Hardspace : Shipbreaker

Music to break ships to

There has been a rise of games that are focused around a career in doing virtual jobs and building up experience/knowledge as you go, I’m thinking of HouseFlipper, Powerwash Simulator, Cooking Simulator and Gas Station Simulator to name a few, I feel that Hardspace : Shipbreaker kicks the whole thing up a level, it released from early access in May this year.

You work as a Shipbreaker for LYNX Corporation working to pay them back for giving you this great opportunity, you spend your days slicing apart derelict spaceships in one of the most hostile environments imaginable.
The Zero-G life can take a bit of getting used to, but there is no time for that as each part of the ship has to be correctly salvaged and processed, otherwise it’s money lost for the company. Chop Chop!

Keeping one eye on your Oxygen reserves and the other on your fuel tanks, you learn very quickly that one wrong cut or unplanned depressurisation can be costly either to your health, bank balance or both.

What starts off as a relaxing reverse house flipper soon becomes the complete opposite, the game does a good job of introducing new mechanics but sometimes they aren’t covered in depth and you kind of have to figure out things yourself, or worse trial and error.

Hardspace : Shipbreaker not only tells a tale, it also gives glimpses at humanity’s steps into the wider solar system, you also learn more about your employer, co-workers and their lives, hopes and dreams and what the future may hold for you all.

Thoughts

After seeing one of my Charity team mates playing the game, I knew it was going to be the sort of game I’d love to get my teeth into and I wasn’t wrong. Plus it’s got a kick-ass soundtrack with strummed acoustic folk guitar that just somehow fits the space setting, most likely pulling on those Firefly strings.

However I can see how this game may not appeal to everyone, the Zero gravity can be very disorientating, things like oxygen depletion is a real threat as and the game often conveys a claustrophobic feeling through the use of visuals and audio cues.

There are 4 difficulty types in the game :

  • Open Shift – Removed shift timer and togglable oxygen drain
  • Standard – Unlimited lives, but you work on the clock
  • Limited – 30 Revives for the campaign
  • No Revival – One life only.

Each difficulty type requires a new character account and the progress is tracked separately mostly as you can do things at different speeds. No shift timer allows you to salvage a whole ship in one go, compared to the 2 maybe even 3 shifts for other game modes.

Each has a free play mode where you can just break apart ships without the story and if you play at difficultly Open Shift you have the ability to toggling off the oxygen depletion too.
This is great for learning the ships but also if you want a break from the restrictions/expectations of the story mode.

Naturally there is a inherent danger of death in the game however I feel it’s worth a content warning for an event near the beginning of the game, each time you start a new character, I have added detail on the click/tap of the warning if you want more information.

Content warning: Implied Surgery (click to expand)

When you see and click a button for genetic extraction the audio that follows implies surgery and could be upsetting to some people, it lasts until screen fades to black.
Whole section can be skipped using ESCAPE when you get the Welcome to Morrigan Station screen and LYNX welcome video.

 

Rating?

I used to rate games whenever I blogged about them, so think I shall revive that feature since I’m likely to be posting about games going forward.

Playability 3/5
Graphics 4/5
Audio 4/5
Longevity 4/5
Originality 5/5
Total 20 out of 25

Want more?

I found this great talk from the developers explaining how the game started life as a hack-day idea and evolved continually until it became what it is today.