I really feel like I would be a horrible spaceman. The thought of the cold, seemingly endless space is really nervewracking to me. I guess it’s a bit of irrational fear, but the thought of being in space freaks me out. Because of this, games set in space keep me on the edge of my seat. Genesis Alpha One is no exception. It’s not a perfect game, but the use of a variety of genres works together to make an interesting space simulation.
Genesis Alpha One starts off like your typical sci-fi story. The future’s looking bleak. The Earth is being overwhelmed by wars, corrupt governments, and resources are running out. The Earth has pretty much become uninhabitable. Several corporations have become involved in last-ditch effort to recolonize somewhere in the galaxy. Your task, as a representative for one of the corporations, is to build a ship that can sustain life, harvest resources, and find a suitable planet to colonize.
With this premise, you begin your adventure in deep space. The game is a roguelike, which means each adventure brings you to different planets and galaxies full of resources and danger. To survive, you must build up your ship. The shipbuilding is pretty straightforward, in that you needed specific sections of the ship in order to complete your mission. You need a clone lab to clone your crew (more on that in a little bit). A tractor beam is needed to haul in space debris and mine resources. Don’t forget about a hanger, crews quarters, various workshops…the list goes on. But all of them are needed to reach your goal.
The construction is simple, but the navigation can be tricky in Genesis. It’s a little challenging navigating the menus. The look of the menus is awesome, but it takes some time to get used to where everything is located. Imagine what the computer screens looked like in the Alien franchise. It’s supposed to be set in the future, but the text and graphics on the screen look like something from an early 90’s computer. I loved the look of the menus, but navigating is challenging. You will most likely get used to it as you replay and practice the game.
In order to construct your ship, you need valuable resources. There are a few ways to get them. You can assign crew members to the tractor beam and pull in debris with the resources you need. Or you can use the hanger to visit planets with the resources you need. You can assign crew members to automatically do these tasks, but doing so may not be so beneficial. The crew is not intuitive, in that they will quickly change what resource to find. You will most likely manually select which resource to find every time you want to build something. This can be tedious, but it will be the most efficient way to get the resources you need.
And the challenge doesn’t end there. With space, there is a ton of uncertainty and plenty of danger all around you. You may have pirates that try and board your ship and wreak havoc. But the main culprit that ruined my beautiful ship was the aliens. One of my first disasters occurred right after my first visit to an alien planet. The shuttle’s turrets did a pretty good job of clearing out little alien spiders, and I easily dispatched a few with my rifle. But as I initiated the launch back to the ship, I realized that I didn’t do a good job of clearing out the shuttle. An alien had snuck on board!
The minute I returned to the ship, I realized that things went to hell in a hurry. I was losing power to my modules, and I was losing sections of the ship. Eventually, I lost a section of the ship I was defending and I died. Whenever you die, a crew member is immediately promoted to captain, so I was able to continue the scenario. But the damage had been done. As I tried to spacewalk to broken parts of the ship, I realized that hope was lost due to aliens laying eggs and hatching way too many bugs for me to fight.
I learned a lot of things that helped me improve, and that is the beauty of this game. The beginning is a lot of trial and error. It made me think about the placements of modules to the ship. I had to look at placing a lot of defensive turrets before leaving to an alien planet. I constantly thought about which crew member should work where, and when I need to clone crewmembers. If anything, Genesis Alpha One gave me a sense of what a space ship would actually be like. It’s not glamorous, but routine and forward thinking will save the day. And as you get better, then you will be able to improve your ship and weapons. You will even infuse alien DNA to make your crew better suited for survival.
The game won’t blow your socks off in the graphics department, but there are subtle designs that really worked for me. As I mentioned above, the retro feel of the menus and terminals tugged at my nostalgia strings. And the synthesizers in the rocking soundtrack really hit home for me. With an expanded budget, the graphics could have been stunning. But it works for this game.
Genesis Alpha One isn’t perfect. There are things I wish it would change, like adding a deeper story, adjusting the menus, and bumping up the AI so they can do a better job of running things by themselves. While the game isn’t glamorous, it is addicting and rewarding, especially when you have the perfect setup and routine that ensures your survival. Genesis has something for everyone, including fans of FPS games, simulation/building, and survival genres. And for $29.99, it’s a great price point for a game with lots of content.
Note: GameOctane editor Ryan Welch received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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Good mix of FPS, building/simulation, roguelike genres
Funky soundtrack and menus
Challenging, but rewarding after practice
Menus are hard to navigate
Lack of a deep story
Weak crew AI
Difficult to master at first