Refreshing game concepts are always welcome, as are those Hardspace Shipbreaker can count. The title will soon find its way to the PS5, which is why we were able to take a look at it in advance and share our impressions here in the test report.
In and out of debt
Why is Hardspace Shipbreaker? As a player, you wake up heavily in debt and undertake to make yourself available to the LYNX Group as a labor and scrap company in order to finally get rid of their billion-dollar debt. That’s quite a long way to go, and thanks to LYNX technology, opens up the possibility of actually making it.
LYNX specializes in extracting valuable resources from space debris, which is not only a challenging task but also a high risk. Only a handful of scrappers are really willing to do this. Your chance, so to speak! Luckily, LYNX gives you all the tools you need right away, but at the end of the day it remains a company that only cares about profits and gives you nothing.
There is also something of a story that is mostly told in audiologs and emails on the side. However, this has little effect on the gameplay. For example, various towing companies complain about the lousy working conditions and want to form a union, which LYNX immediately knocks down. At least you prove here and there narrative humor, which you can also use portal would expect and that puts a smile on your face.
Effectiveness is the way
At the beginning of the shift, the first mini spaceship is thrown at your feet, which you can disassemble with the cutter and grab. Melted scrap is separated into components that can be immediately reused and valuable materials that can be processed. Theoretically, you could also recycle the entire spaceship in one piece, but the yield would then be pretty meager.
So you’ll have to use some skill and finesse while the shift timer runs in the background, giving you just 15 minutes to salvage as many resources as possible. So you have to continuously increase your effectiveness, but you also learn something new with every loop. Later, the company’s own tools also become more and more effective in order to finally salvage even the smallest circuit board successfully.
The scrapping Hardspace Shipbreaker is quite tedious at first, but has a steady learning curve as the spaceships become more and more challenging at the same time. You can see that at the latest in the RACE mode, in which you have to salvage and secure a nuclear reactor from the deepest interior of a ship within 30 minutes – with all the complications that go with it. Later, for example, aspects such as pressure equalization or a manipulative ship AI that you have to trick are added.
Weightless between space junk
Hardspace Shipbreaker takes place in the weightlessness of space. On the one hand, this is practical because you enjoy absolute freedom of movement, but on the other hand you also need a good sense of direction, which is sometimes the greatest challenge. One misstep and you will be unintentionally catapulted into the depths of space. Above all, the controller control seems a bit exhausting in the long run, since you have to constantly correct your position in order to align yourself, the laser cutter and the gripper again and again.
This can be tweaked later as all tools and the space suit can be upgraded with steady progress. The drive gets better, the laser cutter more precise and sharper, the oxygen supply lasts longer, etc. Over time, the work on scrapping becomes noticeably more pleasant and you get a subtle sense of progress, even if the 1,252,594,441.92 credits in the red only slowly move in the plus.
Basically, everything has its price, because LYNX, as a for-profit company, mercilessly bills you for everything. Failing an assignment is considered a breach of contract, and even if you accidentally vaporized yourself, artificial resuscitation doesn’t come cheap. Billing occurs with each new scrapping loop, which should be incentive enough to get as much out of a ship as possible in one run.
Every wreck counts
What can seem a bit sluggish and repetitive at first pays off all the more later. You don’t have to disassemble the spaceships into thousands of individual parts every time, the exciting thing is ultimately the effectiveness that you can achieve, coupled with tricky logic and puzzle approaches.
Once you’ve upgraded your tools and completely cannibalized the spaceship for the most part from the inside, you can use all the competent ones at once. For example, the most important connections of the spaceship between the hull and the core are released, so that entire parts of the outer hull are then sent for recycling with a kind of tractor beam. The larger and more profitable such a component is, the more credits are awarded, which again can be quite a satisfying feeling.
Later, demolitions are added as a tool, which is admittedly a fairly crude method and should be used with extreme caution. But sometimes there is no other way to break the ship first. Still, having a nuclear reactor inside is no joke and will ultimately cost you your job if it explodes. Hardspace Shipbreaker is definitely not a game to jump into. Here you can relax and find out what works and what doesn’t and spend a lot of time without getting bored.
Developer Blackbird Interactive has already implemented a lot of feedback from the PC version with the console release. These include a customized user interface, optimized physics, optional game modes without the lack of time and oxygen, and leaderboards in which you can compete for the fastest ships to dismantle. That should provide enough motivation in the long run.
Technically works Hardspace Shipbreaker also quite round and offers different graphics and performance modes. Unfortunately, PS5-specific features are still left out, especially when it comes to controller vibration or haptic feedback. In my opinion, there is a lack of fine-tuning here, which ironically contradicts the game concept.
TEST: Hardspace Shipbreaker – Everything else if scrapped
“Hardspace Shipbreaker initially sounds relatively simple in concept. But the fascination lies in the detail, where you find out step by step how you can do it even better and more skilfully and where you quickly lose yourself. A refreshingly different game concept where you can just relax and switch off, but still be challenged. In particular, the optimizations inherited from the PC version (more ship types, more game modes, etc.) now make Hardspace Shipbreaker a title to check out.”
Refreshing game concept
Relaxed gameplay in a nice atmosphere
Logic and puzzle approaches
Zero gravity checks can be exhausting
Soundtrack needs more variety
Small graphic errors (clipping)