Starship Rubicon is a modern take on the classic space shooter genre. It's a smart and challenging rogue-lite that features a unique control scheme, pixel art remixed with NASA photographs, and an existential crisis about who is REALLY the monster.
User reviews:
Positive (22 reviews) - 100% of the 22 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Dec 12, 2014

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“Starship Rubicon, to my surprise, combines the nostalgia of old arcade shooters with the complexity of modern space simulators to create an altogether amazing game that will have you playing, and dying, for hours on end.”
10/10 – Bezoned

“On the surface, Starship Rubicon looks like a basic arcade style space shooter with some roguelike elements. Underneath there are a lot of fun mechanics that will feel familiar to experienced gamers. It would be easy to simply call this game a mashup of many other titles, but that wouldn’t do justice to what Starship Rubicon delivers.”
True PC Gaming

“Starship Rubicon is like FTL, Asteroids, and Luftrausers all got busy inside of a wool sleeping bag.”
10/10 – Indie Game Bundles

About This Game

In Starship Rubicon, Earth has been casually destroyed by a mysterious race of space-faring invertebrates. You are a fighter pilot whose cryopod has been collected by a possibly-insane AI, who has placed you in the unenviable position of being humanity’s savior. Shanghaied and alone, you must gather the remaining human survivors and traverse the surprising biodiversity of deep space to find a new home.

{NeoGAF writeup}

Key Features

  • Quick Gameplay - Pilot your ship in fast-paced shoot-em-up, featuring a unique approach to arcade physics and controls.
  • Customize Your Ship - Upgrade your ship with a Tetris-styled hangar bay as you find weapons and items on your quest.
  • Randomized Universe - Make your way through a diverse galaxy as you encounter interesting new lifeforms. Each play session generates a new path of enemies, allies, and items.
  • Casual Roguelike - When your ship blows up, that's the end of the line for that game. However, if you collect enough crystal shards by the end of a sector you can save your ship to re-launch it on another level.
  • A Fleet Of Ships To Play - Do you prefer fast ships for run and gun? Do you like something that takes a punch but isn't as agile? Start the game with 3 different ships and spend shards to unlock more ships with unique abilities!
  • Mod-friendly - Since ships and weapons are exposed in simple external .lua scripts, modding and creating your own content only requires a text editor!

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: XP
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Storage: 35 MB available space
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • OS: OSX 10.6
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Storage: 35 MB available space
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.04
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL-supported
    • Storage: 35 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL-supported
    • Additional Notes: Needs 32-bit OpenAL normal and dev libraries, see readme.txt for instructions.
Customer reviews
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Positive (22 reviews)
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19 reviews match the filters above ( Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
23 of 25 people (92%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 13, 2015
Very impressive and clearly inspired by the best elements of the genre (arcade gaming, FTL, Starfox) with tons of nice throwbacks. Gameplay is solid and varied, and the music and sound design oozes with authenticity and epic pleasure, which is very fitting for the space setting. The writing is also extremely charming and includes thoughtful commentary, and the equipment-allocation element is very fun and new (symmetry rules!) I can tell the developer really hit the nail on the head with this one, and I'm so glad they did. Highly recommended, one of my favorites of all-time.
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19 of 19 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 20, 2015
Far more going on than initially meets the eye

  • interesting graphics and art style – screenshots really don't do this game justice
  • really good music - don't be surprised if the "Lone Ranger Theme" song pops in your head at some point :D
  • fluid and intuitive gameplay
  • light, witty banter
  • an AI despot to thoughtfully guide you in tearing an extra orifice in most of the life-forms you encounter
  • good variety of ships and enemy encounters
  • unique and interesting ship customisation allowing scores of outfitting options
  • rogue-like
  • the feeling of skilfully progressing as a player
  • huge re-playability
  • gamepad support - though I highly recommend mouse, mouse/ keyboard
  • level editor

  • no Steam achievements

If you like FTL, SPAZ or just arcade space games in general, this game will hook you. Each level has forward-moving, branching pathways for you to choose. Guided by Control, your AI helper/ dictator, you'll encounter Nemesis (your enemy), ships in distress that will become fighting companions to an extent should they survive the skirmish (some of them offering some kind of beneficial boost), cryopods to be rescued (the number of those rescued goes toward unlocking many upgrades and ships), armaments, cash-flow, and space anomalies, rocks and intriguing organisms. The story is simplistic, but thought-provoking and hinting at something sinister afoot.

