RymdResa Review

RymdResa is a poetry-filled game of exploration and survival in the bleak abyss of space.

RymdResa on PC

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Every now and again, I come across a game that’s difficult to nail down for review purposes. In the case of RymdResa, though, it’s not for the usual reasons. Often, games that are hard to review fall into those games that stretch the definition of gaming, bridge genres in interesting ways, or are simply flat-out so difficult to play that they’re hard to give a fair chance to. While each of these pops up a bit in this thruster-based story of space exploration and survival, none of them captures why it’s so hard to really hone in on what makes Morgondag’s curious game.

RymdResa is, as I mentioned, a game focused on exploration and survival. Both of these turn out to be pretty difficult, especially at the onset. While there’s some quick tutorial work to help players grasp the controls, there’s no hand-holding to guide you or linear path to follow, and players are mostly left to their own devices to work out the mechanics and objectives as they go. There’s an awful lot going on, so it can be jarring to get a feel for the bleak vastness of the procedurally-generated universe, and keeping an eye on all of the various collectibles, missions, and so on can be a bit of a chore.

There are three main things to keep an eye on as you make your way through RymdResa‘s open world. The first and most important is resources, which serve as your ship’s fuel. Aside from that, you’ve got Spacepoints, which serve as a currency of sorts, and items that can be collected to upgrade your ships. There’s also an experience system for levelling up your pilot, which in turn gives you the opportunity to work on stats such as Survival, Technology, and Scouring. Running out of resources or taking too much damage means instant death, and the unforgiving universe doesn’t particularly care if it’s easy to keep yourself stocked up.

A lone ship floating through a vast world can certainly feel lonely.

What makes RymdResa a bit more interesting than just floating through the endless void is the poetry. From pilot journals to cryptic messages when exploring, the world of RymdResa is rife with it. Much of this is reflective musings bordering on existential crisis, while some is much simpler — I recall a brief entry from my pilot, nine years into his mission, reading simply: “I hate space. I do. I really do.” While the philosophical musings may not be what every player is looking for while they’re out scouring the stars for the next big score, it adds a unique and interesting element that makes the entire experience simultaneously more surreal and realistic.

While death in RymdResa is almost a guarantee, the good news is that much of what players collect, from Spacepoints to ship-enhancing items, carries over from one mission to the next. The game’s “legacy” system also means that a particularly successful run will grant a player-chosen bonus that can give a distinct advantage on subsequent attempts. This bleak, yet rewarding, system keeps things in line a bit while players learn to feel their way around the galaxies and search for whatever they’re looking for.

The part of RymdResa that takes the most getting used to is the controls. Since movement is all thruster-based, players are essentially limited to pointing their ship in a direction and accelerating. Slowing or stopping is very difficult, given the fact that your time is largely spent in a frictionless vacuum, and only the gravitational pull of large objects can really interfere with your movement. The fact that some of these objects are high-density suns certainly doesn’t help, and woe be to the player who’s ship strays too close to one of these deadly bodies. As I’m sure you can imagine, being sucked into the core of an active star is less than ideal for one’s survival chances.

All told, RymdResa is not a game for everyone. It’s pretty minimal in its design, difficult to get into, and a bit cumbersome to navigate. I’ll freely admit that, on my first few plays, I planned on giving it a pretty low score. As I played a bit more, though, it began to grow on me and the frustration faded as I learned pilot, manage resources, and make use of upgrades and consumables. For the price of $11.99 on Steam, you’re getting what you pay for as the vast world has plenty to explore. With future releases planned for iPad, Wii U, and Xbox One, there’s plenty of availability in the pipeline if you’re more of a mobile or console gamer. While it may not be a must-see for those who don’t feel the hankering for some existentialist space-journeys, it’s s solid pickup for anyone who does.

About the author

Chaz Miller

Chaz was Twinfinite's resident indie game reviewer from December 2013 through until May 2017. An indie reviewer extraordinaire, father-type human for two young gamers, and generally a very busy person.