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Genesis Alpha One

Posted by GG Goblin On February - 19 - 2019

In space, no one can hear you cry.

Going into space is a complicated task. There really is a lot to think about, and most video games that deal with the idea of going into space don’t do justice to just how complex that idea is. Even games that set the player to colonising planets tend to gloss over all of the tricky stuff. However, Team17 and Radiation Blue’s Genesis Alpha One takes a more realistic approach simply by giving the player so many things to think about, and so many ways to fail, that it could well put the Human species off leaving this planet forever. Welcome to the harsh realities of space, I guess.

gao1 (Copy)

Maybe that is a bit dramatic, but Genesis Alpha One does pack in a lot of complicated things to worry about. Genesis Alpha One is a roguelike first-person shooter, ship building, crew managing, resource collection and exploration game. So yeah, they could have thrown a few more genres at it.

In a future where the Earth is basically ruined, the player is cast as the captain aboard a spaceship that has to head out into space and find a new planet to colonise. Put like that, it seems quite simple, and many other games would have given the player e3verything they need to get this job done. Genesis Alpha One takes the other route, giving the player just enough to start their mission and then leaving the player to cobble together everything else that they need on the fly. So before setting boots on a likely planet and terraforming it in preparation for a Human colony, the player will have to build up their spaceship by gathering resources, all while dealing with the threat of alien lifeforms and the regular hazards of space. This is going to be an uphill battle.

gao2 (Copy)

The game will begin with a short tutorial section that will explain the basics and get the player going on their voyage to the stars. I will say that the tutorial is somewhat lacking in that it fails to explain a lot of what the player is supposed to do after it has finished, but the thrill of discovery goes hand in hand with the nature of this game. As a Roguelike game, players are expected to fail, and fail often. The random nature of the game means that each playthrough is different, and whatever calamity befell the players last attempt will likely be very different on the next. To make it feel a little more forgiving, discoveries made will be carried over to the next playthrough, removing the finality of failure.

So, be prepared to fail. The player will take on the role of captain of this spaceship, but upon the captains death, the player will then take over a random member of the crew. If there are crew, then play continues. The problem is that nine times out of ten any calamity that has taken the captain out will likely snowball to the rest of the crew going the same way. Be it alien invasion or ship malfunction, it will all go horribly wrong, and usually at the worst time.

The captain has a very hands on approach in Genesis Alpha One, with the player being able to get involved in pretty much anything. The core idea here is to gather resources, either from space debris or from the surface of a planet, and then build all of the extra modules that the ship will need to collect more debris, along with researching new tech, making the ship safer, more comfortable, and even more diverse. This will mean managing where crew members will work, cutting down time to do things, along with sorting out the inevitable alien infestation and making repairs to keep everything from blowing up.

gao3 (Copy)

A tractor beam will collect the resources from space, but to get them from the planets surface, which will be required for more difficult to find resources, the player will have to put boots on the ground. While it is possible to send some crew down, planets are always hostile and they would likely be not returning. So that means heading down with the crew and getting those resources while fighting off whatever alien monstrosity is lurking there. The gun play will continue to the ship when alien lifeforms are accidentally pulled onto the ship, or when space pirates attack, and the players will have to hope they built enough turrets are they run through the corridors and try to fight them back.

Being responsible for helping to fight aliens, repairing the ship and doing other things to generally stop everything from going boom is a lot of responsibility, and can become overwhelming. Taking your eyes of the ball while trying to speed up some resource refining can lead to missing that all important infestation until it has taken over half of the ship. Often disaster will strike before the player has been able to even unlock the necessary tech required to counter it, at which point it is a case of chalk it up to experience.

Yet, you just keep trying. Learn from the mistakes, work out the best layout for ship and which modules are important when. Keep researching and discovering, even when things are obviously starting to go wrong, as it may make subsequent games easier. Take advantage of corporate sponsorship at the beginning to get a boost. Start creating clones to provide extra workforce, but also harvest DNA to create alien hybrids that will bring more benefits while also potentially creating new problems. There are a massive number of things to consider in Genesis Alpha One, but each failure could lead to a slightly easier game next time around.

gao4 (Copy)

Genesis Alpha One is a game with loads of great ideas, but that perhaps asks a little too much of the player. It can be confusing, challenging and outright frustrating, especially when a random event occurs that the player simply can’t defend against. However, those that persist will be rewarded as each playthrough becomes easier, less confusing and more fun, and it is so satisfying when things don’t go wrong. Those with dogged determination and a will to learn will get the most out of Genesis Alpha One.




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