At first glance, the encounters seem similar, until you realise there are various kinds of space rocks that react differently when fired upon; anomalies that affect your ship in a variety of ways and anomalies that can appear owing to results from specific recipes of mayhem; and organisms that may or may not be eye candy or passive-aggressive. A boss fight awaits you at the end of each level, and your ship and its armaments do matter. And speaking of ships, the outfitting is really fun and different, requiring thought and puzzle piece-placement with some restrictions - it's very creative and it really just adds to the game in a great way.

Despite being rogue-like, you do feel a progression in your skills as a player. Your deaths, and there will be many, do not feel out of your control. To the contrary, if you do die, it is solely your fault, and not some random roll of an ether-die. Like me, you may approach this game in a casual mood but it always turns into determination, bursts of triumph and ending with NOOOooooooo defeats. Upon defeat, you may choose to continue for cost, and you will if it's an encounter you just need to get out of your system; but mostly you will Abort because in doing so, the game is at its most rogue-ish (as well as the money you make stockpiling toward unlocking ships and upgrades eventually).

There are so many fun mechanics going on here, reminding you of this or that game; but honestly, Starship Rubicon is a game in its own right. I would be floored if it doesn't become a cult classic. The developer is friendly and involved, proud of his work, and he should be. I look forward to what he may develop in the future and wish him and Starship Rubicon great success.

9.5 space popsicles out of 10 …. I'll add the .5 in exchange for Steam achievements ;)
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13 of 13 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 13, 2015
Having helped kickstart this game and following it through its various iterations, it kept on getting better and better.
It's a fun little game blending asteroids with rogueish elements, with a neat ship customisation mechanic and great retro graphics and music.
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18 of 22 people (82%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
28.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 13, 2015
It's a cute, entertaining Asteroids-style Newtonian space shooter with some Roguelike elements, a bit of humor, a nice spacey and retro vibe, and an easy to understand but actually rather interesting ship customization system.

And, thankfully, no sideways thrusters, which are just silly in games like this.
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10 of 10 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 14, 2015
Controls feel great. Quite fun.
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9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 30, 2015
So, I havent had all that much time with this game just yet, but... even after just 90 minutes, I can honestly say, I think this game is brilliant. It's good enough that it leaves this impression on me that quickly... for me, this is very rare.

Starship Rubicon is an interesting beast.... it uses a whole pile of different elements that were inspired by many seperate games. But the thing that makes it so good is that it takes all of these disparate elements, smashes them together... and they WORK together. They dont conflict with each other at any point.

At it's base, this game uses Asteroids-style gameplay and controls. You have a "thrust" button to move your ship forwards, and then other buttons to turn it left or right; you also have a "boost" function that you can use. There are even actual asteroids floating around in many areas, which work pretty much as you'd expect, and generally making your life that much tougher. From there though, the game goes in it's own seperate directions. Your ship is not static, but is instead made of various "parts" that you can equip, that give abilities or change stats, or things like that. This includes changing both your basic weapon (and you can have more than one) or your special weapon, an activated ability that has a cooldown and also knocks out your shields for a bit upon use. You cant just equip everything though; each piece of equipment has a shape to it, sort of like blocks in Tetris. You have to fit these blocks inside the ship properly, or they cannot be used. What's more, some items are meant to modify others, and will only work if linked to the system they're modifying, which means you have to place it adjacent to that system for it to function whatsoever. So this can create some interesting decisioni-making when you're changing your equipment.

Equipment can be either found in battlefields, or bought in stores. Stores are easily the most frequent way to get equipment. The rate of equipment actually being FOUND is very low... a bit TOO low in my opinion. You end up not getting all that much total, which is a shame, because it reduces the amount of interesting decisions that you'd need to make. There's no need to decide between two items after all if both of them easily fit onto the ship. If you're not getting enough items, you wont be filling it. So there's a bit of RNG issues here with this system, but it's not enough of an issue at all to detract from how well it works. There are many different weapons and things to find, so look for them, and try them out, and see what kinds of builds you can make for yourself. Most of these different items and such are also just plain fun to use.... that's ALWAYS a plus.

