Space Pirates and Zombies was an odd little shooter. While the title felt like the outcome of an algorithm to generate clicks there was more depth in its shooting than readily apparent, and a huge number of options waiting to be unearthed in its endless menus and subsytems. Space Pirates and Zombies 2 spent a year and a half in Early Access, different in tone but no less deep with its options than the original, and as of today it’s cleared the final hurdles to launch into a full release. The 1.0 release brings with it not a single new thing from the latest EA update, though, because the entire point of the release before this one was to verify that everything was in place, working, and nothing went Splat! that shouldn’t have.
While the original SPAZ was a free-roaming shooter with a large space-map to explore, SPAZ2 tones down the action a bit to focus on the adventure. The primary craft is a giant mothership you build with parts scavenged or bought along the way, and while there’s plenty of shooting it’s not of the dodge-dodge-fire variety. Instead the mothership acts as a big damage-sponge, and you try to minimize the hits as best possible to keep at least a little shield energy in reserve while hammering enemies with a deadly barrage of weaponry in order to take them down quick. You can build other ships, and find plenty of blueprints for bigger and more effective support craft along the way, but it’s generally best to let them act as AI helpers and focus on as pumping out as much damage as possible.
Fighting is only one of the things you can do, though. Build a base, expand influence among the many sectors of the star map, gather resources, and grow your faction bigger and more powerful as the other AI captains do the same. While your ship is certainly a player on the galactic stage the cast is an ensemble, and if you want to be one of the stars of the show you’ll need to earn it. The galaxy is an enormous place (that looks even bigger in the excellent VR mode) and turning a ragtag group of ruffians on a low-level ship into a force to be reckoned with isn’t a quest to be taken lightly. Check out the launch trailer below to get a sense of the the size of the place, and the challenges involved in surviving it.