Space sims come and go but have never really opened players up to the extreme amount of vastness and endless amount of stars that dot our galaxy. Formerly known as Paragon, Jumpdrive offers the chance to set out into the great unknown and make discoveries at your own pace. Unfortunately for players short on time due to their busy schedules of adult life, school and work, Jumpdrive offers little to no shortcuts when traversing through the stars in this gutsy space exploration title. After all, the universe is infinite.
Sitting in the cockpit of your space shuttle, the instructions of the controls read across your screen. The basic click controls are simple enough, but then the game cuts you loose. The objective of Jumpdrive? Not sure… Explore? Sit in your speeding shuttle and wander through the stars for countless hours hoping to come across a unique discovery, or perhaps engage in an epic space battle? We can only hope so, anyway.
The purpose of Meteoric Games‘ Jumpdrive is to simply explore the enormous procedurally generated galaxy, picking up on anything that may cross your path. Distant missions with handsome rewards, long space expeditions to the other side of the galaxy, or fending off your shuttle from enemy ships, anything seems possible in Jumpdrive, but at what cost? The sheer amount of the universe seems endless as the developers express the ability to explore through a galaxy brimming with millions of stars and planets. Let me be perfectly clear: Jumpdrive is for the hardcore space exploring enthusiasts. Pouring in tons of hours to travel great distances, slowly immersing yourself while travelling in real-time to your next objective is an average day when living out your astronaut dreams in Jumpdrive.
Jumpdrive: How Do You Travel Through Space?
There are three basic controls when travelling from one objective to the next. When still in one planet’s gravity bubble, players may only use Maneuver Mode. This mode acts as the slowest mode of transport, used to travel around planet surfaces within the gravitational field. After exiting the planet’s atmosphere, or gravitational bubble, players may then engage in Transit Mode. Used for quicker travel between planets, Transit Mode will most likely be your main mode of travel.
Last but not least, Jump Mode is the hyper speed setting to jump between different solar systems. Though a much quicker method of travel, players will need to meet the specific item requirements, e.g. hydrogen stock, as well as a jump drive installed on their shuttle. The three modes are accessed simply by clicking on one of the icons next to your radar at the bottom of the player’s screen, offering for quick and easy switching between modes on the go.
Objectives are found when following the green blips that are scattered throughout the open universe. Either when docking on planets or space stations, completing the various missions given to you will net cash rewards, which can be used to purchase upgrades or even new ships. Though from what I experienced with my time in Jumpdrive, the missions are standard fetch and grab or destroying enemy ships, but the amount of ground (or space) to cover is remarkably vast. I can easily see one losing most of their day spent completing a handful of objectives spanning across a number of different solar systems.
While Jumpdrive is astonishing in size, the visuals are no conversation starter. Though there’s not much to gaze upon when deep in the blackness of space, planet surfaces and textures when in sight are grainy, bleak and boring. I suppose that’s not exactly the point of Jumpdrive but it still manages to break some of the immersion when descending into a planet’s atmosphere. Still, the view of colors amidst the star-dotted sky is a sheer joy to stare at while endlessly drifting into the void.
So Much To Do, So Little Time
So, what is the point of Jumpdrive? Is there any storyline, plot twists or ending in sight? The answer is yes, but it all comes down to the player involved. With Jumpdrive you are offered a chance to create your very own space legacy in this massive space explorer, and take it for as long as you please. Players have a completely open experience from the start, whether they’re engaging in combat, completing various mission objectives, purchasing new ships and parts, or simply exploring the vast darkness of space.
Jumpdrive is an impressive space sim, but if one thing is certain, it only appeals to a relatively small audience. Those hindered by time and, in my case, an ever-growing backlog of other titles, simply won’t find it in their schedule to continue on this vast journey through the great unknown.