The Basics: Open-Universe Space Flight Simulator
Previous Time Spent: 10 minutes
Expectation of learning Curve: high
Why I bought this: Escape Velocity Shaped Itch in my heart
My 3 hours: I spent my first hour with Evochron Mercenary setting up my first character, a mercenary pilot by the name of Blaze (named after the asshole/constant love interest from Burning Love). I like to imagine that like the Onion article from a few years back, Blaze is some kind of grizzled future mercenary, and obviously vapes inside the pressurized cabin of his little starter space-craft.
Highlights of hour one included generally figuring out how to control my vessel (and it handles pretty well with the mouse and keyboard), approaching a planetary surface and then blowing up while trying to leave, going into hyperspace and blowing up. I continued the theme of explosions when I took on a contract to blow up asteroids for a company, this time inflicting the explosions on inanimate space-rocks.
In hour 2, I attempted to figure out how to leave the star system, and found that my initial craft, while capable of traveling great distances within seconds, wasn't capable of interstellar travel. So, I started working to earn the space-bucks necessary to buy a more capable drive-system for my craft. Before I could get far with this, I was faced with the emergency of running out of fuel, necessitating a trip to a space-station, which I ended up drifting around the interior of, due to my confusion with the controls.
I managed to avoid blowing up, and continued asteroid mining. This was a bit of a grind, but between the soothing music and the eventual goal of traveling further, I quite enjoyed it. The cost of fuel is high enough that earning profits was kind of slow, but I appreciate not being coddled. The last thing I did in hour 3 was randomly attack a fellow miner in order to check out how ship to ship combat actually works. I was surprised to find that when I attacked this hapless vessel, a bunch of space-cops jumped into the battle on my side, leading to a really sad and one-sided victory. Still thrilling to fly around firing lasers into the void though.
In hour 3, I spent more time tooling around space and tried out a couple other roles. First off, I approached a blue-green planet that looked like Earth with a ring-system around it. I entered a close orbit, and carefully flew into the atmosphere, checking out breathtaking vistas of seas and the rings themselves. Beautiful, but the planet approach necessitates caution (due to heat), so I eventually got bored and blew myself up by accelerating too quickly.
It was after this explosion that I decided to check out flying as a combat pilot and a miner/trader. The combat flight was a little bit beyond my skill level, and after getting blown up a couple times, I tried out the miner/trader vessel. That was when I really started having fun with the game, and imagining myself accumulating the space-dubloons to really make something of myself. It was there in the third hour that I figured out more about fuel-management and ways to consistently make a profit (and avoid blowing myself up).
My Highlight: Realizing that my jump-drive/short range FTL eats up less fuel (or maybe basically none) than my afterburner, and figuring out how to make serious profits on contracts. Either that or coming close enough to a planetary surface to see plant-life, etc.
My Verdict: Evochron is a satisfying way to scratch the sort of itch that Escape Velocity did for me when I was younger. It requires some patience, so I can't say I'd always be in the mood for it, but I'm very pleased that I spent $4-7 on it some 5 years ago. I'd recommend it if you're looking for a less demanding (on your system), slightly calmer and less-simulationist version of Elite-Dangerous.
Next post will be on October 23rd, where I'll be reviewing Fez