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(Disclosure: The re­view­er was giv­en a copy of the game by the de­vel­op­er for pur­pos­es of re­view. You can now buy RymdResa on Steam here.)

RymdResa is de­vel­oped by Morgondag; a Nordic games de­vel­op­er based out of Sweden. The mu­sic is by Tom Croke and Pat Jacobs.

RymdResa is an in­cred­i­bly lone­ly rogue‐like space sim with RPG el­e­ments. It has a rather ex­cel­lent­ly done sound­track, retro in­spired graph­ics, and is a tech­ni­cal mas­ter­piece from a cod­ing per­spec­tive. The main sto­ry can take rough­ly 3 – 6 hours to com­plete, with oth­er el­e­ments such as col­lect­ing re­search pods in space (Which seems more of a mat­ter of luck than any­thing) and re­source col­lect­ing for sur­vival pur­pos­es and base build­ing in the lat­er chap­ters. It is dif­fi­cult to pin down just where RymdResa be­longs on the genre scale, but rogue‐like ful­fills the pur­pose for the sake of Steam cat­e­go­riza­tion.

Star‐Swept Stories in Sullen Space

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Such a frag­ile thing

You play the lone­ly cloned pi­lot of a space­craft that you choose be­fore each chap­ter; with three chap­ters con­tained in this rogue‐like. In the first chap­ter — Hope — you learn that the pilot’s home plan­et has been de­stroyed by an as­ter­oid, and are tasked with find­ing a re­place­ment home‐world while drift­ing through the void. In the sec­ond chap­ter — A New Home — once you find a new plan­et, you are then tasked with procur­ing ma­te­ri­als to cre­ate new up­grades for the plan­et. You then make the ul­ti­mate up­grade in chap­ter two, which leads to the third chap­ter — Nether Space — a far more dan­ger­ous realm than the real space.

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There’s like 80 of these in to­tal. Space gets lone­ly.

This is mere­ly the over­ar­ch­ing sto­ry, as RymdResa has one lis­ten­ing to the pilot’s mus­ings as he drifts through space and be­comes de­tached from the world of his birth, the love of his life, and even the ground be­neath his feet. These lit­tle snip­pets play in the back­ground, and mark the pilot’s di­ary as your ship lazi­ly drifts through space. The melan­choly na­ture of the game sug­gests at first that the pi­lot is will­ing to ac­cept death, or at least eter­nal lone­li­ness. Before be­com­ing some­what hope­ful in the sec­ond and third chap­ters, the mus­ings re­veal the pi­lot has lost every­thing. This evolves in the sec­ond chap­ter as they get hope and a pur­pose, and into the third chap­ter as that grows into a de­sire.

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So many cu­ri­ous things

Other sto­ries, hid­den in the de­scrip­tions for plan­ets and oth­er space ob­jects, de­scribe a galaxy that has died. Or at the least one that is anath­e­ma to life. Curious lo­cales can be spot­ted where it seems the spir­its of the galax­ies them­selves wrote on the ta­pes­try of the void it­self, leav­ing mes­sages both hope­ful and dire for both the pre­vi­ous in­hab­i­tants and the present pi­lot.

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If you’re not care­ful, they’re not wrong

Overall, it feels as if the sto­ries with­in are an al­le­go­ry for some­thing more than what is pre­sent­ed — show­ing hope against ever­last­ing de­spair. Of some­one des­per­ate for an­oth­er chance, some­where out there in space.

Gameplay

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My God, It’s Full of Stars

The con­trols are fair­ly sim­ple. Using the mouse (or heav­en for­bid a con­troller for this), you en­gage thrust with the left mouse but­ton. You use Q to in­ter­act with things in the wild ex­pans­es of the void and this dri­ves along the sto­ry. Maintaining the ship’s co­he­sion by col­lect­ing re­sources, ei­ther from stars (with the right lev­el up­grades) or plan­e­tary ob­jects float­ing by is core to sur­viv­ing. One must drift from mis­sion ob­jec­tive to mis­sion ob­jec­tive with­out col­lid­ing with var­i­ous red‐lined ob­jects that des­per­ate­ly wish to see your ship de­stroyed. A boost sys­tem al­lows the ship to speed up at the cost of re­sources. And through­out this, one must also col­lect stars to have star­points to af­ford the var­i­ous ships one can choose be­tween chap­ters or af­ter death.

 

There are eight ships to choose from, each with their own strengths, weak­ness­es, and even sound­tracks to mark their trav­el through the void. Each ship does man­ages to avoid same­ness, and al­though half are locked be­fore the sec­ond chap­ter, those avail­able of­fer a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence to each oth­er as one drifts through the void.

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EXPERIENCE ALL THE THINGS

The play­er is able to level‐up af­ter col­lect­ing enough star­points; which act as cur­ren­cy for the ships. Experience points al­low the play­er to take mile­stone up­grades that can make your ship tougher, and gath­er re­sources and gain more star­points to ad­vance. Each level‐up also gives the play­er points to put into skills that al­low them to ex­plore strange anom­alies in space, use tele­por­ta­tion tech­nolo­gies, and gath­er even more re­sources to en­sure the ship’s sur­vival.

