A simple review
Contents as for now:
-a lot of ships (in the order of dozens) with 3 graphic styles (3 factions) -correction: 4 factions, 4 styles, about 3 dozens ships-
-campaign mode story-driven with text acting (still can't say how many sub missions) - 6 sub missions until now.
-1 small skirmish battle (ships only, no structures) -correction: other 4 missions came out after campaign progression - with structures too.
-full (probably) tutorial section (several tutorials covering basics)
-mission editor (can place asteroids of different sizes, debries, space dust, mine fields, ships you encountered in the campaign, some structures)
The game has two modes: direct control over a single ship (they are all controllable) and tactical command where you can build and research structures and units.
Direct control: each ship has a set of health points (I don't see any reference to armor or shields), and different weapons (either turreted or fixed forward), most ships have a special secondary attack, each weapon does a set amount of damage (I don't see different damage types) and has a certain behaviour/range.
Movement controls are based on mouse+keyboard or joystick, they are quite hard to get (you can remap control keys), but the flight simulation is convincing (feels like space). Some basic commands are there (switch target, target nearest etc.).
There are 4 possible views on any ship (1st person, 3rd person -or chase-, 3rd person with free camera -like eve online-, but the last one is not suitable for direct control, turret control, single one or all). Correction: there's a fifth view, command, that lets you steer your ship with the mouse, select targets and shoot, very dynamic, very similar to eve online.
When a ship has turrets, they track the targeted enemy on their own while you can fly around.
Tactical command: you can view the map with a far camera, the units are re-rendered as green/yellow/blue small ships with some bloom effect, you can give basi orders, like patrol an area, move to a point, attack etc. You can select multiple units and also give formation orders. You can select your main base and adjust three bars with three resources -research/energy/ore mining. Resources are generated/used every given time. You can build structures (like shipyards, weapon platforms etc. around the base, selecting placement on all three axis.
Tactical view UI is too basic, you have little control over what's happening and the menus with ships and objects in space are lists of units you need to browse with your eyes. There is no clear counter of resources spent/used/available/produced, so you have little knowledge of what you need. Camera controls need a lot of improvements in this mode, for now it's quite hard to move, find, select, command units.
There is no research panel nor research tree. You research a shipyard->build one->research corvette->build corvette, switching to main base to each research, all done in a list menu. You have little information on unit types, their characteristics etc.
Campaign is quite difficult, you can save games and there's an autosave but it's quite difficult to win against an enemy that is most always superior in numbers, usually you'll need to repeat missions in order to do what's right to do and do it faster in order to win.
There is a ship cap devided for ship class, but all is moddable.
Overall I like the direct control mode, it switches to another unit when yours die, with a button you can cycle all your ships, you can control any ship. I like the graphic style, the units are well designed and interesting. What I don't like is the sound, too few sounds, too little music, there's a lot to add in this. I like the graphic style although there's little of interest in space, asteroids and some dust clouds, needs a lot. The background space is convincing but quite sterile. The lack of objects leads to disorientation when using a single ship.
An interesting idea that needs new features, polishing of UI especially in tactical control mode, more sounds and a complete soundtrack. The editor is nice, but should be more open since it would let us learn game basics such as base building/progression and test ships with direct control.
Buy it if you want to support the product and give inputs, wait if you are looking for a finished game. Like all early access we don't know when this will be finished, how many patches-builds will come in the future and at what pace.
The game developer is a nice guy who is willing to confront with the crowd, speaks english and is dedicated since kickstarted his project, a true indie.
Update after some more time in game:
I'm experiencing a lot of crashes, random ones, I can't replicate them in any way and there's little I can do to report bugs etc. As regarding the campaign I've reached a stalemate, my progress is frustrated by crashes and extreme difficulty, my side and the enemy's are so well placed we both toss each other small fleets of 8/10 ships (there's a cap of some sort I can't figure out more information) and the attacker loses always. Finally, the interface in tactical mode is quite difficult to navigate, especially when it comes to move commands in the xyz axis, there's no clear way to distinguish the position at the end of the move.
You can upgrade your flag ship with several improvements, from auto-repairs to engine to turrets (additional). The way you do it is quite nice, get the ship closer to a transfer structure, order to move some resources into the ship (this action is shown in game by crates popping out of the structure and flying towards the ship) and then order the upgrades you want (there's a timer).
Update2: after quite some more time.
Looks like crashing bugs were related to something in the 3rd mission of the campaign, maybe attacking some enemy platforms. I still get a crash from time to time.
I have to point out that there are 4 factions I've seen now. The progression in game not only unlocks ships and factions in the mission editor but also adds single missions (scenarios) to be played.
Update3:I managed to unlock all ships via some out of game files, which I opened in wordpad. The game truly is moddable, you can modify practically all ship data, damage, HP, speed, acceleration, even the phisics (reaction controls), ROF/speed of projectiles or missiles, and I looked at their textures too, all of this was very accessible (considering I have no idea how to mod a game), and there is a practical folder for mods, that folder will prioritize loading any mod file named after game files, so you only have to drop your modifications there without touching the vanilla game files.