that’s touted as a space shooter, the diplomacy aspects are deeper than they have any right to be. In a good way.
Your companion is beautifully voice acted, and overall the acting and presentation of the game are incredible. The fact that this game can run this beautifully on the Switch is a technical feat in and of itself. The devs mentioned that they’ve updated the core game to run on a newer, more optimized version of the Unreal engine, and whatever they’ve done at Epic seems to be working wonders. “EVERSPACE” looks gorgeous and runs just as well. In fact, I’ve seen less stable 2D platformers that run less well on the Switch than this hugely complex 3D space shooter.
I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you the agony of reading me gush about the game any longer. In fact, I’m going to do you a favor: stop reading this review, and figure out the quickest, best way to acquire this game. Play “EVERSPACE” as soon as you can, for as long as you can, and thank me later. I know there’s a lot of Pokemon and Smash goodness going on right now, and that’s fine. But you will not find a less derivative, more polished third party experience on the Switch than “EVERSPACE” at the moment. It’s very, very high on my list for Game of the Year on the Switch. And that’s all I have to say about that.