If all you’ve seen of Space Punks is the trailer, then you’ll likely have noticed it has more than a little bit in common with Borderlands. It’s got a slick style, the world is a little bit light-hearted, and there are four classes to choose from. However, rather than it being an FPS, it’s more of a twin-stick shooter; it’s also far less egregious when it comes to the writing (Borderlands 3 had terrible writing), and will eventually be free-to-play too.
As it stands, the game is in Early Access, and you can also only play it if you buy one of the cosmetic packs that are available, which is probably a good thing, because it gives the developers time to mess about with how everything works, and also make sure the servers can survive.
Space Punks Early Access: A New Contender For The Loot Shooter Throne?
So, as it stands, you play as one of four characters, each with different strengths and special abilities, who has to go out into the universe and kill lots of enemies for reasons. You’ll be fighting a lot of fodder in Space Punks, so it’s a good job that most of the combat actually feels pretty good. I’ve messed about with every weapon type I’ve found so far, and I like them all for different situations.
It’s not just ranged attacks either, although that’s definitely a large part of it. You’ll have to get used to the melee combat as well, because you’ll often end up swarmed by more enemies than your gun can handle. The melee side of things is basically a simple matter of button-mashing and the occasional dodge, but it feels good enough to carry you through most of the missions, or has for me so far, anyway.
That’s the same with every character, although the dodges look different, which is nice. The differences show themselves when you start unlocking your abilities though. Take Eris for example, who is a nanobot-infused cyborg. She can shoot out waves of nanobots that hold things in place and sprout huge scythes from her back to help her out with melee combat. Each character has its own array of abilities, and then you can further customise them with the help of the absolutely massive talent tree too, which provides all of your passive buffs.
The missions you’ll have to use these abilities in range from protecting things to destroying things, but the long and short of both is that you’ll have to kill a lot of mobs along the way. The scenery in which you’ll be fighting tends to be interesting enough, and the music absolutely slaps most of the time too.
You’ll even unlock special game modes like competing with other players as you build up your fame, so there’s a fair amount to do here even though it is in Early Access. It’s entertaining enough, and my only issues with the game come from the speed of the servers, and the fact that I can never seem to find a party to adventure with. Space Punks is definitely a game that’s going to benefit from being played with friends, but the fact that it’s not free-to-play yet means it’s more of an investment than many want to make.
It’s a shame, because I am having fun with Space Punks. The mindless violence and satisfying special abilities keep it fun, and levelling up has a good pace, so you’re always one or two missions away from your next talent point. I’m still going to keep playing the game for now, but there’s a large chance I’ll end up dropping it until it goes full free-to-play, because then I’ll be able to get my mates involved, and that’s definitely where the party is.