By: Ted Chow
In a galaxy far, far away, there lies a group of rag tag alien settlers that have established their own authority in the outskirts of the system. Whether they are pirates, bartenders or shady entrepreneurs, everyone’s out to make a killing and live the good life with some country rock music.
Rebel Galaxy puts you in the shoes of a man with a ship and the endless space to keep you company. Fortunately, the galaxy is packed with pirates, quests and other adventures to keep players entertained for the long haul.
If you’re expecting to do advanced aerial firefights and rocket through asteroid belts with lasers pew pewing all over the place, you might be a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of flashy lights, missiles and particle effects that provide substantial weight whenever you opt to unleash your load. The controls to pull that off, however, will feel like a button mash.
Moving across the galaxy feels like traveling along the X and Y space with no real Zed axis incorporated. This makes the camera angle easier to manage and the feel of the controls more simplistic and less nauseating, but it also leaves you with a rather grounded feeling as if you’re not moving at all.
Rebel Galaxy tends to stay closer to the stylized aspect of a space sandbox as aliens and ships are liberal in color and presentation. Ship designs are of high quality and serve as the primary focus of 90 percent of your adventure, with the remaining percentage taking place in space stations and the bar.
The galaxy is pretty vibrant in color and showcases plenty of asteroid belts, debris and planetary clusters to make it feel alive. The soundtrack also keeps with the theme of rebellion and the western frontiers by opting to go with country rock music.
From the moment you enter the game you’re prompted with some tutorial text to give you the basics in controlling your ship and the general layout of the HUD and features. You have just inherited the Rasputin from your aunt; it’s a rundown spaceship that has lived beyond its twilight years, but with plenty of upgrade opportunities it can be revitalized it into a monster of a ship.
With the majority of the game dedicated to exploring the galaxy and encountering random events and opportunities, Rebel Galaxy is a vast sandbox that would take years to travel from one cluster of civilization to the next. Luckily, warp travel is a thing.
As a renegade of sorts, you are left to handle situations how you see fit. From following the laws of the militia that govern the galaxy to raiding other cargo and being a vigilante, there are just enough instances to offer some level of choice to your missions. Beyond these scenarios, the majority of missions and quests will feel like errands as you travel from one sector to another salvaging for scraps or engaging in firefights with other shady entrepreneurs.
There are also plenty of distress missions and just enough random encounters to break up some of the monotony, but overall it’s all about upgrading your ship to god tier status and dealing with any resistance that impedes upon your ventures.
Upgrading your ship with a variety of weapons and loadouts is perhaps the most fun aspect of Rebel Galaxy. By reaching any space station you are given access to the maintenance bay to upgrade various components of your ship. Most will be weapons that will increase your options in fights with some cosmetic upgrades to round out the customization.
Hiring mercenaries in the bar will also allow you to have company during those long journeys across the galaxy as they are pretty handy in taking out smaller enemy ships. More options will present themselves once you are deeper in the game, but overall, upgrades are crucial if you want fights to end in a reasonable amount of time.
Lastly, as a single-player experience, your mileage will vary with this sandbox game. There are plenty of sights to see and places to explore, so if you enjoy space sims that put these features as their primary focus, you’ll be thoroughly engaged. Otherwise, prepare to macro for auto pilot as destinations between missions and central hubs can be far and wide.
Rebel Galaxy offers a bit of space exploration, some comedy and epic firefights to make this title something to look into. Some level of patience may be needed as fights can drag on for a while, however, and travelling between missions can be a chore at times.
Ultimately, interesting characters and good gameplay do give Rebel Galaxy a reason for players to pick up the title even amidst the ever expanding list of games in sci-fi genre.