Take an action RPG like Diablo, make it a twin-stick shooter, and then add lashings of humour; the result is Space Punks.
Developed by Flying Wild Hog’s Krakow team and published by Jagex Partners, whose ethos is ‘living games’, Space Punks is envisaged to be exactly that – a living game. When it eventually launches out of early access it will be free-to-play, and as a live service action RPG it will develop and grow over time, keeping players engaged.
Early access for Space Punks begins tomorrow, 14th July, and the game will be available exclusively on the Epic Games Store for a period of one year. After that it will also be available on Steam, and a console release is planned for 2022 too.
If you want to play Space Punks during its early access period there are multiple ways to do so. One of them is to keep an eye on social media, such as the official Space Punks Twitter – key giveaways may occur, allowing you to get in on the action. If you’d rather not wait or play a game of chance, however, you can buy access via one of two founders packs.
The Founders Swag Pack gives you early access to Space Punks, including all four available characters, the Season 1 Battle Pass, and some exclusive items. It costs £21.99. If you don’t mind spending a bit more you can get the Founders Splendour Pack instead, which includes everything included in the Founders Swag Pack plus premium skins for the four characters and 25 tier skips for the Battle Pass. That costs £34.99.
Th four characters featured in Space Punks from the outset are Duke, a human who wants to be famous… and loved; Eris, the leader of the group who like to keep her distance and make fun of the others; Finn, a humanoid hog who dreams of retiring and becoming a farmer – once he’s discovered his origins; and Bob, a bug-like creature who wants to earn enough money to visit Earth.
Each character has their own special skills, and they have synergies which alter their properties when playing alongside certain other characters. Each character also has a talent tree on which to spend points; they’re rather large, and offer passive bonuses and a whole lot more. The primary way of powering up your character, however, is finding and equipping better loot. A character’s level determines the gear that they can equip, and of course, the higher the level, the more powerful the gear is.
While Space Punks can be played solo (an internet connection is still required), it’s designed with co-op in mind. As previously mentioned, skills have synergies, making them more versatile when other characters are near, and when working as a team you can formulate more effective strategies to overcome powerful enemies. It’s helpful being able to revive each other, too. More to the point, more players equals more chaos, and that ultimately means more fun.
Rather than being open-world, missions are accepted from a hub area – there are multiple planets, and various difficulty levels to attempt each mission on. To make replaying missions worthwhile, there are also random bonus objectives – completing them will earn you more loot. And speaking of loot, it’s generally doled out at the end of a mission, keeping the focus on the action until you’re done. No-one likes waiting around for others to fiddle with their inventory, do they?
Back at the hub you can check your character’s stats, equip and modify gear, and more. There’s even a crafting system, allowing you to create items that cater to your specific needs. You’ll need the materials to do so, of course.
The action itself is fast-paced and a lot of fun. Primarily focused on gunplay, you attempt to keep hordes of enemies at bay with your ranged weapons of choice but have access to a melee attack if they get too close for comfort. There are, of course, also skills to use, as well as gadgets and grenades, and they have a variety of applications. There’s seemingly not a massive range of skills to unlock, á la Diablo, however, so build options might be limited further down the line which could be an issue. I guess we’ll see once we’ve put much more time into the game.
So, should you buy early access to Space Punks? If you like action RPGs and looter shooters then probably, yes. It already seems fairly polished, and is genuinely fun to play, especially with others. As ever though, being in early access means it’s not a complete experience, and who knows if your progress will be carried over to the full game. If that’s an issue for you, maybe hold off. One thing’s for certain though: Space Punks is certainly worth keeping your eye on.
Space Punks enters early access exclusively on the Epic Games Store on 14th July.