Hardspace: Shipbraker is a game taking us into space and its confines to disassemble vessels. To be taken as a puzzle game, reflection is required throughout the epic.
Space, this infinite playground where everything is possible. Traveling in hyperspace, repelling a civilization with malevolent intentions or even being a space scrapper are all possibilities offered by our media. Fortunately, Hardspace: Shipbreaker is there to put you in the shoes of a lowly employee whose sole purpose is to debone space carcasses.
The scenario is far from being the central interest of the title. Far from there. To make it short, your application for the position of scrap metal worker within the Lynx company has been accepted. Neither one nor two, you accept the job. From then on, your carnal envelope will no longer be used and your soul, or rather all the data concerning you, will be transmitted to a new body. Death being thus only a simple information.
But all of this comes at a cost. Indeed, Lynx has advanced the costs concerning your operation, your transport in space or your food and as you can imagine, you have to pay it. So you leave with a colossal debt of several billions. To repay it, nothing could be simpler, you have to work. Hard work will be the reward of your freedom. However, the more you die, the more you increase the expenses.
Work is health
But tell me Jamy. Space junkyard, what is it? It’s quite simple. Our day-to-day consists of skinning vessels and recovering materials. Said materials must then be routed in the correct container or risk not earning money.
The gameplay mechanics are interesting although redundant in the long run. Indeed, at the start you need to master your internal equipment. The handling of your jet-pack and its movements should have no secrets for you. Knowing how to move from left to right or to brake are all important mechanics. In addition, it is necessary to add the handling of the grapple and the laser cutter to have the perfect panoply of the small scrap dealer. Once all this has been acquired, all that remains is to get to work.
We start small with vessels of normal sizes to be deboned, it will then become more difficult with increasingly large sizes. In addition to having to cut the vessels from the inside, it will be necessary to pay attention to the cores or to the various explosive substances having the consequence of killing us, but also of making us lose precious credits.
To visualize the central points of the wrecks, a scanner is present and usable at any time. It is then up to us to carefully analyze the important parts to be cut without damaging the carcass.
Ships are procedurally generated. Normally they should all be different, however this is not always the case. At least there are common patterns and it seems to go around in circles after a while.
Despite all this, the gameplay mechanics offered by Hardspace evolve as we progress. This obviously involves improving our equipment such as the grapple, the laser cutter or our CO2 reserve.
Hardspace Shipbreaker: Groundhog Day
Hardspace: Shipbreaker offers a slow and soothing experience. Lo-fi country music accompanies us in our daily tasks. Above all, we must design the title as a big giant puzzle where thoroughness and reflection will be the key to our success.
Don’t expect a spellbinding adventure, far from it. No surprises at the rendezvous. We are accompanied by hours of dialogue and it stops there. No reversal of the situation is to be expected. The only source of exaltation lies in the repayment of debt.
The developers still had the good idea to add variants in the game modes. One of them allows us to be free and without time constraints to do the dirty work, while another will be timed and offers only one and only life. At the risk of starting over.
In short, Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a bewitching title where your patience is put to the test, the puzzle side is interesting, but this one lacks ambition when it comes to the adventure itself. The title quickly shows its limits even if it is difficult to sulk its pleasure.