I’ve always dreamed about being the captain of a spaceship. The Mass Effect trilogy did well in making that dream a reality, but I have always felt it was missing genuinely epic space battles.
Fortunately, Between the Stars, a new space epic by indie studio Isolated Games is offering just that. The game is now on Kickstarter along with a fully playable demo.
Between the Stars puts you in the seat of Republic Captain Scott. As your battered ship returns from a mission, you get caught up in the sparks of an intergalactic war between The Children of the Sun, a religious and evil company allied with space pirates, and The Republic, which are undeniably the good guys.
The prologue demo starts off as space pirates attack your ship. It is then that you learn the basics of Between the Stars’ space combat.
You can choose how to distribute your ship’s power between shields, engines, and weapons. As you fly your ship around, you can aim and fire your cannons at enemies when they get in range. You also have a rapid-fire ability and nuclear missiles that can deal massive damage.
Battles are intense since you have a lot of enemies attacking you at once, but blowing them up with pretty, luminescent explosions is a great sensation.
Once you finally get in the clear, you try to launch into hyperspace to the rendezvous point you were trying to reach, but discover your engines are not functioning. You then fly to a nearby space station to make repairs.
Space stations serve as shopping and upgrading hubs, where you receive quests, buy upgrades, and recruit new crew members. Exploring the various menus in the space station gives us a chance to get a look at the game’s customization options for the first time.
Your ship has weapon slots and utility slots, and you can choose which parts to install. Weapons range from cannons to shotguns, each with its range and damage statistics. Utilities are a little bit more specific and offer various capabilities from a shield generator to a minelayer.
You can also choose to task your crew with different tasks in the various bays on your ship. You can have them research an artifact you find, scrap a part for crafting resources, or build a new ship part from the resources you collect.
The crew members themselves have a lot of customizable depth to them, although it isn’t very apparent in the demo. Crew members have an array of skills which apply to their actions in the different bays and some specific dialogue options. Sending them on tasks like these increases their experience, and lets you upgrade them.
They also have a plenty of personality, and you’ll meet interesting people throughout the demo, from a kind mechanic to a whiny inspector.
While your ship is undergoing repairs, you go on a series of missions to repay for them using a replacement ship. The full game will have many different spaceships that each has different capabilities, and you can unlock them by achieving different goals in the game, but the Between the Stars Kickstarter demo only has two ships available.
The tasks you embark on have you exploring the vast area of space around the space station. You find mining stations, abandoned ships and space pirates. Your interactions in these encounters involve dialogue choices that remind me of classic role-playing games, the kind where some of the storytelling was conveyed using text only. These textual interactions sometimes even require skill checks and puzzle solving.
Ultimately, you get your ship fixed and finally get to make an interspace-jump to your destination. I won’t spoil what comes next, but I will only say that it gives you an excellent display of Between the Stars at its best.
As a fan of photo mode, I was pleased to find that the Between the Stars Kickstarter demo has this mode. As per usual, I have produced all the photos you will see in this article.
Between the Stars is now on Kickstarter, and you can play the same demo I played. The game is currently only available for PC, and you can play the demo on Steam or DRM-free. If you are a fan of space combat and sci-fi storytelling give the demo a spin and decide if you want to back the game on Kickstarter.
Developer Isolated Games is looking for €30,000 ($35,253) in funds. With 19 days to go, the campaign has raised €11,825 ($13,896) so far.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.