Review: Epiar 0.5.0 by Cybrid

Developer: Entropy Studios

From the website:

“In Epiar, you begin as a shuttle pilot in a galaxy generally ruled by anarchy, with few stable governments and numerous rebel factions. Youstart your adventure off doing whatever you want, but generally trying
to save up money for a new starship, and your adventure takes off from there …”
This game reminds me of Escape Velocity for Mac, which I played way back when, and to some small extent, also of Freelancer.  It’s still fairly early in development, and has some features yet to implement, but a fun game nonetheless.

Installing – 9 of 10

Requirements for this game are:

SDL Libraries
(eventually, see Sound section).  This is generally included withmost distributions.

Installation is very straightforward.  For this review, I downloaded the CVS version, but precompiled packages are available for Win32 and Linux environments.

When you extract the archive, login as root and run ‘make -f Makefile.linux’ (or Makefile.freebsd, if that’s what you have).  You will most likely see quite a few errors, as I did, feel free to ignore them.  This will create the executable file.  Now you can run ./epiar from the base directory.

The only way I could see the installation process streamlined would be to provide .run files for *nix environments (which, btw, was done with a previous release) on a regular basis.

Sound  – 0 of 10

I hate to give any category a 0 rating, but in this case I am left with very little choice, as sound is not yet implemented.  I look forward to the time when this feature becomes active.  From the documentation provided, sound is/will be done through libogg.

Graphics – 8 of 10

The graphics in this game are very nice.  Lots of different ships and asteroids flying around, and several planets you can visit, and a great effort has been made to make each setting and ship as unique as possible, from explosion effects to individual planet graphics.  The only complaint I could have about this area would be the relatively small galaxy you start with in the main simulation, but again, this is an early version, and I suspect the universe will expand quite rapidly as development progresses.

Gameplay – 7 of 10

I have to admit, I had a lot of fun with the gameplay, even if I got killed over, and over, and over again.  In a nutshell, you start off with a basic ship.  You can dock at various planets to
purchase upgrade parts (weapons, armor, engines, etc), and to trade goods, to help you to complete various missions.  Unfortunately, the planetary missions are not in place quite yet, but it should be fun to see what the developers have in mind.

Currently, the game comes with 3 custom missions, as well as the main simulation.  The custom missions give you a chance to try out unique scenarios, such as rescuing scientists, hunting down pirates,
and escorting cargo ships.

Even though the game is still in very early stages, I found the main simulation to be very enjoyable, if a bit on the difficult side.

Replay – 6 of 10

The replay value of this game can only improve.  With several types of ships to fight against, and enough custom options for your ships, there’s lots to do.  However, without missions to complete
or a definite goal to accomplish, you end up being limited to ‘shoot ship, board them, buy more stuff’, at least for now.  The addition of planetary missions will add much to this aspect.

Overall – 6 of 10 Tuxes

It’s a shame that the sound is not working in this game, otherwise the score would have been much higher.  Nevertheless, this game is extremely playable in it’s current state, and very enjoyable as
well.  Upcoming features include user-made plugins (to add ships, weapons, etc.), game saves, and lots more.  Go download it now and see for yourself.