By Josh Speer / September 2nd, 2014
Remember how, as a kid, we are hardwired with that desire to mix and match random stuff to make cool monsters? That, in a nutshell, is the premise of Habitat. Funded on Kickstarter and set to release on PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, it is a story of humanity surviving in the vastness of space. Earth has been ravaged, and humanity only survives on small space stations that orbit the blue sphere. In order to protect your station, you are tasked with sending astronauts to graft random pieces of space junk onto yourself, making a massive bulwark against the foes that threaten you.
The only real limit to your imagination is the number of connection points on any given surface. Once you select a piece of space junk, you will see how many points it has, as well as every other piece attached to your station. You can rotate them and place them where you want, and then wait as your astronauts collect them and bring them to be joined to your station. Controls utilize the mouse and keyboard, and for the most part it works marvelously. You can map key junk to specific buttons, which saves you the time of personally clicking a piece when you want to turn it on or off. You even have the option to freeze combat and toggle features of parts on or off. My only real complaint is how realistic the physics in the game are. You have to know exactly how and when to thrust your boosters on, otherwise you’ll be spinning in space. This is further complicated when your station comes under attack.
See, you’re not the only one scavenging space junk out there. There are alien entities also doing so, and they are less than welcoming — especially if you try and destroy them to take their junk. But the real threat are the nano swarms that only attack you when your amount of salvage becomes a threat. These horrible creatures can appear out of thin air (or space) and start hurling debris at your ship. Once you’re crippled, they leave you alone, but since the whole point is to build large stations and navigate space, this is a bit of a problem. Luckily, you can build more than one habitat at a time, but you need to always be weary of this threat. In my demo, they appeared smack dab near my station, and when I turned to fire up on them, they got lodged in my station. Suffice to say, I didn’t last long. But that’s more on my lack of ability than anything.
If Habitat looks at all interesting, and it should, then the good news is you can play it now. Though it’s still in development, it is currently in Early Access on Steam. You can play and help the team with suggestions, as well as debug. I did have a lot of fun with this game, and recommend it to any with a yearning to explore space, or just hook a T-Rex head to the front of your station. I know I did.