The galaxy is in chaos, Pirates and Cults roam space, looking for loot or ancient relics. But that’s all about to change. With the Spectre on my side and my ship, The Lawgeeker, we’ll bring order to this Rebel Galaxy.
Genre(s): Exploration | Simulation | Action
Developer Double Damage Games
Publisher: Double Damage Games
Release Date: October 2015
Played Full Story (and killed a Pirate Lord!)
When the game opens, your Aunt Juno leaves you a cryptic message about coming to find her, and left only her battered old ship behind for you to use. I named this ship The Geek of Law (as in The Book of Law), and with it I ventured into this violent galaxy, piecing together information from various sources to find Aunt Juno, rescue her and then focus on the Spectre, a strange artefact Juno left behind with some of her more colourful associates.
The story in Rebel Galaxy is told in three acts. The first is the discovery of what the Spectre is and finding Aunt Juno. Once Trell, the Spectre, reveals itself, you have to find the fragments of her reliquary, each holding some of her memories and vital information on the baddies. The third act is dealing with the poorly fleshed out villains. It’s shallow storytelling but the journey is pretty fun and the concept behind the Spectre is phenomenal, reminding me of ancient artefacts such as those in Knights of the Old Republic.
Most of the time in Rebel Galaxy you’ll be out exploring space or in space stations taking on missions, going to bars for meetings with characters, hiring mercenaries or talking to the local bartender for some information on juicy bounties. Depending on the ship you have—you can buy new ones for increasingly exorbitant prices—you’ll have a different number of slots for turrets, secondary weapons and components. The number of broadside canons will also change, though they will all use the broadside you have equipped at the time. You can also buy new engines, warp drives, sublight boosters, shields, deflectors (another layer of shielding you press a button to activate) and even plating. All of these come in several levels, from Mk1 to Mk6 by the end of the game. The choices on gear vary greatly from station to station, depending on their focus (militaristic, mining, leisure or simply impoverished) and the sector in space they’re in. Sectors act as zones in other games, with some sectors having tougher opponents. For me, I focused on survivability first, so I always went for shields and hull before upgrading the weapons, and I loved how much a difference an upgrade makes. They fell worthwhile for the price you’re paying.
The sectors and stations make up the economy of Rebel Galaxy and it’s pretty intriguing how it works. Each station imports and exports materials, and you can buy or sell them in the Commodities Market. The market also tells you where these items come from, where they import them from or export to, so you can hunt down the point of origin, buy them on the cheap side and then sell them off for higher value. But much like in our world, the markets can shift, and so will values on commodities. I once tried to play the market game, doing as I described above, but while I made some money, it just took too long. So I switched to missions and mining, blasting asteroids to find resources.
Missions are the main source of income—and as part of my Lawful Geek roleplay, I refused to do any mission that benefitted pirates and criminals—and you’ll often get items for the market from containers dropped by enemies. Missions, you’ll discover soon enough, are repeatable if you go through enough of them. At first, you’ll get the feeling you’re actually making a difference in the galaxy, but the moment you see the same missions pop up again, that will quickly change and I found myself disappointed. I do have to say that just like The Witcher 3, escort missions in Rebel Galaxy are actually good and your charges will defend themselves.
Combat in Rebel Galaxy is phenomenal. If you’ve ever enjoyed Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly or any other space-faring adventure, you’ll dig the combat. You can set your secondary weapons to behave how you want them to, but I had them set to automatic, so the moment I targeted an enemy vessel, my laser and missile turrets fired on them, giving me time to charge and aim my broadsides to take them out. Ships you fight follow the same rules as you do. Attacks first have to go through the ship’s shields and then the hull before causing critical damage to systems, disabling some of them and then making your ship go kaboom. At the start of the game, with poor hull, shielding and weaponry, fights can drag on, but by the end of the game I was taking down destroyers, capital ships and Super-Dreadnoughts! Nothing makes you feel more badass than taking down a capital ship with another that is perhaps a quarter of its size.
The cool thing about ships in Rebel Galaxy i that nothing forces you to buy new ships, as long as you have high-level equipment, you can survive on your original rust-bucket. In my case, the third ship on the list was all I was looking for in size and looks, so I got it and stuck with it, naming it The Lawgeeker (as in Lawkeeper). My only complaint is that you can’t customise its look. With my Lawful Good roleplay, I wanted to give it a Paladin look, white with gold highlights, but I had to do with the black/grey and red.
If you lose a battle, the game sends you back to the title screen and when you reload, it’ll send you to the last station you visited. Docking is the game’s saving method, which gets tiresome with some of the long travels you have to do, even with warp drives engaged. If you die before you dock, it’s back to zero. A manual save option, or even a quicksave would’ve done wonders for the game.
When you travel through space, your warp drive will disengage automatically near enemies or big objects. For some reason, I kept running into both, making my trips extra-long. But that’s just my rubbish luck.
The visuals in space, and of ships are outstanding. I’ve taking so many screenshots near a sun or a nebula, because they’re amazing sights. Even flying through the emptiness of space is wonderful. Particle and lighting effects do wonders for the battles, making them feel hectic and adrenaline-filled.
But nothing, nothing, can match the awesomeness of the Rebel Galaxy soundtrack. It has rock, country rock, and just pure country in space-faring adventure. I felt like singing the Ballad of Serenity every second. I was living my space-rogue dreams. Fighting pirates with the soundtrack on was outstanding. Best of all, if you get tired of the music—which might mean you have problems—you can set an alternate music folder for it to play during the game, a feature I haven’t seen in videogames for a long, long time.
Rebel Galaxy is an amazing game and one I’ll keep playing for a long time. It’s got its flaws sure, but it’s the best space-faring game out there. It’s fun, exciting and complex and I will not rest until I’ve brought peace to the galaxy aboard the Lawgeeker!
4.5/5 – Amazing!