Early-Access, review current as of 7/28/14
Ever since I was a kid, it seemed like a dream to have a game where you could fly around in space, then seamlessly land on a planet. A few games have tried this (mostly unsuccessfully), but right off the bat, Rodina pulls it off beautifully. Entering an atmosphere is intense, and you really get a sense of a given planet's scale as you're hurtling towards it as a fireball. Managed to land successfully on my first go, which says something for the intuitiveness of the controls!
Not interested in being a meteorite? There's space combat! Yep, good old shooty fun, right in your own personal ship. Since movement/phsyics appear to be mostly Newtonian, it's less like flying a fighter plane, and a bit more like playing 3D Asteroids. I can tell you that's a lot more fun than it sounds in text: my usual tactic is to cruise-drive up to a group of enemies, spray them in the face, then zip off a few thousand meters in a random direction before their shots land. Tricky, yes. Possible to crash doing this? Oh yes. Very exhilarating!
What's that? Don't like being stuck seeing the outside of the ship only? Then wander around in the inside of it! Check out the furniture, play with the knobs, pull the levers, all that good stuff. From start to finish, it's pretty immersive, especially for an early access game. Whether you're checking your radio, messing with your bed, or putting out a massive fire, first-person in the ship just feels right, not unlike seeing FTL from a personal perspective.
From a development perspective, Rodina reminds me of how Minecraft was in 2011: loads of fun, and just waiting to be packed with new goodies over time. The upside to this, of course, is players will be able to say exactly what they hope to see, and good ideas might end up put in by Elliptic Games. Given the sheer number of games touting themselves as "early access", yet being little more than a proof-of-concept that makes little progress over a year or more, it's refreshing to see a game out there that doesn't pretend to be something it isn't. Devs aren't calling it complete, but they also haven't put up the equivalent of a semi-interactive demo, like many other early access games do. There is quite a bit in here to keep you busy, and given the ambitious nature of the game, I expect we'll see much, much more.
tldr: If you love space games, buy this. If you want to fly around and shoot things in space, buy this. If you want to see what is, to me, one of the more impressive space-to-atmosphere landing mechanics systems, buy this. Heck, if you like Kerbal Space Program, buy this!
...oops, ship caught on fire while I was writing this, brb