In space, no one can hear you craft.
From even this industry's earliest days, there's been a natural order to things: innovation leads to iteration. It happens in huge markets like the FPS genre, and in smaller ones like the indie world of puzzle/platformers. When something succeeds, devs come out of the woodworks to ape it, and expand upon it while us players watch with fingers crossed, hoping they build upon the right things.
Minecraft is a great example of a modern innovator, a game that did something relatively new and made its creator, Notch, a household name (or as much of one as we have). On the other hand, Edge of Space is what I would call an iterator, and thankfully from what I've seen, it's taking the right things away from the game that paved the way for it, while creating an experience that's entirely its own. Well, almost entirely.
Edge of Space is a sandbox adventure with an emphasis on resource-gathering and crafting, but unlike Minecraft, it houses the experience in a sprite-based 2D platformer with some action and RPG elements thrown in for good measure. It sounds like an unheard mix, but it probably looks and sounds familiar to anyone who's played Terraria on Steam. To be clear, though, this is in no way a bad thing, and Edge of Space still feels plenty original, thanks in large part to its setting in the unfriendly depths of space.
As an employee of ArkCo, a space-faring super-conglomerate that sends its workers to the most terrible places for science and profit, you're forced out of cryogenic slumber to find that you've crash-landed in a harsh, nearly inhospitable sector of the galaxy. Thankfully, you have working knowledge about tons of crazy tech, so it's up to you to gather what you can from your surroundings and try to scrape by.
At least, that's how it starts. In Edge of Space, survival is a constant concern, as it should be, because you don't belong where you are. The flora, the fauna, even the atmosphere itself treats you like the outsider you are, forcing you to upgrade your suit to deal with the climate, arm yourself, and build some form of shelter. But as you find rare blueprints for advanced weaponry, and master the art of terraforming to make your surroundings more hospitable, you become capable of exploring your randomly generated home, and even thriving in it.
The freedom to fly about with a jetpack and head in any direction, combined with randomly generated worlds and events, lends an air of discovery and mystery similar to what roguelikes usually offer. It's sort of a shame that small indy teams with even smaller budgets are the only ones doing this stuff. The visuals in Edge of Space get the job done, but with such a compelling mix of gameplay elements, it's hard not to imagine what these ideas would be like with some real money behind them. But even my short demo left me pondering what wonders might lay beyond the borders of the screen, and that's all that really matters in the end.
Edge of Space can be pre-purchased now for
$15 $9.99, which also gets you into the currently running open beta.