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Avorion. Space Engineers style construction, with Elite Dangerous Style progression

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    Avorion. Space Engineers style construction, with Elite Dangerous Style progression

    Truthfully I had forgotten about this game shortly after adding it to my steam wishlist. A few weeks later, my birthday rolled around, and a generous friend saw fit to gift me it. I was a little hesitant at first. Space Engineers, the most direct comparison, had failed to hold my attention for long at all. I was worried that Avorion would be another "creativity toy" style sandbox game that threw a bunch of blocks at you with some token gameplay elements and expect you to make your own fun. Much to my surprise, however, Avorion is NOT that. Well, it kind of is. You do still gather resources in a procedurally generated galaxy to build your ship. The difference, however, is that you have a real sense of progression.

    Despite being in Early Access, the game has a reasonably robust PVE system and gameplay loop. Your galaxy is populated by various factions that seem to be generated when the game is launched. They all have independent opinions of you ranging from friendly to loathing. You start on the periphery of the galaxy, with the ultimate goal of getting to the center and fighting the alien mothership. As you get closer and closer to the center, the materials you find get more valuable. The enemies you encounter grow more numerous and powerful. Yet, nothing the AI does is beyond you. Those space stations belonging to the factions you've been flying past? You can build those yourself with enough resources and money. Those fighters they're launching? You can get those. Those crazy powerful lightning cannons and railguns? Check. Are you feeling alone in the universe? Start your own faction and use Captains to give AI control of ships you build. It is a game that provides a lot of possibilities but doesn't overwhelm you or leave you directionless like some sandbox games tend to do.

    If you don't want to build your own ship, you can buy one from a Shipyard (though be prepared for it to be a fractal nightmare since its procedurally generated ). Don't want to manage an AI fleet? There is no reason you have too. Don't like mining asteroids? Get some salvaging lasers and dissect the carcasses of pirate and alien ships. Want to be an honest merchant? There's a lot of factory stations out there in need of raw goods to be imported and production to be exported. Not feeling honest? There are quite a few trader ships out there who are light on guns but heavy with cargo. Not sure where to go? Towards the center of the galaxy is always a good bet! And best of all, multiplayer is implemented. PVE and PVP servers both cater to certain playstyles. Or you can easily play the game entirely on your own.

    Normally I would say a game with this many activities runs the risk of having each of those elements be underdeveloped. In this game, however, they all merge so well together that the entire game feels well-designed and cohesive. There are definitely gaps in features or general polish that still need to happen. The friendly AI can be a bit dumb when flying custom-built ships. Your personal ship, with the right subsystems, can build and replace fighters but not torpedos. The loot system seems a little inconsistent in the stats for various turrets and sub-systems you pick up. But the game is still in early access, and the devs seem very engaged with their community. I think bright days lie ahead.

    I leave you now, with my current ship. Star Wars References aside; I am strangely in love with my blocky little flying brick. Compared to the creations on display in the Steam Workshop, it's laughable, but it's still mine all the same. A quick caveat though.... the turret designs ARE downloaded from the workshop. You can customize and build their appearance just as you would your ship, but it is a strictly cosmetic thing, the turrets are perfectly functional in their low detail default style

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