Can you believe that we’re already nearing the end of the year’s first month? Where the hell does time go? Though, what a start to the year it’s been, right? We’ve seen some stellar titles landing, and plenty more yet to come. Whether you’re fighting the hordes of the undead in Resident Evil 2, taking to the lush worlds of Kingdom Hearts III, or looking forward to the devastation that awaits you in the likes of Metro Exodus and Far Cry New Dawn, it’s hard to grumble at Q1 so far. That said, there’s one title that certainly deserves your attention.
Genesis Alpha One. Developed by Radiation Blue and published by Team17, Genesis Alpha One is one hell of a roguelike experience that achieves greatness through its sheer diversity and nonstop tension. In case you missed it, the game launched today (trailer) to a very respectable reception. The game is set sometime in the near future, in which pollution and war have devastated humankind. In an effort to save humanity, large corporations have banded together to create the titular Genesis program. That’s precisely where you come in.
As Captain of a Genesis starship, your goal is to find new homes for humanity to survive on. What follows suit is a careful mixture of roguelike shooting, base building mechanics, and survival elements, all pulled together to produce a widely compelling foundation. Don’t let that scare you off. Genesis Alpha One has been subject to a shed load of usability sessions to ensure that it’s initially welcoming, and not too restrained. The bottom line here? Newcomers and genre veterans alike will find a lot of value and fun to be had in the game.
So, what sets this game apart from its peers? It’s actually fairly difficult to judge it alongside anything else, simply because of how unique Genesis Alpha One is. The crux of play sees you building and managing a space vessel, farming all important resources, visiting planets to mine and look for ancient technologies, dealing with alien threats, and cloning new members for your crew. That, all takes place within the confines of a vast, randomly generated universe. What’s most impressive is how well these systems feed into one another.
Life in Genesis Alpha One is charted through your clones. That is to say that, so long as you have crew, you have lives to pull from should your current Captain die. The kicker? You can use the alien species that you kill to your advantage. The way this works is that you can collect samples of their DNA and use these to make different types of clones who may be more susceptible to survive on your chosen genesis candidate planet. This system circles back round into the ship building system, which you’ll witness throughout natural play.
When you start expanding your ship, there’s a module that you can build known as the biotank. This is where biomass DNA is stored when you collect the aforementioned samples. Once you’ve amounted enough here, you can then build a clone lab that allows you to experiment with different types of clones; complete with their own unique pros and cons. Things only expand further from there on out. The more you play, the more you’ll locate and unlock; artefacts, blue prints for weaponry and modules, and much, much more.
These carry over through successive runs, giving you instant access to the benefits of your previous attempts. Ship modules include the likes of greenhouses, reactors, refineries, tractor beams, hanger bays, crew quarters and a host of other useful tidbits. Though, given the constant threat that looms dominantly throughout, defense is key. Alien infestation is a very dangerous component of play, and there’s no shortage of ways in which you can tackle it. Though, that said, these lifeforms all have their own distinct strengths and weaknesses.
You’ll need to ensure that you build a craft that’s manageable, and resilient, and preferably stuffed with defense turrets. Whether you build a mile-long ship or a ship with multiple levels and twists and turns, is on you. The game’s shooting elements are fast-paced and remarkably fluid. Though, with developers that are pretty big fans of both Doom and Quake, that comes as little surprise. The developer suggests that this offers a change of pace in between shipbuilding, cloning and farming procedures, to which it most certainly achieves.
Naturally, as alluded to above, resources are your best friend. You cant really do much at all without them. Thankfully, the game’s well balanced systems plug together nicely, giving the player a constant influx of varying things to do; the previously alluded to shooting, building, exploration, and so forth. Farming resources can be fulfilled via beaming space debris, or visiting a planet’s dangerous surface. Though be warned, hostiles, even pirates, will prey on you if you don’t watch you six at all times. If anything, Genesis Alpha One is a tension-fueled game that rarely loses its grip.
It’s a game in which opportunity is equal to derailment, constantly relaying a risk-vs-reward vibe. The game’s random generation makes sure that you’ll never, or very unlikely, be witnessing the same play-through twice, meaning that you can never truly know what’s in store for you. Plus, the developers plan to feed the pool of Genesis’ random elements, such as aliens, ship building blueprints, resources or planets, with new content, even after launch with updates. It’s safe to say that Genesis Alpha One is an experience that’s built to last.
That being said, death in Genesis Alpha One is permanent when you run out of crew. It’s a high risk, yes, but the payoff you feel when you successfully nail a good run, is like no other. Don’t take my word for it, we’ve had our very own Joe working on the game for a while. You can check out our high scoring review of the game right here. It’s available now on the Xbox Store for the fair price of £24.99/$29.99. If you like the sound of an interstellar adventure that has as much depth as it has variation, be sure to consider picking this up.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.