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I had like three times this amount of stuff at the end of the game.

Equipment can be put onto the ship to im­prove the var­i­ous stats, im­prov­ing great­ly each key abil­i­ty or hedg­ing up weak­ness­es. The equip­ment can be gained from the boss­es, stars, plan­e­tary anom­alies, or just ran­dom­ly out in space.

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Abstract death screens give me fun­ny feel­ings

Once your ship is de­stroyed by the un­car­ing void (and it will hap­pen even­tu­al­ly), the play­er keeps all ex­pe­ri­ence, star­points, equip­ment and mile­stone choic­es that have been found.

Graphics

 

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There’s weird­er things out there, but I liked how this looked

The pix­e­lat­ed na­ture of the game re­minds one of an Amiga com­put­er, with the art su­per retro but thank­ful­ly not over­done. With the hun­dreds of ran­dom ob­jects to find through­out the galaxy, rang­ing from plan­ets, aban­doned space shut­tles — and I swear I saw a bar­be­cue at one point — it is easy on the eye. It gets the point across quite well, and lends to the over­all melan­choly at­mos­phere that the game is go­ing for.

Music & Audio

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I have no idea how to show you mu­sic so en­joy this in‐game ab­stract death re­lat­ed art­work

 

As men­tioned in the game­play sec­tion, each ship has their own sound­track, rough­ly five to six min­utes long. Each track avail­able has their own in­stru­ments com­prised of a va­ri­ety of elec­tron­ic in­stru­ments. Synth strings, drums, keys, and even a theremin for the UFO ship cre­ate an in­ter­est­ing sound­track with songs that feel ut­ter­ly in­de­pen­dent of each oth­er. Overall, it is ex­cel­lent­ly done.

The sounds with­in RymdResa are well craft­ed, but the voice over nar­ra­tion for the sto­ry bits can get a bit repet­i­tive. This re­view­er found the fil­ters used on the actor’s voice grat­ing over time, rather than at­mos­pher­ic. His per­for­mance, how­ev­er, was ex­treme­ly ap­pro­pri­ate; show­ing just how de­tached the pi­lot has be­come over his time spent in space. Loneliness leaks through, as does stress, and the oc­ca­sion­al hap­py mo­ment as ap­pro­pri­ate.

Technical & Settings

 

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Aw Yiss – Settings Menus

The set­tings with­in RymdResa are ex­treme­ly thor­ough, with a fo­cus on game­play el­e­ments; au­dio and sound each hav­ing their own por­tions of the set­tings menu. Of the hours played through­out start to fin­ish, there has only been one bug as a re­sult of an up­date and it was fixed with­in a week.

Final Thoughts

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Ooo Shiny

RymdResa re­minds me of a free­ware game by the name of Transcendence. Both are rogue­likes set in space, where every­thing is out to kill you out­side of the safe ar­eas. But where Transcendence was about go­ing on the of­fen­sive, it feels as if RymdResa was at­tempt­ing to go the oth­er way. The player’s craft is vul­ner­a­ble, and un­til the third chap­ter doesn’t even get the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a shield. Equipment is kept be­tween deaths, less­en­ing the tra­di­tion­al costs of death in a rogue‐like.

But with such an ab­stract sto­ry told in bits and pieces with­in a de­cent space game, this works to its ad­van­tage. For those look­ing for some­thing dif­fer­ent in the space ad­ven­ture genre, I sug­gest giv­ing RymdResa a try.

Purchase RymdResa at full price if: You like quirky, ab­stract sto­ries told in an un­ex­pect­ed medi­um. If you like the oc­ca­sion­al rogue‐like, and are eas­i­ly frus­trat­ed by death.

Purchase at a dis­count if: You are more of a tra­di­tion­al­ist with rogue­likes, or are more in­ter­est­ed in a com­bat fo­cused space sim.

Do not pur­chase at all if: You are a hard­lin­er with rogue­likes, don’t much care for space sims or can get an­noyed with be­ing in­ter­rupt­ed by voice‐overs every five min­utes or so.

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Michael Campbell
My name is Michael Campbell. I am a bud­ding writer, pro­duc­er, and the content‐manager for off‐site opin­ion pieces. I fo­cus on Early Access Game Reviews, Traditional Games Media (Primarily Pen & Paper Role‐playing Games), Steam Games, Origin, and Indie Titles. My in­ter­ests in­clude draw­ing re­al­ly ter­ri­bly, run­ning far too many RPG games a week and hor­ri­fy­ing my co‐workers and friends. I also get re­al­ly an­gry on Twitter at in­jus­tice. I am also like­ly go­ing to be­come a fix­ture in the ed­i­to­r­i­al sec­tion of this site, due to the above anger. You can reach me at M.Campbell@supernerdland.com if you have ques­tions or com­ments; As well, you can reach me @EvilBobDALMYT on Twitter to see some of that anger in mo­tion.
Michael Campbell

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