Space Pirates and Zombies is a 2D, top down RPG shooter which takes place in outer space. In this world, space travel was finally figured out by using warp gates that instantaneously transport you to another gate. In the beginning the use of the gates are limited, but things soon change with the discovery of the new element called “Rez”. The element Rez is able to be configured into different forms of matter, so it quickly becomes a high demand. The high demand caused a gold rush of sorts and lead to the gate network being privatized as well as unregistered gates being created.
It was also discovered that the closer you got to the Core of space the richer the deposits of Rez got. So in the quest to get the most Rez lots of colonies started to popping up. With so many different colonies now trading concerns of pandemics caused the creation of the United Terran Alliance (UTA). The job of the UTA was to restrict access to the gates to registered ships only, but due to the lack of a central leader it fall apart. The UTA still exists, however, there is no communication between the UTA in two systems. It’s this lack of communication which makes it easy for space pirates to go around and freely harvest Rez.
Your main objective is to get to the Core and the rich deposits of Rez. However, to get there you have to travel through many systems and gain access through the UTA controlled warp gates. As you travel through systems your relationship with the two factions (UTA and Civilians) will be different every time. So you can go from being hated by the UTA, which if you are they will attack you on site, to being friends with them. Being friends with the UTA can have its up sides because you can bribe them with goons (people/crew) so that you can use the warp gate to get to the next system. If you are not friends with the UTA and want to gain access to a warp gate you will have to take it by forces and wipe out their forces that are guarding the gate.
You might be thinking, “Well then, I’ll just make sure to be friends with the UTA all the time then so that I can just gain access to all the gates,” but it’s not that easy. There are several types of bases that can be found in systems: colony, mining, science, and UTA bases. These bases are control by one of the two factions and if you are friends with them, they will trade with you. This is very helpful when they have black market items that they will sell to you for Rez; it will help upgrade your ships with things like better weapons. Also, if they don’t have any black market items to buy you could always trade in some of your crew, which the game calls goons for some Rez or some data; you can also trade Rez for goons.
However, be careful you don’t trade in all the goons you have because you need them to be part of your ships crew. The more crew you have the quicker the repairs are done on your ship. Data is also very useful because it allows you to upgrade all aspects of your ships (cannons, engines, crew, and more) to an improved level. Even some of the black market items will require you to have a certain level before you can use them. You are also able to respec your upgrades at any time. So say you had been upgrading your beam weapons but find your ships themselves are just too weak against enemies, you can respec your beam weapons and then put your upgrade points into armor.
As you can see above there are several different types of weapons that are available: cannons, beams, missiles/tropedoes, mine, bombs, and drones. Each one has its perks, personally I liked using a few beams on my ships with one missile mount and some mines. The cannons are single shots, while the beams are continuous; so I felt like I did more damage with the beam weapons. The missiles are great because they target your enemies and with the right upgrades, can go far. Only downside is they do have a timer on them. The mines where my favorite though! You put down a mine generator on the map and it will create a field of mine that you are unaffected by. However if an enemy enters it the mines start to home in and attack the enemy ship. The mine field is active as long as the generator is there. All these weapons only get better as you upgrade them to increase their speed, damage, and range.
As you travel through each system to reach your main objective you will find side missions you can complete; as well as missions that will help change your relationships with the factions in that system. As you complete all these missions by destroying ships, blowing up storage containers, or escorting other ships you will receive Rez, data, and goons. To me it seems like goons are in very high supply in space because there were times when I would max out my crew.
Every ship you destroy will eject escape pods that you can pick up to have them become part of you crew; so I’m sure that helps. You will even some times find that a specialist will be ejected. Using specialists will give you a buffs such as increasing your cargo space by 22%, increasing your cannon’s damage by 11%, and many others. As you progress you will be able to unlock another slot so you can have more then one up at a time. Also, your specialist will level up the more you use them so that you can get a higher buff.
When you destroy ships, they will give you black boxes which you can collect. When you get enough black boxes from a certain type of ship you will then be able to then create that ship. The ships are all very customizable, which is nice. Each hull type has its good points and bad points, such as speed or hull strength. You can’t change the way the ships look but you are able to change their weapons. So if you want to change your beam weapons to cannons you can, or if you got an beam booster off the black market you can put that on there in place of one of the weapon mounts.
You may be wondering where do the zombies come in. Eventually, you see the true reason why the UTA have put up the blockades. The UTA have been trying to keep an uncontrollable disease from spreading. It is a biological paste that infects ships and takes them over with the crew inside. Infected ship will attack everything, so if one of your own ships gets infects it will turn on you. There are two ways to prevent your ships being converted into zombie ships. If you have enough crew you can wait it out and hope your crew can fight them off; or you can go into the tactics tab and select the infected ship and vent your crew to space.
I would have found it better if a vent crew button would have popped up on the main screen when a ship got infected instead of having to go to another window tab. However, I guess it kind of make sense to have it in another tab since if you have to vent your ship you will lose all but one of you crew members. So you better hope there are some goons around that you can pick up. Other wise if your ship gets infected again its gone because you can’t vent your last crew member; someone has to fly the ship. The tactics tab is also where you can adjust the AI for the ships you are not actively controlling. I never really found the need to adjust the AI; it’s very good. The default is set so that all ships are defensive and will assist in attacking whatever the player is attacking. This can be changed to have them fire at will or be aggressive or passive.
I only have two complaints about this game. The first being that it just seems to progress very slowly. However, I kind of blame this one on myself not fully understanding the dynamics of the game and getting side tracked by trying to buy all the black market items I could. Once I started focusing on the main objective and doing what I had to do and just got to the next objective it moved faster. My second complaint would be that because the way the backdrop to the game is, it some times seems like your not moving at all. Again though, I can understand this because, well, you are in space and planets are massive! So you might be moving fast but it won’t look like it if there are on other ships flying around you the only point of reference you have is a planet.
I have to say I was every impressed by this game. It is very visually pleasing, very addicting, and has a lot for replay ability. For only have two people working on this game they really didn’t leave anything out. In fact I would go as far as to say it might even be one of the best games I have played this year. Good work guys you did a great job!