Also On: PS4
Publisher: Double Damage Games
Developer: Double Damage Games
I can appreciate what Rebel Galaxy is going for, even if I’m not quite enamored by it. The idea of being some sort of free-wheelin’, independent space trucker/pirate certainly has some appeal, and in that regard Rebel Galaxy is pretty fun. Running from station to station, openly exploring a fairly large, procedurally generated playground is where Rebel Galaxy shines. Sending out infrequent pulses to locate debris or other goods, visiting out of the way outposts to trade in various goods, and attempting to buy low and sell high is surprisingly enjoyable. The overall hook of Rebel Galaxy certainly works, but some of the nuts and bolts that hold it all together feel a bit threadbare.
The economy systems are simple enough to figure out. Try to get word of outposts that are selling goods at ridiculously low prices, and then offloading those goods where the demand is higher. However, trying to determine how much of a particular good an outpost or station will have is nigh-impossible. And a lot of time can be spent wasted (and danger encountered) just to find out that the trip wasn’t really worth the effort. This can be mitigated by hand tracking numbers, so even if you’re not buying items at super low prices, you can still have some indication whether an item is better priced between your last two stops or not. This isn’t ideal, but if you enjoy the process enough you learn to put up with it.
Economy and goods also tie into combat a bit. Blowing up ships can be a surprisingly decent source of resources and income. Bounties are plentiful, and most missions will end up devolving into some sort of firefight. It would be neat to see diplomatic solutions leveraged a bit more, since there is a system by which you can hail other ships with dialogue choices, but at least the combat side of Rebel Galaxy is fun enough to make this excusable. Also, once destroyed, you can collect goods that ships leave behind, further supplementing your cargo and allowing you to outfit your ship with better guns, shields, engines and so on. You can also purchase other ship types, all of which look pretty neat and match the worn in style of the frontier-esque galaxy being presented here.
Small aspects of the combat could be a bit more informative though. When you get into a firefight, it’s generally with multiple ships and varying types of ships. Small, nimble fighter craft, larger freighters, and powerful gunships abound. Rebel Galaxy gives you some idea of the risk through low, medium, and high warnings, but no real indication of how strong each ship is. You sort of need to feel out the fight, and determine if your current weapons loadout is actually doing much good in a fight or not. Sometimes, especially early on, this lack of feedback in combat is pretty detrimental, leading to a lot of unfortunate explosions before you start to understand what fights you can and cannot win.
Still, despite these complaints, there’s a lot that Rebel Galaxy gets right. Once you get accustomed to the ship-to-ship combat, it’s largely enjoyable to fight other ships. Traveling around the galaxy never gets old, with plenty of beautiful space phenomena to gawk at, and a whole host of side activities to engage in that extend far beyond the storyline missions. While the actual plot is told through talking heads, you can also build your own story of sorts, allowing yourself to submerge in the role playing side of Rebel Galaxy as you try to build a name for yourself, and your ship, amongst the stars.
And for me, that’s what counts the most here. I was able to dive in, and enjoy my time with Rebel Galaxy despite some minor misses with the overall mechanics. It’s easy to pick up and play, even easier to understand, and enjoyable to just guide your ship around space and check out the surroundings. Whether you like combat, trading, or just general exploration, Rebel Galaxy has something unique and enjoyable to offer, and is certainly worth checking out on any available platform.