Trekking the Procedural Death Maze in Space Robinson Demo

It’s kind of impressive how many civilizations rebuild their dungeons between one adventurer and the next.  It doesn’t matter the setting, whether it be magic, sci-fi, or even modern day tactical action, because apparently everyone’s got building permits and the deep pockets necessary to rethink a base’s layout at the drop of a hat.  The latest rogue to discover this is actually an engineer doing routine maintenance on a distant planet, or at least that’s what he was expecting until his ship went down right above the ruins of the colony.  Now all he’s got to survive is the standard-issue whacking huge wrench, plus a pistol that can be swapped out along the way for guns packing a little more firepower.  And every time he dies, between last gasp and waking up an indeterminate amount of time later in the clone tank, the aliens shuffle the terrain and restock its ammo, gem, and weapon crates.  It’s hard to tell if they’re being nice in giving the engineer a chance or taking a twisted enjoyment at his endless failures.

Space Robinson is, on its surface, a fairly standard action roguelike, but as the demo reveals it doesn’t need to reinvent the genre to provide a good time.  The full game isn’t out yet, only having a nebulous “2019” release date, but I’ve been enjoying running through the first couple levels of the demo and seeing what mysteries it contains.  The engineer only has five health total, and health packs are scarce, so dying is worryingly easy despite rarely feeling unfair.  Run, gun, die, dump all the crystals collected during the failed attempt into the big energy-thingy in the middle of home base, repeat.  It’s a simple cycle but also one that feels right while playing, and that’s an excellent promise for the game to come.

Space Robinson’s demo is available on Steam and well worth a night or two’s play-time.  Alternately there’s an old but still (mostly?) accurate trailer below to check out.  Or you can go wild and do both, living life to its fullest.  Either way, Space Robinson is shaping up to be an unassuming little gem that’s focused on getting the basics right.