Space Beast Terror Fright, oh my!

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A little background…I was there when the FPS was invented [que the angels singing], Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament, in the beginning I played them all.  Sure, time has marched on, reflexes have dimmed, no more snatching the pebble out of the master’s hand.  However, Two hours of play time with Space Beast Terror Fright (“SBTF”), or as I like to call it, “how I can die a dozen times in a half hour simulator”, and an impression has definitely been left on me with a giant kick to my ass!



STBF is an early access game that I have been following for some time. I was waiting for one thing to happen before jumping into the deep end; key re-binding, got to have it. With my admittedly low standards satisfied I purchased the game and off I went.

Here’s the company line on SBTF. It’s an arcade style, rogue-like, perma-death, procedurally generated, corridor, first person shooter – say that fast three times. The parts to SBTF aren’t too complicated. You enter a space ship through an airlock. The layout of the ship is procedurally generated each time. You look for a randomly generated number of data cores where you download the data, then shut down the coolant to the reactor, then escape the ship. That’s it, basically that’s what you do more or less, EVERY – SINGLE – TIME. Sometimes things are more than the sum of their parts. For what this game is trying to be, it just works. This isn’t a game you’ll play for hours, more like 30 minutes here, 20 minutes there, but make no mistake, as Romero said “this game will make you it’s bitch”.

That’s a bold statement. Let me throw another one at you…this is the most alien movie feeling game I’ve ever played. Oh, I forgot to mention the aliens, didn’t I, you will be channeling your inner Hudson in no time,” game over man, game over”

This game has atmosphere and tension in spades. When you’re down to your last couple of data cores, and your HUD is telling you there’s been a hull breach and then the lights go out. They cut the lights, “what you mean they cut the lights, they’re animals how can they cut the lights” ……Oh, crap!

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You make your way toward the breaker to turn the power back on, all the while watching the time on your power meter drain, not too much time left until you go totally dark.

There are a lot of little touches that add to the whole. Look at the HUD, that helps give you the feeling of being a little more closed in then the corridors already do.

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Now, throw in the muzzle flash to obscure even more of your vision.

The game gives you some helpers along the way. Every time you download a data core it refills your energy meter and you have a chance to get an upgrade. Upgrades can be ammo capacity, map, increased power, more light time, faster downloads, and the – wait for it – motion tracker.  There’s more, but that’s what I’ve seen so far. There are sentries you can activate along the way to cover your back, repair stations, ammo stations and electric doorway grids that fry aliens. Of course, all that stuff doesn’t work when they cut the power 😊.

After two hours of play I’m still working out my strategies. Since you have a little time before the breaches, do you go guns blazing and move fast? Tried that and died. Do you move more methodical, slow and sure? Tried that and died. There’s a little more strategy here than meets the eye, I think it’s a combination of both. You can’t always push through, need to fall back to defensible places, find alternate ways to the data cores. That’s where your sentry guns, electric door grids come in. Another thing is aliens can’t open doors, just break them down, so closing them when on the run buys you time. When they cut the power, that all changes, all the defenses of your fallback position are kaput. This is when it pays to know where the nearest breaker is to restore power, but what is between you and the breaker? The HUD helps you out, the distance to the nearest data core is displayed on your HUD, distance to the nearest breaker when the power goes out. Just a lot of little parts that add to the whole.

You go from mission to mission as long as you survive. I’ve seen missions where you have to gather data from anywhere from 5 to 25 data cores. Did I mention it gets harder the longer you’re in mission, more breaches, a growing infestation, so stay frosty. The game saves your replays so you can relive your most glorious deaths. You can also play 4 player co-op where I’m guessing the game shines even more. It bears repeating, this is not a game you’ll play for hours, so turn out the lights, put the headphones on and channel your inner Hudson.

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Nine data cores isn’t so bad, yet!

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The ground mist looking stuff adds to the creep factor. I forgot to mention, after a recent update the aliens come out of the walls. Does that ring any bells?

As with most games, it all depends on the attitude you approach the game with, what experience do you want because If you have a problem with failure, this game might not be for you. On default, this game is a hardcore ball-breaker. Luckily, there are settings to adjust, and adjust them I did. Early on I kept getting a high number of data cores, 20+ every time, so I dialed it down. Here’s the game settings screen.

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There’s a lot of interesting options, MOTD= mission of the day, COTW=Campaign of the week, KIT mode= playing with fixed upgrades.

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What are my impressions of SBTF?  I think a lot of little parts add up to it accomplishing what I think it sets out to do. It will be on my hard drive a long time and I look forward to seeing where the developer takes it. The game is $14.99 at full price, not a fortune. Not sure, get it on sale, use the 2-hour window to try it out. For the full experience, turn out the lights and turn the headphones up and have a spare pair of undershorts nearby. Call me grogs if you want to try it MP, I only have one condition, I’m Hudson…….” game over man, game over”.

Here’s a video of the first run I did after turning down the datacore number, its where all the screen shots came from. Here’s a hint…. I die😊

** This game is in Early access. The only issue I currently have is I can’t exit the game in full screen. I have to hit alt-enter when at the menu to go full screen, then alt-enter before I quit or the game won’t start the next time without deleting the settings file. I posted to the Dev about this issue. Other than that, I’ve had no issues so far.

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