As far as I know, the beta is only open to people who donated a certain amount through the Kickstarter. It's the only game I've played for the past couple days, and I'm really liking it so far. One or two encounters seemed a little buggy (one said that an enemy ship was supposed to suddenly appear, but then nothing happened and I was able to freely move to the next area), but otherwise the game seems to be coming along fine, so I think the devs are looking mostly for player feedback and balance changes.
The game pretty much has all of the cool shit that you would want a game about spaceship combat to have. Let's run down the checklist:
- Reactor power as a resource, meaning you can cut corners a little bit, if say you want to divert power from your medical bay to boost your engines, WHICH IS TOTALLY BADASS
- Oxygen as a resource, meaning that if an enemy hits a room in your ship so hard that fires are started, it slowly consumes that room's supply of oxygen and continues to damage your ship. You can send crew members in to put out the fire, or you can open the airlock on the rooms that are on fire, quickly jettisoning all of the oxygen into space and effectively smothering the fire, WHICH IS TOTALLY BADASS
- On a related note, if enemies teleport onto the ship, you can open the airlock doors of the rooms they're in to deprive them of oxygen, softening them up so you can swoop in and finish them off with your crew members, WHICH IS ALSO TOTALLY BADASS
- And the ship-to-ship combat is surprisingly good, with about 5-6 meaningfully different weapon types. While there are low quality and high quality weapons within each weapon type, this is one of the rare games where none of the weapon types ends up being that one weapon you hate getting because it is garbage. In my experience, just about any weapon combination you come across is viable if you plan your attack accordingly and time the weapons properly.
I've unlocked three of the five ships, and I still find myself liking the default ship the most. The other two are almost like alternate game modes, in that you have such different starting equipment and have to change your playstyle considerably. The sci-fi setting in the game is fairly straightforward, with just enough little flourishes here and there to make it an interesting fictional world. And the game's main conceit is quite cool, in that you're always staying one step ahead of the evil rebel fleet who are trying to track you down, as you are trying to bring vital information to the Federation home base, which for some reason is like a zillion sectors away.
It's a pretty cool game, you guys.