Starpoint Gemini 2 opens with some haunting music you’ll swear was lifted straight from the Mass Effect series, and as such it perfectly sets the stage for exploring space. Given a massive universe to wander through, the mechanics of the game have a deep intricacy where even simple decisions like moving forward carry tactical weight. But before you get too caught up in that, the first thing you’ll notice is the graphics.
Without a doubt, Starpoint Gemini 2 is beautiful. Able to rotate your ship in any direction (reminiscent of Descent, but without walls to crash into), everywhere you turn there’s something in the distance that’s pleasing to the eye, whether that’s a massive planet, distant star system, or a looming space station. The look of the game contributes significantly to the ambiance, making this a world that you really want to spend a lot of time in.
Fortunately, at this Alpha stage of Early Access, the bones of the experience are all here – with a ton of information located on the HUD, the developers seem to be focusing on getting as much functioning content into the game as possible. With seemingly endless buttons to click, all the game really needs at this point is a little bit more hand-holding and direction to get you started.
From the moment you set out you’ll be making choices as to how much power to divert to your engines (sacrificing weapons systems and leaving yourself vulnerable). Increasing travel speed will be critical too, as you will often have to cover quite a large distance between the sparse objectives. A large draw of this game is the ability to explore, but just like any other open-world RPG, doing so can be perilous. Seeing hostile ships off in the distance, it can be difficult to tell whether or not they’re something you can realistically handle.
Though there are a few complaints to be made, the majority of them center around simply not completely understanding what you’re doing. Although space is directionless, that doesn’t necessarily mean the player ought to be, as the most successful open-world games give you some clear guidance on where and when to go next. With more scripted events and even a simple overarching narrative, this gorgeous world that you already want to spend time in can easily become one that you just can’t pull yourself away from.