VoidExpanse popped up on our radar about a month ago after we came across the awesome looking trailer for the game. Developed by AtomicTorch Studio, VoidExpanse is an open-world science fiction action-RPG set in space. Featuring procedurally generated galaxies, real-time combat, and a wide range of player customization VoidExpanse is hoping to push the space action-RPG genre in exciting new directions.
We opted to try our hand at the single player aspect of VoidExpanse, though it does feature a similar mutliplayer option that appears to support up to 64 players per server. The game drops you right into the action as the commander of a small spaceship somewhere in a galaxy. As more games are thankfully doing these days, VoidExpanse offered us a very limited tutorial consisting of a single popup screen showing our control keymap. Don’t expect a lengthy tutorial where you’re forced to learn each new feature in a boring and drawn out process.
Piloting the ship feels reminiscent playing Asteroids, which made the overall control scheme pretty easy to become accustomed to. You have 360 degree control of your ship using the standard ASWD keys, while aiming and firing of your weapon systems are handled by the mouse. For most players guiding your ship should feel very natural, though I’d be wary of trying to play the game using a laptop’s touchpad.
The single player campaign intertwines a procedurally generated galaxy with an intricate story pretty seamlessly. During your exploration you’ll come across space stations that offer you quests, repairs, fuel, and a hanger by which you will upgrade your ship. Questing is handled through text trees ala Fallout or Skyrim; RPG fans will need no introduction to the quest system here.
A rich customization system is where VoidExpanse really stood out for us. We began the game with the absolute most basic ship loadout. As we battled pirates, mined asteroids, and completed quests we gained access to a huge variety of parts to better equip our ship. Each ship has 8 components that make up its main structure and a number of additional slots for special devices and consumable items. Changing your ships hull for example allows for a variety of additional parts to be installed such as new devices, consumable items, and different weapon types. Additionally, a class-based skill system gives access to statistic upgrades to your ship or unlocks access to new parts and abilities.
If you like min/maxing your character in RPGs and wished FTL featured a more robust customization system, VoidExpanse is going to be a game you seriously need to check out. In the alpha build we played, we had access to a huge number of ship subsystem parts, weapons, and entirely new ship hulls. Since you’ll nearly always be looting new items, modifying your ship to function how you want is a seemingly never ending quest. A wide variety of ships with varying levels of weapon capabilities and maneuverability help to diversify the battlefield a great deal. We also happened across a scientist that was willing to craft items for our ship, though this feature wasn’t fully implemented yet in our early alpha build.
VoidExpanse is quickly shaping up to be an awesome looking title with its focus on diverse play styles such as mining, trading, piracy, and space combat. With fast-paced combat and huge customization options, multiplayer servers should allow for pretty intense space battles that are sure to appeal to fans of a number of genres. It will be interesting to see how the multiplayer aspect evolves as the game gets closer to a final release. In such an open world there’s sure to be some fun interactions waiting for players.
The game is currently available for sale on the AtomicTorch store with a early access standard edition coming in at $9.99. For an extra $2 you can get the gold edition which features some seriously awesome 1920 x 1080 wallpapers and cool concept art. All purchases also entitle you to a Steam key should the game eventually make it onto Steam. Currently the game is available for PC though builds are coming for Linux and Mac as well.