Indie games come in all shapes and sizes and the upcoming indie game Space Pirates and Zombies is looking increasingly like a indie game to check out when it comes out later this year. The game is being developed by Minmax Games and looks to combine the gameplay and fast paced fun of a top down shooter with the vast scope of old school space exploration games like Elite. After playing the demo, I can confirm it does this very well.
The first thing I noticed about Space Pirates and Zombies when I loaded up the demo, is just how fluid and responsive the controls feel. You control your ship's thrusters with the keyboard and control your weapons systems with your mouse. It's an unusual control scheme for a top down shooter on the PC but it works very well for the most part.
An indie game that I particularly liked was 2009's Gratuitous Space Battles. The fun and highly customizable combat in Gratuitous Space Battles was a key part of its appeal and while combat is also a key part of Space Pirates and Zombies, it's definitely not the only thing on offer. Mining and exploration are huge parts of the gameplay in Space Pirates and Zombies. You mine asteroids to gather a resource called Rez which is required to build new ships.
Exploration is another key element, and when you start the game you are able to customize just how big you want your universe to be and considering the smallest size I could get the game to be set at in the demo was 151 systems, it's easy to say that Space Pirates and Zombies gives you a lot of space to explore. It's not just empty space though, the universe it filled with a variety of factions for you to interact with.
The most prominent visual feature of Space Pirates and Zombies is the unique style of the spaceships and backgrounds and it looks very similiar to the aforementioned Gratuitous Space Battles. As you explore the vast galaxies, you can unlock and craft new ships for you to use. There is a very big variety in ships and you are also able to customize your ship via a system that gives you much more control than Gratuitous Space Battles did. The soundtrack for Space Pirates and Zombies is also quite good and I have to give props to the great narration by the Cynical Brit himself, Totalbiscuit.
The gameplay is very fun overall and while the demo I played lacks some polish, I can clearly see the potential of this game to be amazing. Space Pirates and Zombies looks like it will be well worth checking out for any PC gamer. Space Pirates and Zombies is set to come out on the 16th of August for the PC exclusively. You can preorder the game on their website or via Steam.