So, some of you may have heard that there’s a new free-roaming 3D tactical space RPG on Steam’s early access list, and it’s called Starpoint Gemini 2. I fired this one up to take a look at what the early game has to offer, trying to get a feel not just for what’s there now, but for what could come as the game grows into its own, and whether it’s worth taking the plunge into the alpha.
I’ll put one thing straight from the get-go: I’m not huge on early access games, really; I think that if a developer is taking money, they’re making an assertion that the product is already worth that money. Boasting a $22.99 price tag for early access, Stapoint Gemini 2 puts a pretty high value on itself right out the gate. When you consider that Iceberg Interactive throws in a copy of the first game, itself a $13.99 proposition via Steam, you’re looking at an effective $9 buy-in to get the alpha access; that’s a bit higher than it’d be worth to me, but it’s entirely possible I’m simply not built for the game. I’ll explain.
Starpoint Gemini 2 is, as I mentioned, mostly a tactical RPG. You gain experience, levels, and all that; I’m not sure what exactly those do, to be honest, but they’re there. The early access doesn’t seem to include any story quests, though I spotted a freelance mission or two that can be completed. The main part of my toying around, though, was spent mining. By mining, I mean firing my weapons (or waiting for them to recharge) at nearby asteroids, collecting anything they left, and selling those at the nearby dock. I bought a few upgrades, I think, but mostly I was just getting better weapons to mine with. There’s a few hostile ships that’ll come in range to give you a taste of combat, but for the most part, there just doesn’t seem to be a whole lot going on.
I did point my ship out into the ether once, and shut down all systems to divert power to engines. I soared through the galaxy for about a minute before some hostiles came out of cloaking, dropped in on me, and proceeded to demonstrate how much better at combat they were; it took me longer to find them than to be obliterated, even with my weapons upgrades. Suffice it to say, I was soon back to mining, since asteroids don’t seem to shoot back, and a few friendly ships near the rocks you start your game close to offer some additional protection against incoming enemies.
So, bottom line? I think there’s a lot of potential wrapped up in Starpoint Gemini 2, but I’m not sure a lot of it shines through this early on. Once there’s a fully-formed plot underneath the pretty good-looking wrapper, there’s definitely a chance for a pretty great final product. In the current state, though, unless you’re really, really into space sims, I don’t think buying into the early access is worth it – though, again, at least they’re kind enough to toss in the game’s prequel as a bonus, and hey, maybe you’re really into very nicely rendered asteroid mining simulations.