Interstellar Rift is a promising new multiplayer, open-world starship simulator from Netherlands based indie studio Split Polygon. The game is still in early development so there are a couple of bugs and a lot of features have yet to be implemented, the content available though still makes for a very solid experience.
Whether playing solo or with friends, players find themselves on quite a lonely, but impressive looking little space station with very little indication of where to go or what to do. While most systems are inoperable when you first arrive you can work out fairly quickly that you have only two options; build a ship or teleport to a mining station to harvest materials from meteorites. Customisation is the main aspect that players can explore in the current build of the game. You can build anything from a small exploration ship to an enormous starship as long as you have enough parts and resources to power them. In fact I can already picture people trying to construct perfect replicas of the U.S.S Enterprise and Firefly’s Serenity.
The ship building aspect is a very robust system allowing you to construct the internal layout before moving on to the exterior. One thing to note before getting into construction is that there’s quite a difference between interior and exterior design. The interiors look gorgeous with a high quality finish and the exteriors feeling very drab and blocky. At the moment there is a short help menu to cover how to move and place objects however there’s no tutorials for the basic ship construction. This can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers to this type of game. Some is fairly understandable like building a hydrogen tank to power a hydrogen generator but working with different power grids to operate certain systems is a little more complex. For example I found myself in a situation where I was on a ship with my power-grids all hooked up incorrectly, no teleporter to escape and that feeling of “you’re a complete idiot” floating through my head as I slowly choked to death.
Before construction of your first ship you’ll first need to acquire resources to build and power it, bringing us to the only other element of the game that can be tested so far. You do this by first teleporting from the central space station hub over to the mining station. This facility stores asteroids that can be mined for valuable resources such as water and metal ores which then go onto create copper, iron, hydrogen and oxygen. Metals construct your flying machines, hydrogen fuels/powers them and oxygen…well do I really need to explain what that’s for? These tasks at first feel rather slow and mundane but it keeps you active as you’re running from place to place checking on the different processing elements. As the development goes on we’ll also see more to this process as it’ll run smoother with automated processes put in place and more elements to utilise.
So beyond mining meteorites and building starships what else does this game offer? Well at this current stage that’s about it. What is actually available is very strong but it’s hard to see where the actual gameplay is other than repetitively collecting resources to build more ships to mine more ore. That being said this is more just a taster of what’s to come as, from what the developers are saying, they are looking to throw in exterior and interior space combat, derelict ship looting, character customisation and enhancements to what is currently in game.
As it stands recommending Interstellar Rift in its current state is a little awkward as all you’re really getting is a robust ship builder. However you have to think more along the lines of what this game can be, think of it more as a future investment. If the developers can successfully implement everything they’re claiming to then this could be a great space-sim experience.
This preview is based off an early access code of Interstellar Rift provided by Split Polygon.
This preview was originally published on the site GamersFTW which unfortunately has now been taken down. It’s been published on my personal blog, DanielVaughanReviews, out of respect for the developers/publishers that were kind enough to give me review copy of their game.