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Space Punks is an isometric Borderlands that’s left me lonely, bored and frustrated

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With all these rich arseholes currently going off into space, I feel like the stars need a little bit of anarchy to balance things out. Maybe courtesy of a shotgun-wielding pig-man? Conveniently, Space Punks—a co-op twin-stick shooter with heavy Borderlands vibes—offers exactly this. After spending some time with said pig-man, however, I am now inclined to let Branson and Bezos have space all to themselves. 

Space Punks is in early access at the moment, with an open beta planned for the winter. It will be free-to-play at launch, but to get an early glimpse you’ll have to shell out for a founder’s pack on the Epic Games Store. Absolutely do not do that. Whatever it may end up being in six months, right now it’s just a chore. 

Like Borderlands, Space Punks pitches itself as a slapstick sci-fi romp with a radical ’90s attitude. I was expecting jokes, larger-than-life characters and general zaniness—what I got was utterly generic. Yes, you can play as a pig-man, and there’s also a bug-guy, cyborg and some vanilla dude, but none of them have any personality traits beyond their repetitive barks; nor are they accompanied by any other memorable characters. There’s an AI fella, a robot and some other NPCs hanging around the hub, and none of them ever say or do anything worth repeating. 

(Image credit: Jagex)

This dearth of character extends to the galaxy, which Space Punks doesn’t appear to care much about. I know as much about the setting now as I did when I’d never even heard of the game. Hell, I don’t even know what a space punk is, or why I’ve spent hours shooting a bunch of robots and doing dreary tasks. There is absolutely nothing propelling the game forward, aside from the desire for more loot and experience. 

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