When I first happened upon this game, a quick glance at some videos and game imagery, I let my imagination lead me into believing this was some sort of space sim, maybe even an Elite clone. It seems to be a mistake that a lot of people are making.
It really is not an Elite clone, despite the looks.
Sid Meier’s Pirates would actually be the closest game in terms of mechanics, or for anyone that hasn’t played that game – the closest you will find is probably Assassins Creed: Black Flag. Not played either? Let me tell you all about this game then: I may reference the above games, but only in to tell you that Rebel Galaxy pulls off what both the said games failed to do – great combat and varied challenging ways in which to kick the bad guys in their ‘proverbials’.
Let’s get on with it then and let me keep it simple. A three-word review perhaps? If so, that would be ‘Pirates in Space’. Sadly, I can’t get away with that and as previously mentioned I enjoyed this game and it more than deserves me spending some time in telling you why. This is not Elite….. I repeat, this is NOT Elite
You begin the game with a small animated intro – flying to your first space station your character is looking for their aunt. You meet some shifty looking space-spivs and soon enough you can explore the station. Go the bar, bribe the barman for information on local bounties. Go to the commodities market and become a space-trader – buying and selling between the multitude of different space stations. Go the shipyard, there’s a great selection of varied ships to be had, with different numbers of turrets and placements for the likes of mining lasers.
The story begins and this is my only real gripe with the game, it’s under-boiled and not that interesting. It matters not in the slightest. Why tell this shit then Lee? Well, most of the non-playable characters are given decent animations and the voice acting isn’t bad either! Just a shame they never gave them something interesting to say. I have to admit, my brain switched off during most of the dialogue.
The game is played out in a horizontal 2-dimensional plane. This really works well for combat and space travel and this was another positive surprise for me. Freedom is also at the heart of this game, play as a good guys, a bad guy, a miner, a trader.
Let’s talk about sex.
Or let’s not, but let’s talk about fighting instead. You will spend a lot of your game-time fighting in Rebel Galaxy. Thankfully the combat is this game is absolutely top notch. Referring back to my earlier comparison to both Pirates and Black Flag, combat in Rebel Galaxy is very similar, but those games failed to deliver anything meatier in terms of combat that a limp Quorn Lasagne.
In this game you can choose to fire your broadside weapons. This is where it mirrors the aforementioned games combat. Luckily, it’s leaps and bounds ahead in quality. You can affix different turrets to your ships and take control of then at ease. The broadside combat can be quite slow and clumsy (as it really should be), so firing homing missiles, or scatter guns is a lot more engaging and fun.
The game world is huge. I’m pretty sure there’s about 10+ galaxies, all connected by Mass Effect type relay wormholes and enough diversity between each (very large areas in their own right) galaxy. I’ve yet to mention these are procedurally generated as well. Travelling around in each galaxy can take a bit of time, but just like driving in GTA, there’s always something make you stop; distress beacons, pirates wanting to steal your goods etc.
I have some strange ‘twitchy’ internal barometers to measure if I feel a game is balanced. One of those being the purse string test. If a game finds you having far too much money too soon and nothing to spend it on, that’s a fail. With the decent roster ships and upgrades and weapon to buy, there’s always good reasons to get out there and earn that dosh.
There are factions, but given the seeming lack of attention in the writing department (but, hey – this is a budget game) they actually lack any reason or heart to sway you from one to the other.
Bored of fighting? Go mining?
Bored by mining? Go Trade?
Seek out bounties, explore.
But all roads in Rebel galaxy lead to combat and everything else is just a distraction. As I’ve said before, it’s very satisfying combat.
I’ve actually spent about 20+ hours in Rebel galaxy so far. I was toying with a score. “A solid 8” were my thoughts. Now the game has dropped, it’s on sale for £13.49. There’s a lot of game here for that price.
It’s shallow, it’s dumb… but like all dumb shallow dates, it’s cheap and fun.
Lots to do
Combat is great fun
Bland writing and personality