So, to kick off a new series I’ve been planning for a while we’re going to see the first of the games I’m addicted to!
These articles will be a look at a game that is in development or that is already released that you may have heard of, or not!
Where I shall give my take on why it’s a ‘Game I’m Addicted To’! and just can’t put it down.
Ready? Engage engines!
Space Haven, just what is it?
Space Haven is a space survival/colony/ship construction/resource management/RPG.
It’s within the same vein as Rimworld, Oxygen not Included and other games like those.
It’s currently in early access and is on its Alpha 10 release. Despite it being an Alpha there is already a vast amount of content to get your teeth sunk in to. The premise of the game is that Earth has become unlivable, Humanity has ruined it to the point where millions upon millions are starving. Yet as a species we’ve managed to develop space-faring technology so an exodus from Earth happened, leaving people behind.
You take control of a ragtag crew with different skills that they are good or bad at. You get to build and design your own ship, placing all sorts of components and facilities inside it as you progress through the game. You’ll need to research new technologies and make decisions that can impact the long or short term survival of your crew.
You start the game not knowing how to grow your own food (Unless you’ve set an option up where everything is unlocked.) but if you have enough food in your stores do you prioritise research how to grow that food or do you pick the option to research better, more efficient engines? As your stores of Energium crystals are not the best.
While travelling through the randomly generated at start galaxy you’re in you jump into a system with two derelict vessels, you investigate the first. A small ship, yet straight out of the airlock you’re met with aliens! Bug like things your crew have to fight off to clear the derelict to salvage useful materials. You investigate the second, unlike the first this one is cold and empty. A large hole has blown out of the hull, who knows how long it’s drifted here, your crew enters a room and finds a cryosleep capsule. You open it and discover a surviving member of the derelict ship! They join your crew from then on but this puts an added strain on your food and oxygen supply and in turn your water supply which is needed to make that oxygen. Perhaps you better research how to grow food sooner than expected.
The game is all about decisions. Where do you think you need to go? That system with mineral-rich asteroids to mine, or perhaps you’ll have better luck in another where you know you have some goods to trade with a station and get what you need there. You’re salvaging a derelict vessel that has some supplies you desperately need but you detect some hostile pirates warping into the system, do you leave the derelict behind and flee? Hoping they won’t steal what you found so you can return later or do you think you can fight them off if it came to an engagement?
You’ll experience all of these and so much more when you play, the possibilities are endless.
So what’s all this about resource management?
At its core, the game is about survival until you find a new home for humanity.
To get there, you’re going to have to take stock of what you have and what you need. Priorities can change on the fly and accidents can happen. The game already has set in place a large number of resources that you can mine or trade (Or kill for!) Raw resources like Energium Crystals or Hyperium can fuel your basic power generator or engines but are very inefficient, yet through research, you can upgrade these items to better engines and power generation that use the refined forms of Energium or Hyperium. Great! You can now use better engines and such but you can’t make these things yourself yet so you’re going to have to rely on trade for energy rods and hyperfuel to keep you afloat until you can make them.
This is just one example of what sort of management you’ll be dealing with. Of course, the game has a lot more to worry about like medical supplies, food, weapons, construction materials and much more besides. The good thing is that eventually, you can research the tech to make all of these things yourself. But will your ship have the room to do so? Or will you have to pick and choose what you want to make, do you make solely what you need to survive or do you make more that you can use to barter with the other factions you bump in to?
Research and more Research
I’ve mentioned this a lot and you won’t get anywhere in the game without it, although it can be said that you can certainly try to challenge yourself!
Above is the research tree, green are things I’ve researched already, blue is yet to be researched. Yellow is ongoing and red needs pre-requisites to be selected for research.
Obviously, the game is still in development and much more will be added in future as well as refinements to what already exists. You’ll notice the image doesn’t show all the tree, at the top are weapons and shield research which are off-screen. Researching things takes time and the harder the project the longer it will take, a crew members research skill determines how often they’ll fail while doing their job so for advanced projects you really want your best person working on them.
Maybe having two research consoles will help you move along the tree quicker but then you’ll be taking two crew away from other jobs that might need doing. Another decision! Argh!
So what about your crew?
Your crew are probably the most important resource at your disposal, they’re responsible for doing everything. But they are Human after all and will need sleep and food and somewhere to take a crap.
You can’t control them directly most of the time as you set tasks and they fill them out on their own. However, the time when you can control them is when you draft them, doing so allows you to move them directly. You’ll be doing this to explore derelicts, moving your drafted crew in their spacesuits through the vessel and engaging any potential enemies you might come across and interacting with things you might find like left behind credits or data logs.
Data logs are little snippets of a story from other ships that came before you, the more logs you find the more story you’ll uncover of these individual crews and their exploits. As of now, I believe there is one data log chain that leads to an actual quest or discovery you can make within the galaxy.
The crew have three bars above their heads and in their portrait at the top of your screen, Health, Stamina and Oxygen. Health is what it says on the tin, if crew get injuries they’ll lose health and can even bleed out if the injury is serious enough and not treated. Naturally, if a members health reaches 0, they die. Well, at least you can still put them to use in the composter to make fertiliser or cut them up for food if your stores are low. (You wouldn’t do that though, would you?)
Stamina is a basic representation of how tired or exhausted your crew is, if the bar empties and you have them drafted they’ll fall unconscious (Serious injuries do this too!). Stamina is recovered by sleeping or being on the floor unconscious long enough for some of it to return so they can stagger back home.
Oxygen, the most important after health. Hazardous gases can obviously affect your crew’s ability to breathe and you’ll need to make sure you have enough oxygen on your ship. Spacesuits have a supply of oxygen that can be refilled at an airlock. But if they are too far from an airlock and run out then they’ll drop and need to be carried back or die in the worst case.
Each crew member also has a skill that they used to do back on Earth like cook, builder, e.t.c. Although these don’t have any in-game impact yet they will in future updates. The crew also have a trait that can affect them in their day to day lives. These can range from needing more social contact to being a minimalist and not complaining about having to eat on the floor. More will be added in future of course.
What would a space survival game be without Aliens?
At the moment there are only two types: Crawlers; Squat things that can only move through doors and on floors they can’t traverse open space. But they slash at the crew with their front claws and are relatively easy to put down.
Haulers; Larger floaty aliens with a giant eye, they’re tougher to take out and have a charge attack they can use from distance that’ll knock crew back and hurt them if it hits. I have seen them fly across small gaps in ships where the floor has been blown out but I don’t know if this was intentional or not!
So for now the alien presence is limited but is still a threat. If you’re unlucky while exploring a derelict you might find it has an alien nest on board. You’ll know if it does as you’ll see a veiny brown and red creep like substance sticking to the floor and walls. Generally, this means there are eggs too, you naturally want to take these out as soon as you can. As the two types of eggs can birth both Crawlers and Haulers.
Should your crew fall however and you don’t send rescue soon enough you’ll find them carted off to the alien nest and strung up on the wall for a nasty fate to befall them should you not rescue them in time!
I highly rate this game, it only didn’t receive a full 10 out of 10 due to it being in early access and there, of course, being some optimisation and UI issues and content to be added. Although that certainly isn’t to be held against it at all.
Out of the many hours I’ve put into it I’ve not encountered a single crash so far and the amount of content and replayability is already top-notch in my opinion.
It also has an amazing soundtrack that is constantly being added to and really adds to the mood of the game.
Space Haven is available on both GoG and Steam and I highly recommend a purchase and for you to join their active discord server!
Have fun, Spacefarers!