Nova Drift (Early Access)
Published by Pixeljam
Developed by Chimeric
Shoot, Upgrade, Survive. Deep space is cold and lonely… until you get swarm after swarm of invaders trying to take you down. Your persistence and resolve teach you more about your foes and give you the ability to take from them and make it your own. You start with just a small ship, thrusters, shield and a projectile launcher. Where you go from there is up to you. Those first three very normal words describe what you need to do in a game that can be addicting and enjoyable. Welcome to Nova Drift!
In this game, you are a lone pilot out in deep space there to survive wave after wave of boulders, ships, bosses and cosmic anomalies. Each advancing group gets more powerful, more numerous and much more dangerous. As you proceed you come across boosts that increase your level and gain the ability to alter your vehicle. First your weapon, then your shields, then your ship itself. After the first three initial upgrades, the variable upgrades open up wide for your choosing. The upgrade choices you can pick seems very roguelike and the game has been described as such and I would agree. Certain upgrades lead to unlocking a “super ability”, one that can bring a much more critical aspect to your survival.
The particular upgrades that show up can be changed with the help of a re-roll ability that you get a limited amount of throughout the game. If you don’t like what’s being offered, change it up! In my playthroughs of the game I’ve personally used it maybe 4 times total out of 100+ level ups. It definitely won’t hurt to try different things (like drones or short range weaponry) and see what works out best for you. A major unknown is how space will react near you, sometimes having comets fly through or even a singularity opening up and just swallowing everything in the vicinity, including you.
This game is still in Early Access with a lot upside coming. They have a fully realized roadmap to their full release and I say right now is still a great time to get into it. They are working on Phase 1 right now with work on the waves, enemies and different bosses. Some of the future work looks very rewarding including daily challenges and a bestiary to create a richer game. Thoughts that I have involving their evolution of the game would include an initial opening cinematic to create a backstory and possibly some variations on the enemies where they may be more venerable to projectiles but receive less damage from drones or your ally. They do have a Discord server and I hope that it could be used to help the developers get some flavor for their bestiary and more from the players.
Overall: Get this title! If you enjoy space shooters and the roguelike experience, this is a title for you. The upgrades give a great replay value and the future of the game leads to more in store for gamers.