Star Control: Origins may have a bit of controversy going on, but that doesn’t mean developers Stardock are slowing down with the game’s progress. We recently got a chance to play through the ambitious space adventure’s first chapter of the story, and came away pretty impressed with both its writing and the potential scope of its content. Star Control: Origins is a humorous, far-reaching space adventure that has humanity stuck in the middle of a war between the Zoidberg-esque Tywom and the domineering and superior Scryve. It’s your job, as the first interstellar human space captain, to help the Tywom not die, and keep the human race from being eradicated in the process.
When the game fully launches on September 20th, there’ll be a full open-ended story-campaign, the player-created ships and universes system, fleet battles competitive play, and a whole lot more. Your game starts aboard the first Titan class ship Humanity has ever created, outfitted with planetary landers, a full crew, and a hunt to the distant moon of Triton in Neptune’s orbit. There, you discover the hapless but technologically efficient Tywom.
You find out soon enough that they’re very close to eradication from the universe-dominating Scryve – an alien race that believes itself to be above all others. The Tywom have been watching us for years, and no, they’re not responsible for that whole probe thing either. They waited until we could join them in space before they could make contact and well – here we are.
The essential gameplay loop of Star Control: Origins is simple but addictive. Fly from planet to planet, collecting resources from the surface in your lander, sell them for credits with Star Control, and engage in interstellar negotiations with other alien species. Only the Tywom and the Scryve are in the first chapter, but the full game promises an entire galaxy of aliens to interact with.
The flying around the solar system feels loose – like skating on ice, and I’m not sure I like it. But it gets the job done. WASD to move, and AD turn your ship. But you kind of “slide” around the stars, and it just feels a little too imprecise. The same goes for ship to ship battles. It’s presented in the same overhead fashion, and you just kind of fly loosely around in circles shooting at the enemy until you or it explode. I love everything about what I’ve played so far except the combat flight.
When you land on planets with the lander, it’s a pretty simple game of resource grabbing – think Mario Kart and trying to get the item cubes. You just sort of float over the surface of planets, picking up resources, and finding unidentified objects. It’s not too deep, and I eventually hope I can have my fleet automate the process. It’s fun the first couple times, but if I have to spend tens of hours doing it, it’s going to be quite repetitve.
Where Star Control: Orgins excels is in its ship outfitting, its writing, and the overall breadth of scope of the game. If the controls can be shored up, and if the narrative continues strong, it’s going to be a heck of a fun time when it launches next month.