Starship Rubicon Review – PC
Developed by Wickworks, based in Portland, Oregon in the US, Starship Rubicon was released back in December 2014. It finally made its way onto Steam’s Greenlight page on May 5th of this year. It soared into popularity where became twice as more likely to get a positive vote from a visitor than games in the top 50. It is as a rogue-like space shoot-em up that has the mechanics of your classic Asteroids, combined with the modification of FTL.
After starting the download I was able to start playing in about 10 seconds. Not even enough time to make a cup of tea. Once you open the game, you are greeted and a starting sequence graces your eyes. It tells the story of a human whose cryo-pod is taken in by a mysterious ship, with the AI needing you to save the human race
Then menu then appears, with its looping music that makes you feel like you have a giant mission that you must complete. Many-a-time did I nearly stand from my chair, place my hands on my hips and shout “for the humans!”. Maybe it’s taking it slightly too far, but I have to congratulate the choice in music (created by ‘beatscribe’ who you can find on soundcloud!). In addition, the options menu gave the choice to alter your controls, resolution and the volume, and was simple in its layout, which gives a refreshing vibe against some games with their cluttered menus.
You press play, choose your starting place in a procedurally generated universe, and you’re quite literally dropped into space. Enemies pop up on the radar, and it’s time to start firing and evading. Weapons need time to regenerate, which makes for good use of shields that go up while you’re waiting, making it a little easier to stay alive, but too need their time to regenerate when damaged. Similar to Asteroids, you thrust in the direction you want to go, and it makes for slip’n’slide manoeuvres around the screen, this can be frustrating when you slide a little too far and have to start all over again because you lost your one life.
Once you have defeated all the enemies in the level, the starting gate opens up again and you’re free to go to the next one. Destroying blue asteroids will reward you with points in which you can unlock weapons and ships. Sometimes you find allies in the different sections that help you, and can be called upon to help on different levels. Branches open up to advance, and eventually you meet one of the randomised bosses. Although the game gives one life, you’re free to keep all weapons and ships that you collect over time if you die.
The game can get quite repetitive, and I didn’t really feel all that pulled in. There was no urgency to complete a level, though there was constant action. It certainly gives a twist to the classic arcade game, with its rogue-like features. When I first started playing, I was impressed with the beautiful background I was presented with, but once I realised it was used for the entire level, I was disappointed. It certainly isn’t to say “Don’t play it”, but it probably isn’t for the type of player that isn’t in the least bit nostalgic about the classic games of the Atari era.
– Gives a new spin on classic Atari games
– Brilliant music
– Repetitive gameplay.
Overall Score: 6 / 10