Some games actively require you to pay attention to a thousand different moving parts. And sometimes, those games will drive you directly to heart palpitations. Hardspace: Shipbreaker is not one of those games. For me, it is a puzzle game that includes lasers, cutting, and the zen that comes from floating in three dimensional space.
Each level is a ship, and each ship needs to be split apart and either incinerated or sent in for recycling. With that, each level has requirements you need to meet to ‘pass’. Failure means that body dies, and you get to start again. Because you owe LYNX (the fictional corporation in the world) a boatload of money, and death as an escape would just be too easy.
The game has multiple difficulty levels (from “take your time” to “you have little oxygen and no clones”) and modes. The career mode is pretty well laid out and the voice acting is good. All of this just prepares you for the task of cutting and floating and getting the right stuff in the right place.
At it’s heart, Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a physics puzzle game. They hand you a ship, you have a cutter that, predictably, cuts, and a grapple gun that you can use to fling things, directly or indirectly, into one of two pertinent holes or the Barge.
The trouble comes from the ship itself. Some things can’t be cut, so you have to cut around them. Other things have heavy mass, and if science has taught us anything it’s that little thing can’t easily move big thing. The grapple gun has a cool mechanic for that – attaching one grapple to the object and the other to a different object will pull them together a lot better than you can, trying to use your tiny human meat mass.
Oh, and there’s pressurization and explodey stuff. Learning how to navigate a pressurized environment is pretty much how I lost a few of my lives. And dealing with space inertia and full 3d spinning, in slow motion.
I think the game is really fun. The controls play relatively well, the graphics are nice, the puzzles themselves allow for immense creativity and you are really getting what you pay for in content. Career mode, free play and weekly leaderboard challenges are already here, and the developers are actively putting together new bug fixes and new things to do. And for $25 USD (as of this post), I think your money would be well spent if you like space games, cutting things and physics.
A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review but it was already on my list anyway, and Anjelus is pretty much permanent Santa.