Hands-On: Habitat

Habitat is about space junk. Deadly space junk at that… well, a fair portion of it is. You take a nice space shuttle full of humans looking to survive in outer space, and then you strap a variety of recognisably human-related objects together and hope for the best.

It’s only recently hit early access and is sitting on version 0.1 which, understandably, isn’t very close to being feature complete. What is in the game is the strapping stuff together and the blowing stuff apart, which is the meat and potatoes of the game.

This is one of my own ships if you were wondering.

I began with jumping in and strapping the closest objects to my craft. A couple of booster rockets here, a tank there and a weaponised T-Rex head (it shoots flames). Rockets and a few weapons – at least the tank – emit force in a certain direction, meaning that if you use the tank a few times you might end up spinning your craft around accidentally. After gaining my bearings again I added a laser next to the T-Rex head, after all, keeping all your weapons on one wing of your raft is a clever idea. I also added a few explosive devices because I wanted to strap many objects to myself, and they were within a fair distance.

Explosive devices attached to your person or your home is never a particularly good thing. Needless to say they exploded; the manner in which they did however was somewhat more surprising. I was just piloting my ramshackle spacecraft through debris fields, accumulating extra bulk, when BOOM! An explosive device detonated and sent fragments of my ship across the screen and into distant space. Not sure of what happened, I continued on. Another piece of my ship seemed to scrape off.

Turns out, ploughing your ship into objects deals damage; who’d of thunk it? It’s not immediately evident that it does but once you see parts swaying back on their connectors like palm trees in a hurricane, you generally have an idea as to what’s going on. I carried on with that iteration of my spaceship for a while, then I got bored – and blew it up by strategically attaching weapons so that I could dissect my own ship.

My next few playthroughs had me doing more of the same ramshackle crafts, but with the added benefit of learning that multiple connectors help to reduce strain on parts when they are hit. I was also beginning to learn to pilot the ship with multiple thrusters a little more easily but, as with all good things, they came to an end.

There are a few enemies within the game at the moment but they aren’t particularly fun to play against at the moment. The space stations (that aren’t all that dissimilar to your craft) will normally have a few weapons attached to them, including those that are simply far better than yours such as turret emplacements. Some are particularly easy to defeat, but others feel more difficult if you hit them with force because it only sends them hurtling off into the distance, prolonging the already tedious battle.

The other type is the wandering clouds of nanomachines. All they currently do is fire things at you and swarm over your craft; it gives you very little to do in terms of retaliation once they are upon you. You can kill them, but you get very little feedback on whether you are doing anything to them. I was lucky with my first encounter and I think it destroyed itself on me. It wasn’t a particularly interesting battle though, just confusing.

It’s difficult to say whether this is going anywhere once more features are added; because what is there already is undeniably an interesting idea, but there isn’t really enough to keep you entertained at the moment. It’s version 0.1 so you can hardly expect much, but once you have played for 15 minutes or so it’s hard to justify replaying what’s there as it’ll pretty much be exactly the same. Most of my time was spent moving between fields of space junk and waiting for engineers to pull the objects close enough to attach them. Until there is more to it than that, I couldn’t recommend buying it.

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Written by Sean P

I enjoy playing games and I enjoy writing things, so I decided to combine the two. I do bits here and there and have a twitter that mainly just announces things I've done as my life revolves around very little that is truly interesting.

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