Since a number of people were asking me to re-review the game in its current state, I finally relented and decided to try the game again. These are my thoughts.
I find that many improvements have indeed been made. This is to be expected, and very much welcomed. I find that many of the features such as the shipyard and flight models have been improved with more easy-to-use controls and additional features. A quick rundown of some of the key features and improvements I noticed:
* Better inter/intra-system navigation and map
* Slightly improved combat gameplay
* Improved flight model and warp systems
* Missions, Cargo, and semi-functional stores
* Semi-functional "career" mode. More on this below.
Some things that are still issues:
* Not developer's fault, but many workshop ships no longer function out-of-the-box due to creators failing to update them for new patches.
* Overall, game still feels quite clunky and difficult to use. Somewhat high learning curve unless you're wiling to read a lot.
>> Documentation has been improved. Just be prepared for lots of reading.
* Crash to desktop is common. Crashes more as your ship's # of modules increase
>> Relatively decent auto-save means you won't loose too much progress.
* See more below
The game is still quite confusing and you often still don't even know what's going on. There's still a lot left to be desired I think.
Overall, the game has improved. Though I can't say that this is something to get especially excited about. "Why are you being such a debbie downer" you ask? Well, it's an alpha. It is SUPPOSED to improve. If it didn't, it's not worthy of even being sold.
I still do not recommend this game. There is a "But" however... Here are my thoughts
Many critical features have been added and improved to a more usable state. The warp mechanism has been tremendously improved. The shipyard build system also deserves a mention as a vast improvement. More customizability and more controls to fine tune your construction. Though this can make things a bit more confusing to the new person or returning player, as with some of the other expanded features. This is made up for with the improved documentation. But beware, decent amounts of reading is required. There are also some tweaks and improvements to the combat system. It makes more sense but can still be awkward. The galaxy map has also gotten a big makeover and is MUCH easier to understand.
There are many things that still are confusing and unfinished in this game. The "career" mode is clearly unfinished and requires more attention. From what I can tell, it's a misleadingly named "survival" mode at the moment. However, it fails at that as well. You have credits and the idea is to earn more through cargo or more "illigitimate" means. Basically, you start out by picking ANY ship from the workshop or stock selections. No cost. If you run out of money buying cargo to load into your mega-freighter you downloaded and didn't have to pay for, then just select any of the ship-part categories and sell any number of the "999" parts you somehow own from the start. Just sell a couple Tier 5 weapons or ship bridges and you immediately have so much cash that the display has to use exponential notation (e.g. 1,000,000^E10).
Verdict: Not recommended. The game is still definitely unfinished. There is not much polish. While there are a number of great improvements, I still cannot justify this game as a purchase. It's confusing for new/returning players unless you're a quick learner or wanna read all the documentation. Without developer input, I estimate this game is less than 50% done; though considerably more than the 6% quoted by the dev around the time of my original review 7 months ago.
My point still stands. Do not buy the game unless you want to support the developer or really like the idea this game stands for. It is playable now, so if you just really wanna get into space and do things, then go for it. I recommend waiting until a sale, however. It is not worth $19.99 to me. If it had a price-tag of about $10, it may be a good price if you're willing to put up with the downsides of a relatively mid-level-alpha.
I don't recommend this game. Yet. If the features they have planned for this game come to pass, then this game will definitely be worth its price. For now, I'd only recommend getting this on a Steam sale. This is a VERY early access with only a few of the main features added. The building and customization functionality does have a lot going for it and has a lot of potential. The rest of the game is still somewhat confusing, clunky, and still very clearly unfinished.
My advice? Wait a while. Or buy this game simply to support development of the game. Buying it to play it may end you up with some serious disappointment. Don't get me wrong though, as I said, this game has potential. As the developer stated in another negative review, this game is only approximately 6% finished. Do not expect much from it.