Edge of Space – What We Think:
Edge of Space is perhaps the most Terraria-like of the several science fiction crafting and exploration games inspired by Terraria itself. Where others (like Starbound, still in Early Access) go wide and focus more on exploring multiple worlds, Edge of Space goes deep, placing you on a single world with little more than your wits and a laser pick and letting you take things from there.
IGR took a look last year in our Edge of Space Early Access preview, but the game has changed in some significant ways since then. Now that the game has been officially released, we thought we’d revisit the alien world of Achoa.
Can You Dig It?
The news is good for Terraria fans, not to mention folks who enjoyed the Early Access version of the game, because the game mechanics are still basically the same. You’ll dig for natural resources, mine metal, and use it all to craft a base and some better equipment for yourself. You’ll fight off alien critters of various kinds (flying jellyfish and angry land crabs, for starters). And you’ll dig deeper and wander further into a bizarre alien world.
But What About Options?
What’s different is that there is so much more to do. You’ve been sent to Achoa to help terraform it, but beyond that, the sky’s the limit (technically, the sky plus all of the continents and islands floating it are the limit, but that doesn’t sound as pithy).
Do you like the Metroidvania side of things? It’ll be a long time before you run out of weird creatures to kill, new territories to explore and secret locations to discover. You can even come across abandoned mechs to pilot (though with enough research and resource-gathering, you can build better vehicles of your own).
Fancy a career as an interstellar interior designer? You can spend as much time as you like setting up your digs. In addition to necessities like a workbench for more crafting and a cloning tank to whip up some pets, there are also tons of purely decorative objects you can manufacture. Got your bedroom set up just how you like it? Maybe it’s time to start work on the kitchen.
Do you prefer highly technical simulations like SpaceChem and TIS-100? Switch into Power Mode inside your base, and you can tinker with generators, circuits and logic gates. It’s not quite building a fully functioning redstone computer in Minecraft, but it should keep you occupied for a while.
Beam Me Up to the Tutorial Ship (Please)
What’s also different is that there’s less guidance, so it can be a little tough to find your direction at first. In Early Access, there was an extended tutorial set on a spaceship above the planet. This helped to really create some contrast; the transition from cold mechanized ship to alien planet really helped to emphasize the psychedelic weirdness of Achoa.
Now you’re just dumped right onto the planet, and instead of a tutorial, you learn the game from an NPC who provides some basic starting quests, plus a text-heavy “Codex” menu that still leaves some questions unanswered until you blunder into them, and some video footage of what the tutorial used to look like. It’s actually pretty ungainly; the earlier version’s tutorial made things a lot easier to jump into, especially if you weren’t already familiar with Terraria and its successors.
It’s a Moody, Monty, Madcap World
The mood is different, too. The game used to be strange and tranquil, with bizarre creatures and insects passing across the screen occasionally to give life to the puce-clouded skies and weird monoliths, but now there are creatures seemingly everywhere. The floating continents and alien lifeforms used to recall science fiction artist Wayne Barlowe. Now it’s more like Wayne Barlowe after he’s watched a Monty Python marathon and downed a half dozen espressos—still otherworldly, but hyperactive and madcap, rather than strange and tranquil.
Speaking of madcap, the Edge of Space used to create a sense of quiet awe, a sense of being alone on a bizarre, almost unfathomable world. Now it’s got comedy from the get-go; you start out by doing quests for a talking shark with laser beams (admittedly, this particular Austin Powers reference has been in the game since early versions, but pushing it to the game’s opening definitely sets a tone that wasn’t there before).
Strange New World
Compared to earlier versions, Edge of Space is a lot less Star Trek and a lot more Red Dwarf. Whether that tonal shift is an improvement depends on whether or not you enjoy humor in your games in the first place.
What’s definitely better, though, is its sense of balance. It’s harder to accidentally die, but still easy enough if you get careless. Early game crafting elements are also sped up, making resource collection less of a drag.
While not without its occasional inconsistencies, Edge of Space gets a lot more right than wrong. It’s got loads of potential, it accommodates almost every play style, and it manages to offer a ton of complexity while still letting you learn its mechanics at your own pace. Tutorial ship or no, this is a strange and fascinating world to explore and remold to suit your own vision.
Watch the trailer for Edge of Space below: