SelectButton’s Early Access reviews provides valuable insight on a work in progress. The game will be reevaluated once officially released, as the review below is based on the Early Access build of the game at the time of the review’s publish date.
Interstellar Marines is a dangerously hard, yet enjoyable experience. From developer Zero Point Software, the game is still in Early Access on Steam and is shaping up to be a powerfully fun game to play either alone or with friends. However, I do recommend playing with friends.
The game is a first-person shooter primarily with some RPG-like and other elements thrown in for good measure. Players take on the role of essentially space marines ala Aliens and are sent to clean up messes left behind. Initially this was done only via multiplayer deathmatches with objectives to complete throughout the map. These multiplayer matches are exciting and excellently paced. Expect to coordinate with the rest of your team to outmaneuver your enemy, but also expect to get mixed up in the middle of firefights now and again.
Zero Point, however, has begun adding in additional gameplay and missions such as The NeuroGen Incident. This is where the game begins to shine brightly. The Neurogen Incident is the first of hopefully many cooperative-based maps allowing players to coordinate together to complete objectives. While the competitive multiplayer features 18 players,, the co-op mission is limited to only four players (or five depending on the server). You’re sent into a corporate research station to find out what went wrong and why everyone is dead. It is no easy feat, as you’ll be forced to contend with robotic security forces found throughout, both armed and unarmed.
This map really caught me off-guard since I was not expecting the kind of experience I found. Interstellar Marines creates an atmosphere, similar to games like Aliens Vs Predator, that leaves you wondering where exactly death will come from. The dark and foreboding ship, the silent machines, and the need to turn on power and hunt down access keys and logs just builds into a suspenseful ride. Even with four players, I found myself having an extremely hard time on Normal difficulty, raising the tension even more. The enemy AI is merciless and will hunt you down and it’s unnerving to hear their clanking footsteps in the darkness. Many times we’d enter what seemed to be an empty room only to turn towards the slightest clanking noise and see 3 or 4 robots with guns, dying quickly in the ensuing chaos.
The game is shaping up to be quite fantastic, though there are some downsides currently. Jumping into an already in-progress co-op map spawns players at the beginning of the level and it can take a bit to trek over to the rest of the team, or at least that is assuming you don’t die mid-trek. I’ve leveled up a bit as well and I’ve only used two different guns so far within the game. I’m not necessarily complaining since they work wonders at the whole killing enemies thing, but I do like variety when I have the chance. And there are some minor graphical oddities and glitches, but these come with Early Access and don’t affect the gameplay. Hopefully some of these kinks will be fleshed out by the time the full release hits Steam’s virtual shelves.
Interstellar Marines is shaping up to be an exciting game, especially for those that want a cooperative first-person experience. It’s got all the necessary pieces currently that make it fun to play, so I’m optimistic on what future updates will add. While there is only the singular co-op mission right now, there’s a lot of replay value since each time it seems like enemies are never in the same place and honestly, I still have yet to make it through to the end. The multiplayer is pretty solid as well, though there might be some lag concerns for some players connecting to UK servers from the US and vice versa. Other than that, Zero Point has a solid title on their hands and I look forward to the full version.
Note: The Interstellar Marines early access review was written based on a digital PC version of the game.