Between missions, you're sent to sort of an overall sector map. It's very similar to the map that FTL uses, in that you move forward from one node to the next, with each individual node having specific links to other nodes to choose from. Around each node, you can see icons representing the different enemy types that are going to appear in that area, so it's important to learn these and have a look as you make decisions. Other things will appear here too, such as hazards, or the existence of items or "money asteroids" or shops or various other things. You can also find other ships to rescue, and if you are successful in saving them, they will join you on your quest. Each one provides a unique ability that becomes active whenever they participate in a battle with you, and you choose when to bring them in by clicking them on the sector map. They have a cooldown time afterwards, and can also be knocked out by enemies during battle... so take care of them, when you bring them with you. The one big problem with them though is that they just arent very bright. Asteroids in particular will give your AI allies alot of trouble as they repeatedly crash into them. By the late game, these guys arent as useful, simply due to the fact that they'll be knocked out of the fight too quickly to help much.

And on the note of the enemies you face, each type is different from the last, and you quickly learn to recognize each by it's appearance, which is very important. There are different approaches that you should take depending on just what you're fighting, and what weapon you're using, and there can be many enemies at once. Some enemies may have beam weapons, or maybe homing missiles, or shields, or even the ability to shield other enemies. And of course, it wouldnt be a shmup of any sort if there werent gigantic bosses to fight at the end of each sector.

All in all, there's alot going on for this game, and I think there's plenty of replay value; naturally, everything is procedural when it comes to the maps and sectors and such, so each game will be different. The campaign is short, but that's typical for this genre, and probably for the best.

Is it worth your money? If you like shmups at all.... I'd definitely say yes. It easily lives up to it's asking price and more, I think. I can definitely recommend this one!
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9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 15, 2015
It's like a modern take on asteroids, the controls are simple, the gameplay is simple, yet has enough finesse for you not to just fall asleep at the keyboard. The game has a good sense of humor, and the customization aspect, like the rest of the game: is simple but rewarding.

My only real problem with the game is that it's really short. But you can make your own missions and ships too, so that's pretty cool.

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9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 31, 2015
I'm terrible at this kind of game, but at least with Starship Rubicon it's fun while I'm repeatedly dying. The difficulty curve ramps up nicely, and the controls are stellar. It's got a bit of everything; the classic space shooter mechanics you'd expect, with semi-FTL-style upgrades, ship unlocks, etc.

It's a roguelike-like, so you're expected to die and start over, and it doesn't hurt to do so, death just makes you want to get further next time.

It has gamepad support if you need that, but I find I prefer the mouse controls, which is a first for this kind of game.

The graphics and soundtrack are top-notch, and really help set the mood. You have a funny AI companion through the whole thing as well, adding more charm. As someone in another review said, the screenshots don't do it justice.

The Windows, Mac, and Linux versions look and feel identical, I had no issues running either version.

Highly recommended to anyone who loves space shooters, or those who have been frustrated with space shooters in the past, and think they would love them with the right controls.

My hours on record for this game are low because I played the game mostly before its Steam release.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 29, 2015
I've played this game for 3 hours, unlocked a few new ships, beat the game and yet there's still so much to do.
It's great little game with fun and easy to understand mechanics, and you can play it for however long you want to whether that be 10 minutes or several hours but as soon as you start playing you'll be hooked and you'll just keep coming back to it. And with all the ships and their differing playstyles and editors there's a huge amount of varity for such a small game, was the most fun I've had in one of these types of games in a looong time, well worth buying.
10/10 Would grand gate parade again
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 17, 2015
The first time i've played the game, i got many problems with framerate and there was many bugs with sprites. But the Dev is aware and care of your situation and solved the problem rapidly.

The game itself is nice, take some rogue-like elements, RPG items, Asteroid gameplay and a huge replayability, take all of those things into a shaker and tadam : Starship Rubicon

If you like games like Starsector, space game and shooter, this is for you !
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Recently Posted
10.6 hrs
Posted: August 11
I played this game during my last semester when i was writing essays and i gotta say that this game
was really good to help me focus and relieve some stress. I would not say it is among my favorite games
but for its price it is well worth getting and if you are like me who handles stress with playing games this
will probably be a perfect fit. Every game is quite short and the purpose is very clear, there is not really much
storytelling (which i think is good) but is focuses on being a pure space shooter which is does really well.
Overall worth getting and quite entertaining.
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0.5 hrs
Posted: May 18
Fun little indie game, it combines elements from Asteroids, Galaxian and FTL. The graphical style is refreshing. However, sometimes it feels like the game is incomplete, it needs more content and polish.
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9.2 hrs
Posted: May 15
very fun game. graphics are basic but its got it where it counts, playability.
only thing I'd improve is more enemy variety. it has a lot but more couldnt hurt.
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Darth Tater
9.4 hrs
Posted: January 21
This game is simple and fun. Controls are operated by the mouse and two keys on the keyboard.

