First Impression: Void Marauders
Release Date: 30 March, 2022 (EA)
Platform: Windows, Linux, MacOS
Genre: Turn-based Tactical
By Chris Picone, 08 April 2022
When I saw Void Marauders, I jumped all over the opportunity to review it because I love a good tactical game and it shares many visual similarities with another game I love, Star Traders: Frontiers. Once inside, they’re actually two very different games. Note that this is an Early Access review. There were quite a few features still unavailable at the time of my playing it (ship upgrades, QoL features yet to be implemented, the other two campaigns, etc.), but I’m going to mostly ignore those for now and talk about the features that are implemented.
In terms of gameplay, Void Marauders is almost exclusively a tactical game. Essentially, you spend your time raiding with your boarding parties, engaging in close tactical combat with the defenders inside the confines of their ship. At the moment, these can get a little repetitive as there’s not much variation between the ships or enemies at the moment, but the dev’s working on adding more. What is exciting is when you board a derelict ship and find it infested with xenobeasts – they’ve already killed the ship’s crew and any salvaging parties. The space station and planetary combat’s been pretty fun so far too, as you find yourself fighting security robots, and the different layouts force you to adopt different strategies. The rest of the game seems to be built around providing excuses for those battles to take place; there’s no ship-to-ship combat, for example. In the pirate campaign, there’s a vague notion that you’re running from “The Hegemony” while trying to find some enigmatic ship that will make you the Pirate King. So between battles you play on a strategic map with your ship floating around in space, raiding stray merchant vessels, investigating comm signals and exploring space stations, planets, and other winthrop points. You need to investigate these because you need money to pay your crew; pirates don’t work for free. A little more narrative would go a long way, but I assume the dev’s working on that. In any case, this game’s all about the tactical combat.
I’m not sure how long the game’s intended to be but I’m about five and half hours into the game at the moment and I simultaneously feel like I’ve seen everything there is to see but also that I’ve only just scratched the surface. That is to say that I feel like I’ve only just passed the tutorial and still have the whole game in front of me (and the two other campaigns!); or at least I would have, but the game’s not that far along in development yet. The good news is, every complaint I might have – the battles are a little repetitive at the moment, the variety of upgrades and enemies quite limited, and the strategic map and narrative underutilized – the dev is working on fixing. For example, his latest devlog states that right now he’s busy adding new combat scenarios and random events, and new features like ship weapons that allow orbital strikes.
The verdict? I’ve enjoyed it so far, but the areas that still need development are very much showing. But the dev’s busy working on adding those features, so in all I’ve got to say this is an extremely promising title that I’m going to be keeping a very close eye on, and which I have absolutely no doubt will receive my hearty recommendation closer to release.