The world has been thrown into chaos. With resources depleted and the food running out humanities last hope is space travel to Genesis Alpha One. You are tasked with the mission of finding a new home. Your search will be grueling, it will be difficult and most importantly it will be dangerous. Do you have what it takes to be a captain, a leader for your crew in order to find a suitable home to initiate Genesis?
In the beginning of Genesis Alpha One it gives you a good backstory on why you are in the predicament you are in and right away you can tell this isn’t going to be a flashy AAA title. The colors, graphics and character models all seem to be toned down and not very imaginative. However, the imagination picks up from the initial impression that this game is going to be completely bland. You start off by getting a tutorial. This isn’t your basic tutorial though and you will definitely want to pay close attention because you will learn what is vital for your survival.
First you must choose which corporation you want to represent. Each corporation comes with its own assets such as more resource space. You will also get to choose your crew members and artifacts to start your mission. Unfortunately if you are on your first play through you won’t be able to choose much of anything because all of this is unlocked by discovering things throughout the game. This feature is something that really helps out the game as your first attempt certainly can end in disaster (And most likely will). Having the option to add things that you have already discovered in a previous game is genius in my opinion.
Once you have everything in place it is time to jump into the game. The essentials for survival will need to be built for your space ship right away. You start off with your bridge the central command center if you will and then branch out form there. Here you can scan galaxies, look at current crew member’s assignments and resources on hand. Your bridge is the heart of the ship, lose the bridge, and lose everything. Then you will need to start building your basic modules like a greenhouse to maintain the biosphere, a tractor beam for gathering scattered debris (resources) or storage modules. The game gives you the opportunity to take baby steps at first as the randomly generated galaxy you start in will probably be easy to navigate. Resources are usually limited in the beginning so pay attention to what you need not what you want. A good piece of advice would be to check your building menu and pick out which resources are vital right away. Then use your tractor beam to gather those resources but be careful, the beam can pick up hostile alien lifeforms so it is a good idea to have the module fitted out with some turrets. This especially comes in handy in more dangerous zones.
You are also able to assign crew members to modules that will help speed up whatever said module is processing. Whether it be gathering resources or constructing weapons it is always a good idea to have someone helping. Of course as the captain you can actually speed up the process yourself. This was such a good feature added to the game and honestly it saved my life on more than one occasion.
Once you have your feet wet with the tractor beam you will notice there are planets to visit as well. Each little cluster will have a few planets, some more than others. You will need to build a hanger, refinery and deposit area to extract the resources from the raw material you find. You can choose which planet to visit from the hanger. You can also assign crew members to the hanger as well and this will let them board the smaller ship with you. I didn’t like that you couldn’t actually fly down to the planet but instead get a brief loading screen. Luckily this doesn’t take long but seeing how you visit so many planets it does become a tad annoying.
Each planet is slightly different. Some will be dark, some will have more vegetation and some will have artifacts. Heck some have poisonous gases on them, fun. You will find resources and hostile alien lifeforms on all them but your ship will notify you when the lifeforms are near. The ship is also fitted with a turret on top but it does have a limited range. Gather resources from rock formations (that are pretty much always in the same locations) with you collector beam. It is basically point and hold a button until the meter fills up. If the planet has an artifact on it (which it will tell you from the scanning screen) you can head away from the ship to search for it. The area is limited on each planet from a type of force field the ship lays out for you. If you venture outside of this field, you die. It was another let down as I wanted to explore the planets more but in the end you will be visiting a ton of planets. Once you find the artifact you will have to download whatever technology you are acquiring. On more hostile planets it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring a turret with you and place down to help protect you. The artifact can be anything from new weapons, suit upgrades or even a hyper drive. This is basically upgrading your abilities and you want to find the planets with artifacts on them.
In the beginning I thought the alien lifeform was going to be limited to just a couple of species but that quickly changed when I discovered other galaxies. Some places will have bug like creatures while others will have more aggressive aliens with freaking acid shooting guns. Imagine my surprise the first time a horde came towards me shooting balls of acid in my direction. Unfortunately the AI in the game doesn’t seem to change much in patterns. All the enemies will basically attack you in the same rush forward way with some even lining up perfectly for you to dispatch in order. The combat is lackluster as well as the guns never give you the sense of impact they have with hardly any type of kick at all. Perhaps this is something that could be fixed and it would no doubt help the combat have more of an impact. I did like how you coul see your ammo count on the gun and your health meter on your arm. Switching between weapons is made very easy as well with just a click of a button.
Alien lifeforms that you kill will drop DNA for you to pick up with your collector beam and these are important if you want to clone more lifeforms. You will also need biomass that any alien drops and this can be stored by creating its own storage space on the ship. Once you have collected enough samples of a specific alien you can take it back to the cloning lab and do the proper research. Once the research is done it will tell about the alien and what it needs in order to survive on the ship. This is where the greenhouse comes into play. You will also have to gather plant life in order to create a suitable biosphere for said alien. If you have the correct biosphere you can make a clone and then you will have another crew member. Make sure you have enough space in the crew quarters before you go out cloning your army of face huggers.
Another tip would be to pay attention to the zone you are in because there are dangers lurking about in the galaxies. The first time I was boarded by space pirates I had no idea they were even around. Needless to say within a moment I lost my crew, my ship, and my life. You can die in Genesis Alpha One and come back as one of the crew members who assume your duties as captain but if there isn’t any crew left then its game over. Seriously, invest in defenses and start to strategize those defenses before your ship becomes too big to defend. You can also find shields for your ship and this might provide you with enough time to escape.
You also want to pay close attention to infestation on your ship. There are ducts throughout the ship that not only provide access to power modules that can be damage by aliens but can also harbor unwanted guests. Keep them clear otherwise your crew will come in contact with them and you run the risk of them becoming ill.
There is a ton of things to do in Genesis Alpha One and without giving them all away my last piece of advice would be to take your time with building your ship. Plot out what you need, strategize, defend, and if all else fails run.
Genesis Alpha One is a well thought out space exploration game by an indie developer that is clearly in love with this genre. While gathering resources can become repetitive and cumbersome it is still vital to the success of the game. Having them fit well within the building parameters of the game is a testament of how much planning went into the design. There are flaws within the game such as weird motions of your player, lackluster combat and the seemingly basic behavior of the AI. The positives outweigh the negatives though. Building a space ship and leading a crew has never had me this hooked. Knowing that I only needed one more piece of DNA to clone a lifeform made me hop back on my shuttle in search of it. The music gives you the sense you are in a good sci-fi flick only you have control over what happens (Not always). With a mix of lifeforms, resources, building modules, weapons and etc. if you are a fan of gathering resources while exploring an unforgiving space then this game will satisfy your needs. It won’t blow you away with visuals but it makes up for it with substance. The best way to describe the game would be to say it was a mix of Starship Troopers, Aliens, and No Man’s Sky. Not bad at all in my opinion.
Genesis Alpha One is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Rating 8 out 10