Beyond No Man’s Sky -Empyrion Galactic Survival Preview

Empyrion: Galactic Survival is an early access survival sim. It’s a saturated genre, but there are some really cool things that Empyrion features that distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack. Good or bad, the game has been compared to No Man Sky for the fact that you can craft space ships to travel to other planets or explore space in general. Counter to the AAA flop, Empyrion features comprehensive base building mechanics, so particularly lovely planets can become home instead of just another trip to gather resources.

Empyrion starts with your character careening towards the humble planet you’ve opted to start your adventure on. I picked a comfortable forest planet, but their are more hostile and toxic planets available.  After crashing, your escape pod has the basic materials you’ll need to start surviving. I liked having ample supplies to start off with. These basic materials even included  a rideable motorcycle! I really enjoyed trolling around it, and it helps being able to explore planets quickly.

Sweet bike, Bro!

Sweet bike, Bro!

Just like every other survival sim, gathering resources is an essential chore. The difference in Empyrion is that ore deposits will highlighted for you when you are nearby. The radius of this is quite generous popping up when the deposits are as far as 500 meters away. Getting these ore resources seems more interesting to me than other games as well. Part of your survival kit is a proper drill  allowing you to quickly burrow underground. Other tools given I enjoyed was the Warhammer inspired chainsaw, and a terraforming tool.  The terraforming tools is mostly used to flatten land for base creation, but I did have some fun trying to build a land bridge across a lake like I was an outer space Moses.

A small copper mine I created

A small copper mine I created

Enemies within the game are a bit strange and feel as if they were pulled from a grab bag of video games. I encountered roaming packs of Raptors,  primitive aliens known as Guardians, and a Green slime which comically seemed inspired by a elementary school drawing. Once a player develops a base, waves of  aerial drones will occasionally attack as well. It’s a new wrinkle on the survival genre which I thought was interesting, making base defense actually matter.

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The green slime makes me giggle

Most of the complexity of Empyrion comes from the crafting and building. The tutorial is pretty good at detailing what you need to do eighty percent of the time, but I still found myself having to browse the Empyrion wiki to fill some details. If I had to find a general fault with my time in Empyrion, its that some things just aren’t explained at all to players . I build my entire base in open air before I discovered how to craft and modify walls.  I had a similar problem when trying  to craft a space shuttle for myself. Despite, completing everything within the tutorial for building a ship, I was never able to get the thing to actually fly. Empyrion is currently in alpha, so there’s a chance tutorials and mechanics will be fleshed out better down the road.

She may not look like much kid but....yeah it's a piece of junk.

She may not look like much kid but….yeah it’s a piece of junk.

If you like crafting systems, Empyrion as tons to offer.  The complexity of the crafting system boggled my mind at times. When crafting you can dump resources into a general storage area that is then automatically pulled from to craft items. Crafting items have construction times, but you can queue up multiple items similar to build orders in an RTS. Despite these time saving measures, I did find myself spending time watching construction timers which isn’t too much fun.

You'll spend a lot of time in the crafting menu

You’ll spend a lot of time in the crafting menu

There is online play that I didn’t even attempt due to my own incompetency. Players have the ability to rent servers if they want to set up their own private games with friends without having to worry about PVP griefers. This seemed to be a popular feature as most the servers in the browser were locked by passwords.

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Overall, Empyrion seems like it could be a worthy survival sim for players that enjoy a higher level of crafting and complexity. There is no hard full release yet, but if developers Eleon Game Studios stick to their statements on the Steam page it should be hitting Summer 2017. If you can’t wait till then you can grab it on Steam now!

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