This review was conducted using a code given to us by the game’s publisher. This does not affect our judgement of the game in any way, and is explained for the purposes of transparency.
Genesis Alpha One is a fresh new take on shooter games mixing a rogue-like element, allowing the player to take the reigns when exploring the mysterious quadrant – Alpha One. The player must safeguard the future of humanity, by locating and settling planets, taking care of any threats along the way.
Published by Team 17 and Developed by Radiation Blue in their first project, Genesis Alpha One throws the player into the captains seat, allowing you to create your own ship from the ground up, so to speak. Setting the layout the way you wish to create it, the Captain is required to build certain rooms to support his crew, farm materials, and create a suitable biosphere. Depending on the faction you choose at the beginning of your game, you can start with more materials, allowing you to start with additional rooms or modules. These allow you to land on planets and create more crew members, as well as research and create weapons.
The first challenge I found was when using a module called the Tractor Beam, that allows the Captain to obtain processed materials. This comes with risk however, allowing aliens on board your ship! If left unchecked, this can quickly lead to infestation which can be a massive pain. One particular infestation I encountered involved large spider-like aliens, as well as an illness infecting the clones working in the Module. This illness caused the clones to cough and spread eggs all over the ship… and I mean all over. The taken-ill-clones decided that they wanted to go to the crew quarters, on the other side of the ship spewing alien eggs everywhere.
I decided to split the ship, having a living side and an industrial side, one side containing crew quarters, greenhouses and clone labs, the other containing material storage, tractor beam and several other modules. After several bug-deaths later, as well as the Captains death,in which a spider jumped on my face in the access shafts killing me instantly and scaring me half to death, I had decided to pretty much jettison the infected area. I closed off the spread of infection, and destroyed the infected modules, as well as the spiders and infected crew.
Harsh I know, but hey, it worked?
Genesis Alpha One allows the Captain to land on and explore planets, with each planet feeling unique. After roughly 15 hours of game play, I never felt that I was visiting the same planet again. The team at Radiation Blue did a brilliant job of creating these unique planets. When the captain disembarks in the Harvester to a planet, they are presented with an area to explore, which can contain material ores, plant life and sites. Sites allow you to collect new module designs, transmissions for upgrades and artefacts that can give the player a buff when starting a new game.
Visiting planets allows the Captain to encounter aliens of different varieties; bugs, strange rock monsters and sentient alien pirates are some to name a few. Slaying these aliens allows you to collect biological materials and alien DNA. Materials allow you to produce clones in a Clone Lab, given there is enough space for them. This allows for faster passive processing, or better survival, depending on the alien DNA integrated into the clone. Although, several things I must point out, which stood out when visiting planets. The AI can be quite strange, often wandering between two points, not able to defend themselves very well. Turrets do help, but I would expect the crew to defend themselves better, especially since they are your remaining lives.
The UI can be quite clunky too, with no ADS available, the player must hip fire very small aliens. This can be quite the task if the player does not have a shotgun, which is quite possible considering some factions do not start with a shotgun. Another thing, (and this is nitpicking admittedly…) the collector, the tool used to collect materials, has a strange looping sound when in use. A beam sound plays followed by a brief break, then the exact sound loops again. For me, sound is an integral part of a game experience, and Genesis Alpha One has good sound, apart from this one thing, but it is an simple fix, so its not a huge takeaway from the whole experience.The lab allows the research of new and different types of clones, with different strengths and weaknesses. However, different types of clones will need different atmospheres, requiring the Captain to collect different plant samples and planting them in the greenhouse.
After exploring, killing, scavenging and building for some time, I was presented with an alert – “Genesis candidate discovered”. On my first playthrough, the candidate required the crew to breathe a different atmosphere than I had been cultivating, which was disheartening, though not the fault of the game, just bad luck. Subsequent playthroughs lead to discoveries of O2 rich Genesis candidates though, followed by my first completion of Genesis. After creating enough crew members to initiate the Genesis, I travelled to the planet. After landing on the planet I was met with my crew stood in a formation, saluting me. This made me feel pretty good if I’m being honest, having lead this crew through uncharted space and finding a planet was very satisfying!
However, it was not over.
After being directed to a terminal, which would finally initiate Genesis, contacting Earth with the location of a safe haven, I was informed that a large creature currently nests in the nearby caves and I, as the Captain, was tasked with the elimination of it. Venturing to the caves presented me hordes of nasty bugs, eggs all over, and finally, the Queen. This behemoth of a bug stampeded towards me, which of course, led me into a panic as I scampered away to collect my thoughts. After coming up with a tactic, picking up some turrets from the surface, I ran back inside, planting the turrets and facing the Horde. The turrets made short work of the little bugs, but did nothing to the Queen, as it plowed on toward me, me firing madly in its direction as I moved backwards, trying to navigate the cave in reverse. Then, a loud scream/roar sounded, one of the large glowing sacs on the Queen destroyed from my blind fire, so, of course, I focused on hitting the other large sac, swiftly dispatching the beast.
Honestly I was a little disappointed, though exhilarating and tense, I expected more from the Queen, rather than an insta-killer-mob-spawner, with a large glowing and quite obvious weakness. I guess it took me a while to find it as I wasn’t expecting such an obvious weakness? No matter, I quickly ventured back to the surface, satisfied with my casual purging of alien life, finally initiating Genesis. From here, a cutscene plays, followed by your game stats.
I hope I only scratched the surface with this game, I feel like there is so much to explore and encounter. I look forward to doing so in future playthroughs! But this, I’m afraid, is where the review ends. Overall, I would recommend this game for people who love retro themed rogue-like games. This games brings a fresh, new twist to the genre, allowing the player to take complete control and explore as they wish, encountering the many dangers that this quadrant presents, conquering them as they please. I hope the team at Radiation Blue continues their work on this game, and many games in the future. If they continue to release games like this, they will be a name to be remembered.
- Fresh and new concepts
- Player assumes complete control, not restricted in any way
- Retro style UI and music brings back nostalgia and works very well with the game
- AI can be a little strange at times
- The collector tool has a strange looping sound when being used
- Controls can be a little clunky, especially when trying to shoot very small aliens, with no ADS, can be a pain
Genesis Alpha One is truly a unique game and one to keep an eye on. I hope that Radiation Blue continues to make games that bring new ideas to the table, as well as improve this game. A fun, creative exploration game, that truly allows the player to create their own experience. Genesis Alpha One is a game I would thoroughly recommend