Rebel Galaxy is a space action game with trading elements. Wikipedia lists it as a simulator but I disagree with that description as the game is not trying to be a realistic space game. Created by Double Damage Damage Games, this appears to be their first title.
One thing to get out the way is this isn’t a Six degrees of freedom space game, you are locked to a plane and can only accelerate, decelerate, turn left and turn right. I mention this because I spotted a few people moaning about it when it was clearly designed this way on purpose. Frankly, it works well in this game. Other large ships are limited too and smaller fighters and bombers do have six degrees of movement.
Gameplay consists of flying around the galaxy and doing missions. Your controls pretty much consist of left, right, forward speed adjustment and the mouse for shooting and controlling the camera. The main and side quests mainly consisted of combat missions in some form (straight-up, flying through dangerous areas, escorts, etc.) but you can also go and mine asteroids or trade with stations to earn your pounds.
Combat is enjoyable when you feel like you’re going to get something out of it (mission completed) but I tended to avoid random encounters as enemies rarely dropped anything worthwhile. Fighting enemies of equal strength is great, you get a real sense of achievement from maneuvering your ship to avoid taking too much damage on one side and letting fully charged shields take the heat while the weaker side regenerates. I didn’t enjoy mining, it’s a bit too grindy for me. Not overly fanatic about the trading either - the shops list the system average price of items but I was never able to find the station using that price meaning I ended up flying round with full cargo until I lost the will and stopped trying to trade.
There is a huge range of ships, weapons, upgrades, shields, cargo bays, etc. you can buy to improve yourself and I liked weighing up the pros and cons of the different types (e.g. loading up on weapons good against fighters vs weapons vs big ships). The upgrade system is really rather splendid.
I went through periods of really enjoying the game and others of quitting from boredom or unwillingness to commit. If you’ve played a massively multiplayer game for an extended period, it’s kind of like the feeling you get after a year of the game when you login and immediately decide you can’t be bothered so you log off and do something else.
The graphics are good but have nothing noteworthy going on. The audio is pretty awesome and the music even more so, if you’re into cowboy rock. Didn’t encounter any bugs. I found escort missions didn’t really work as I’d end up stuck for long periods while the AI tried to move us out of an asteroid belt or a low risk escort would be impossible due a random encounter with a high risk enemy.
I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Rebel Galaxy, so it sits firmly in the middle of the rating system. It is a good bit of fun and unlocking new ships gives a real sense of achievement. I played for a good 16 hours before wanting to move onto something else. The downsides are the lack of variety in gameplay, periods of grinding for cash and the story, which although nicely created, didn’t immerse me in any way.