Welcome, one and all, to another Crowdfunding Spotlight! This time around, I was invited by Frozen Realm Studios to check out their Kickstarter campaign for Final Equinox: The Arrival. I was also lucky enough to get to take an early look at the playable demo (available now on the Kickstarter page). But, what is it, and what did I think? Let’s explore …
Final Equinox: The Arrival
Welcome to the world of Final Equinox: The Arrival. A turn-based spaceship role-playing game. You are an admiral of a newly formed fleet stationed in the Outer Worlds, a place overrun by raiders, rebels, and marauders. They fight against you with tactics you have never trained for. Final Equinox puts you in the driver’s seat and allows you to make decisions that will shape the world around you.
Game info from publisher:
- The game is being developed for Windows, Mac and Linux.
- The game is a turn-based tactical RPG with branching path, visual-novel style story elements.
- Campaign Kickstarter Page
- Campaign Twitter Account
- Game Website
Before I get into my thoughts on how the game plays, I want to start by talking a little about the artwork. The team took their inspiration from 70’s and 80’s sci-fi, with a view to avoiding it all being too visually dark. If you ever had an interest in vintage sci-fi, you’ll be able to see the influences there. I used to see similar pieces on the covers to old novels that I’d pick up in my youth, as well as in shows on the TV. It goes beyond that purely retro feel too though. When you look at the visual novel style sections, you can see hints of a lot of different things there. I got an air of Battlestar Galactica to some of the ship sections, and the characters put me in mind of a cross between Farscape and the recent Star Trek Discovery. This has an old feel to it, sure, but it’s not dated. That’s a good balance to get.
What I got to experience of the branching path system was very good too. Often times, you are given quite a few different options to choose from in terms of how you converse with colleagues in the fleet, and some choices will not only open up other routes, but lead to additional dialogue with members of your crew as they question your actions and decisions. While I only played a small amount of the game, it’s quite clear that there will be a lot to explore here, and that you’ll be able to take your character down a number of different roads personality wise.
When it comes to your character, you are given three different races to choose from, and can then select male or female as you wish. You will also have the option to upgrade your character’s skills as you go along, bringing the RPG elements to the character development. On top of that, you will gain access to a number of different crew members as the story progresses, and will be able to switch out who does what on your ship as you go. This should have a measurable effect too, as their individual skill sets will allow for things like whether or not they can safely navigate your hulk of a ship through asteroid fields or how battles play out. I liked the balance of gameplay styles with this too as, when faced with the fact that my navigator was not skilled enough to bring us through one such asteroid field safely, I was given a number of options as to how to respond to their attempts. This helped create a feel that your choices have genuine consequences, and that you really need to consider how you’re going to play the game in the long-term.
Now, onto the battle system. What we have is essentially what you’d expect from a tactical RPG. You have your ship, your companion ships, and a plethora of actions that you can take, ranging from moving, to firing lasers or missiles, to carrying out repairs. Each action has a cost, and each ship has a limited number of points that can be used per turn. What that means it that you can usually take multiple actions per turn though, allowing you try a few things and build up a system for how to approach enemies. For example:
- Move ship – power up weapon – fire boosted weapon – scan enemy for damage levels.
- Fire laser – move ship – fire laser at different ship – send out fleet.
Your actions have consequences too, with visible percentage ratings for likelihood of landing a successful shot from your current range, and different weapons doing different things (such as lasers initially targeting shields and missiles breaking through them). What this means if that you have a fairly simple interface, but plenty of scope for complex attack patterns. It’s easy to pick up, but there’s plenty to consider.
The battles look pretty nice on screen. If you’re running a lower spec system – like I was – there are options to reduce quality and ensure the continued smooth running of the game too though. Baring in mind that I’m running a laptop with a built in graphics card and had no problems running it, I don’t expect this to force too many players out due to system specs.
In all, my experiences with the game itself were very positive. The world looks set to be vast, and I like the mish-mash of visual novel conversation with RPG battling. Plus, you get to run your own fleet of star ships. How cool is that?
If you want to check it out, head over the Kickstarter page and check out the videos, screenshots and demo!