You play through the game with a map that looks similar to FTL, and at each system you have to defeat a group of enemies. Only a small amount spawn at a time, with new ones spawing after you kill of some of the previous ones, until you have defeated all of them. There are 5 stages, with a boss battle at the end of each one.

The game can be challenging the first playthrough, because you have to use one of the weak ships that you start of with, but after beating the game for the first time (or save up a lot of money) you unlock the hangar, which enables you to customize the ships, upgrading them before launch, and then spending money equivalent to their value to launch them.

Some levels have a fellow human ship in them, which, if they survive that battle, wil join you, and different people have different abilities which can sometimes be quite helpful. Other levels have a shop, where you can spend money to upgrade your ship. Other levels have cryopods, where you have to quickly collect them before being overun by an endless enemy fleet. For some objects in the shop you need to have enough cryopods to be able to purchase them.

The ship faces towards the mouse.
Most weapons fire on left click (shields do not block attacks whilst left click is held down).
Right click thrusts accelerates the ship in the direction it is facing (there is a max speed depending on the ship) (the craft will not slow down on its own).
Shift activates afterburn, which provide greater thrust, but rotating speed is limited whilst in use, and it cannot be used if the ship has overheated.
Space fires secondary weapons/abilities, of which a bit of them cause the ship to overheat.

Very good game 10/10

My prefered way of designing a ship is lots of shilds, with a single powerful low rate of fire weapon.
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4.9 hrs
Posted: January 2
This game is absolutely amazing. I won this at a retro gaming convention at Portland and loved it then, and went home and played it and still love it now. Unfortunately when I got it at home there were some problems with missing enemies. But that has all been fixed, please buy this game and support Wick for he is a great game developer!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Fudgez Jo Momma
1.5 hrs
Posted: December 28, 2015
I dont usually review games but this one is incredible!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
9.2 hrs
Posted: December 5, 2015
The pixel art creates a familiar game style as well as a clean and beautiful design. It's easy to grasp the basics, yet the detailed physics engine, creative stages and lots of diversity in enemies and friends show how much thought went into the creation of this game. The game is easy to get into and play for short amounts of time but has a lot of depth and complexity to explore that make you play it over and over again. There's lots of ship customizability that makes the game accessible to different playing styles - you can play fast and action-packed, slow and calculated, or luck of the draw by stocking up on weapons that allow you to run around in a confused panic and then deploy all your ammunition at once. The amount of variation between the different ships and types of levels allows for all sorts of challenges, and the ability to save up and unlock new options means that you never get stuck doing the same thing over and over with no progress.

Also, the game has a lot of style. Both the graphics and music are really captivating. There's a wide variety of ships, weapons, and enemies to interact with. If you feel like tutorials are for chumps you can get pretty far just by ramming into your enemies (and fist-bumping your friends). If you like figuring out the intricacies of a game there's a lot to explore here, from critical hits to reflecting lasers off of inanimate objects and shields to creating your own levels. If you despise fighting and just like drawing cool contrail patterns, you can usually pull that off too. Your onboard computer, who narrates much of the game, has plenty of snaky comments to make when you fail. The allies you can acquire will have conversations with each other, making it fun to gather different groups together. Sometimes, there are biscuitfish, which are like biscuit-shaped cuttlefish. They float around in packs and trill and cycle through the colors of the rainbow. I don't understand them but they make satisfying sounds if you blow them up.

I would definitely recommend this game! It's well worth the price and a great game to come back to again and again.
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5.8 hrs
Posted: November 29, 2015
More thorough reviews already exist. I'll just laud a couple of things:
  • the clever writing (scientifically literate item texts, cohorts capable of changing a run's tenor, and a just payoff not in spite, but in light of railroading).
  • the aversion of power creep (few strict upgrades, elegant ship designs receive stat boosts and cheaper maintenance).
Oh, and there's a couple of pseudo-features (deleting the only layout of a ship in the hangar produces unintended UI behavior and re-locks the ship; reloading a mid-campaign save adds to the bank each time) that I don't mind at all, really.
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0.2 hrs
Posted: November 10, 2015
before i even started playing, flashing buttons giving me a siezure. x-box controller doesn't work with the game. only one button works.
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