Spacebase DF-9 Game Review

I have been playing an Alpha version of Double Fine’s Spacebase DF-9. The idea of the game really appealed to me, and the video on Steam was enough to get me to install it. It is a strategy/sandbox game where you build a space station. You get to mine asteroids, deal with your inhabitants needs, and welcome aliens and peoples of all types aboard to work different duties aboard your custom base.

What I didn’t realize was how Alpha this game really is. There isn’t many options, though the ones that do exist are fairly bug free. I have a few things that were some major issues in play and enjoyment, but I had tons of fun during the early game each time I reset.

spacebase-df9

Negatives
First off, there is no easy way to tell if I have enough oxygen in my space station. The system said I had lots available, but everything dropped to 30% oxygen for some reason. My station was rather large, does the area of station count? If it does, I need to have some UI to know that this is the case because I was super confused at what was happening and it was resolved when I made more air scrubbers.

Seems like I need almost three times the amount of technicians as any other profession. It also doesn’t help that the technicians continually set fire to the things they are fixing. Thankfully, the setting of fires is a known bug.

The game lacks information. How much help is a bar to the happiness of my citizens? What does it really do? How much ore can a refinery process at one time? They are still working on the user interface, and I hope this will be rectified a bit in the future.

Security Personnel will go to derelict ships. I set a marker for them to investigate a ship that had docked, and once they were done, they started going into nearby derelict ships. If they encounter someone and die in the airlock, the airlock won’t seal. Other forces, trapped outside, will wait until they die trying to get in.

When demolishing a structure, sometimes my guys tried to do it from inside the room, causing them to be sucked out into space. Pathfinding is a bit broken, and I’m not given overrides to tell them to put on a spacesuit before demolishing a room that would put them into space.

Derelicts and random ships docking onto my space station happens far too much. Thankfully this is a known issue and will be scaled differently.

Positives
The game is fun to play, especially at the start. There is a low barrier to entry, and a quick YouTube video will teach you all the basics. It doesn’t take long until you have about half a dozen guys on your station, and that is currently the sweet spot of entertainment in my mind. While you do get lots of new citizens at a good rate, the game doesn’t yet have anywhere else to go at this point.

Future
Of course, it is just an Alpha, and so I wouldn’t really tell you to spend money on this game yet. I can’t wait for the objects in the game to have upgrades, better oxygen scrubbers, and more types of refineries.

Hand in hand with that is more types of items. That’ll be great. I can’t wait. I am also looking forward to more control. I’d love to be able to set-up external and/or internal defences, have a hydroponics bay, name different sections, etc…

This has the pieces to be a great game, but for now, it is an interesting demo. In the end, I currently give this game a 2/5, with a potential for 4/5.

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