(Review) 3030 Deathwar Redux

I’m still not very sure what to make of the name 3030 Deathwar Redux. It seems a bit over-the-top, but then again, when I was dabbling in-game development (I’m still futzying…), I had over-the-top names as well because it made me smile to names games the way I did. If I had to characterize it though… I’d say it’s akin to a space-life simulation game whose name I can’t remember (but I had it on floppy disk back in the day) and Skyrim. There’s a good amount of things to do, places to go, quests to undertake, but I just go around doing whatever I find fun at the time. I’m a little split on this title, but let me break the game down for you. (Floppy disk is a thing, look it up.)

Don’t fly into suns. It’s not a great idea… just saying.

Let’s start this off with the different things you can do because everyone can see that the game is done with some amazing pixel art. If you can watch any bit of it, you’ll know that the music (by The Kyoto Connection) is also pretty freaking awesome to boot. So what can you do? You can kill pirates, you can be a pirate, loot derelicts, be a space taxi/mailman, a photographer of people and planets and be a space debris destroyer. There’s a lot of individual things to do and if you pick the right jobs, you can knock a few things out efficiently as you traverse the stars and stop at planets as you go along. You’ll probably need to do that anyway since you’ll be low on gas… especially if you fly through those pesky reddish nebulas of “slow you down-ness”.

There’s a lot of things to read on the screen. Turns out that flying through nebulas doesn’t just slow you down, but it also hurts.

You get jobs at space stations and the only thing you’ll really need here is a translator, a tractor beam and a weapon for certain quests. As soon as you’ve got those, you’re gold (mostly gold). After that, you can start picking up what you can. You’ve at least got a ship with extra chairs. You can take people and things to different stations. The bigger the ship, the more people and stuff you can carry around to make more money. Every time you drop something or somebody off, make sure to check for new jobs because there may be another person going to where you’re going next and that’s just easy money. Along the same lines as taking people and things is picking up packages in space. You’ll need a tractor beam (which is fairly cheap) and it’s the same story of going somewhere and then somewhere else. It does get a little repetitive, but if you keep checking the job postings, it makes it feel like a more active space-job sim. (Gottah min/max your revenue stream!)

So many places to go and see.

In all of the systems that you’ll visit, you’ll notice some grey dots on your map. (“C” on the keyboard opens up a map overlay and that’s sweet!) Those are the derelicts I mentioned above. Drive up to one after another and you’ll depart your ship with a flashlight and a shooty-gun that seems to fire an unlimited supply of explosive ammo with an awkward eight directional pattern. I mention that because you’ll come across some things that will not want you exploring some of the junk heaps and you’ll have to kill them. The thing is that the animations of your character only let you shoot in the cardinal and intermediate directions which means you’ll need to line up your shots a little better than just shooting all willy-nilly. Either way, move around picking up space junk that will hopefully be expensive. One benefit of doing this is you can get a decent amount of extra fuel to fill up your tank without paying a dime (not that it’s really that expensive to start with). They call this the “quick cash” approach, but that doesn’t mean it lucrative. The courier stuff mentioned above is far more easier, but a little less neat and enjoyable. I find that crawling through space derelicts is much more engaging.

Sneaky sneaky… what’s around the corner? A case full of cash! WooHoo!

While your picking things up off of the derelicts, you may notice something else on your radar. You’re not the only interested in these heaps of metal. Red blips on your radar may start showing up… those would be the pirates. You can do one of two things: run or fight. If you don’t have a gun, I’d recommend running. If you do have a gun, hopefully you don’t have any jobs currently and then you could save and have a go at pirate hunting. I think I’m taking a more “if I die, I have to start over approach” lately, but normally that’s not my thing. Pirates can range anywhere from “somewhat annoying” to “what the crap was that?”. Most fall into the annoying category. Space battles are filled with spinning and flying and trying to lead your bullets so the bad guys eat your and you don’t eat theirs. Oh, and missiles… you did remember to bring missiles right? Buy the nice ones that turn better. My pirate hunting experience came to a fairly quick end after fighting three to four pirates off one at a time and when I was collecting myself after the last fight, another pirate came out of the left side of my screen and blew me up in a literal half second. I only knew what happened after it happened. I’m informed that that may have been a bug.

Spinning and shooting, that’s about it. Well, there’s a hefty amount of whiffing too. I found the slow firing weapon the most. It felt better when they landed because it hit harder.

With all of that said… there is an actual story you can follow. The writing is good and fun with witty comments thrown all over the place. None of it endears me to any of the characters, but it’s still enjoyable. However, I do like the robot event though I’m admittedly ignoring his cries to come back and talk to him most of the time. I’ve been to busy running around making money. The main pull for the story here is the repetitive nature of the money-making tasks. While many similar things in Skyrim were alike (go figure), there was enough variables in the separate locations, weather and type of bad guys or situations you’d face. That’s not really the case here in 3030 Deathwar Redux. So with that, I’d say to focus on the story. Get all of the enjoyment out of it! At the same time, grab all of the jobs that will take you to planets along the way to help flesh out the game’s world. Will you get sidetracked? Of course you will and that’s the point! You’re on an adventure! This time, the adventure itself isn’t as satisfying without the goal of the story and following it to its conclusion. Do it all together is all I’m saying.

As I stated above, running around is fun, but it doesn’t hold up for too long for me. I found the most monetarily rewarding tasks to be quite repetitive and after a while that wears on me. However, if you mix in the story, the whole experience flows rather well. The controls kind of surprised me with their choices on which button does what, but flying was pretty great once I figured it out. I didn’t really find a helpful “here are all the button commands in an easily explained way” menu, but I managed with what I had. The game is fun. There is a huge universe to explore with things to loot and people/aliens to kill. 3030 Deathwar Redux looks great and sounds the same. I’d say this is a solid title to pick up, but it’s most likely a beat and probably not come back to for me. That’s fine, sometimes you just need a great one-off adventure and 3030 Deathwar Redux delivers that easily. 

Further Reading on 3030 Deathwar Redux: Facebook / Official Page / SteamTwitter

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