June 10, 2015 12:13 AM | Sean Flint
Every once in a while, a game comes along that completely captivates me and ends up having a place in my regular lineup of go-to games. These are the games that, regardless of what I feel like playing, I know I will be able to have a ton of fun with. Space Beast Terror Fright may only be in Early Access, but it is already one of the most compelling and entertaining titles that I've had the pleasure of playing. The tough-as-nails difficulty combined with the fantastic atmosphere make it one of my favorite games so far this year.
To be completely honest, it's not too often that I find myself becoming addicted to a game. Typically, I play a few hours here and there, and then move on to a new game. Space Beast Terror Fright has had me in its clutches since the first time I set foot in the ship.
Simply put, Space Beast Terror Fright is an extremely challenging first-person shooter that features permadeath mechanics. You control a space marine who is sent to retrieve important data and critical upgrades from a spacecraft that has been recently infested by dangerous aliens. The only objective that the game has is to collect this data and make it out alive.
Although this may sound like a simple task, making your way through the claustrophobic corridors of the ship proves to be extremely challenging. Aliens are able to breach the ship in various locations (this can even be set to occur randomly in any location) from which they begin to pour out and rush your marine. The main way to keep breached areas in check is to activate various sentries that are placed throughout the level. These sentries will often be located near a breach, which will keep the alien menace in check.
In Space Beast Terror Fright, you start out in the ship's airlock. You can either go at the mission alone, or bring up to 3 friends to assist you. The game features both local and, recently added, networking gameplay. One of the more interesting features is in the online multiplayer, where you can press the space bar to view the other players' screens, and turn the game into split screen. This is fantastic if you're trying to see where your friends are, or if they are trying to show you something from their perspective. Transitioning between views is extremely smooth, and is a simple, yet fantastic mechanic that I feel is a great addition to the game.
Once you make your way into the ship, you are directed to various datacores which you must extract important information from. There can be anywhere from 8-20+ datacores in a level, and the number of cores varies from level to level. Obviously, the more cores, the more difficult the level can be.
As a marine, your only starting equipment is your assault rifle. Eventually, you can gather various upgrades such as motion trackers, path-finding gps, or infravision. The infravision has been one of the most crucial upgrades in my time with the game, as it really allows you to get a good look at how many aliens you're dealing with at a particular time. It is often that you will be faced with a dozen or more aliens at a time, and many deaths have resulted in me thinking I've got them all, but there were still a few left.
One of the things that makes Space Beast Terror Fright so compelling is the tense and creepy atmosphere that the game manages to create. Between the fantastic sound design, pulsing of the screen, and overall claustrophobic ship design, the game manages to create a fantastic sense of tension. Hearing alien creatures just on the other side of a door causes your heart to race, and seeing tons of bloops on the motion tracker is terrifying. The ear-piercing screams of the alien creatures are horrifying, and often lead to a scream-and-shoot situation.
In order to complete a level, you must collect all of the data from the datacores, turn of the reactor coolants, and make your way back to the airlock for extraction. Completing a level is rare. There are currently 6 difficulties: easy, hard, insane, and then all 3 with random breaches added. Easy difficulty is a challenge on its own, and I've often switched back to it after failing multiple matches on hard. It just gives that bit of confidence boost when you win a match and gives you the courage to pump the difficulty back up.
To be frank, describing how intriguing Space Beast Terror Fright can be is nearly impossible without getting your hands on the game. Once you find yourself trapped in the tight corridors of the spacecraft and hear your first alien breach, you'll be hooked on the game. There is no experience to compare it to, as it creates a sense of tension unlike anything I've played before.
Grabbing a couple of friends and jumping into a match of Space Beast Terror Fright makes for a fantastic LAN party idea. I could not recommend having a look at the game any more. Achieving victory for the first time is one of the most satisfying feelings in all of gaming, especially on the harder modes. Making your way through the procedurally-generated environments never fails to be extremely entertaining, and I am ecstatic to see how the game changes as it makes its way through Early Access.
Space Beast Terror Fright is currently available on Steam Early Access for $14.99, and it comes with a strong recommendation from myself.