Space Beast Terror Fright Breaches Steam Early Access

Wait, no, don’t be put off by that name! Space Beast Terror Fright [official site] is a cracking little roguelikelike first-person shooter, more tense than any space marine game I’ve played since Aliens versus Predator in 1999.

SBTF dumps us into a deserted ship to salvage data from computers, set it to self-destruct, and escape, dodging hordes of aliens that kill us in one hit, and trying to control space by locking doors and activating sentry turrets. It’s pretty difficult. I dug the early demo, and now it’s moved onto Steam Early Access.

So there we are, roaming procedurally-generated spacecorridors, hacking computers and shooting aliens, earning XP as we go. Levelling up will unlock a random upgrade, such as higher ammo capacity, faster hacking, better night vision, a more detailed minimap, and so on. You will need these, as the ship will spring more holes spilling aliens as you go. Sure, you can lock doors and hack turrets, but aliens batter down doors and turrets have limited ammo, and you’ll need to make your way back to your ship at the end.

It’s Space Hulk and AvP and ’90s FPSs and terror. I’ve only successfully completed a mission twice, and overconfidence from carried-over upgrades meant I died real quick in the next ones.

Space Beast Terror Fright is £10.99 right now. The Early Access version has introduced split-screen co-op, which sounds hilariously trying given that it already used vision restrictions (a chunky gun, huge muzzleflash, garish neon blood, and lots of camera-shifting trickery) to amp up tension. And it has friendly fire. Also with one-hit kills.

Developers Nornware plan to be in Early Access for around six months, but don’t have the most solid development roadmap. They plan to add networked co-op, then maybe support for AI partners, possibly competitive modes, ways to play as aliens, and other things. I’d be quite happy with online co-op and expansion of this core mode, myself.

Here’s a run I had back in January on an earlier version. If you think this looks claustrophobic, it’s worse: I had the helmet border turned off at the time.

20 Comments

  1. ZIGS says:

    Weapon model is still too small

    • Razumen says:

      When you’re in space full of nasties trying to personally demonstrate to you the finer intricacies of entrail-shu, no gun is ever too small.

      • manio22 says:

        No he is right. Except if it was intentional , together with big flashes and psychedelic thermal vision to create mini panic-states, i found it rather big model .

  2. tangoliber says:

    Can’t have enough procedural death FPS. We need a good one for every sub-sub-genre of FPS, although this particular style doesn’t appeal to me as much.
    Ziggurat and Fancy Skulls are my favorites so far.. and I’m really looking forward to Spire.

  3. EhexT says:

    With the helmet toggled on it looks quite a bit like the XCOM FPS that never came out (no, not the fedora wearing one – the old XCOM one).

  4. Blackcompany says:

    Impressively atmospheric. Truly. But…not for me, alas. Dying in one hit to things I can only see with the curtains closed and them three steps from my face is more stress than, I personally, want in a game.

    But I do hope the intended audience enjoys it immensely. Just because its not for me, doesnt mean its not for anyone at all. And the crowd it is for is far more starved for games than a lot of other gaming demographics, I would wager.

  5. emptee says:

    Whose bright idea was it to make the nozzle flash cover half the screen?

    • mcnostril says:

      I actually rather like how the gun prevents you from seeing whatever you’re shooting at. When the hallway is full of aliens, it basically turns into a terror rave. Half the time you stop shooting wondering if they’re all dead, and WHARGARBLALIENINYOURFACE.
      Even the giant crosshair seems to contribute to this. It makes for some really tense situations when you’re trying to conserve yet can’t quite see if you’re actually hitting things.

      I think the only visual thing that bugged me in the demo was the FOV changes when aliens get near. It’s fine when there’s only a few, but when you open a door and there’s 10 aliens behind it, the extra mouse sensitivity has got me killed quite a few times (and it’s somewhat headeache inducing when aliens keep spawning and the FOV keeps going back and forth).

  6. horsemedic says:

    I can’t recommend this enough. The “demo” (eg, free version) they had out before Steam is far and away my favorite game of the last two years, if not longer. Perfect for 15-minute chunks of procedural, minimalist terror, or marathon stress session. What strikes me is how much thought has gone into every gameplay element–from the blinding muzzle flash to the imperfect mapping system to the sounds of distant banging as the alien horde inevitably whittles down your defenses and overruns the ship. Almost every second forces you to make a critical decision under duress. Go get now.

  7. buxcador says:

    Shoot the sponge bullets in the generic shooter.

    No AI. No strategy. No resources management. No tactics.

    Just another themed shooting gallery.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      I don’t think you read anything about the game, let alone watched the video.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Where’s the fun in that? Then he might have to judge it on what it is rather than what he assumes it is.

        I am really interested in what a sponge bullet is though. Do they soak up all the blood and just generally keep the battlefield more tidy? I’m not sure how I feel about that. Think of all the janitors who’d be out of a job…

      • Napalm Sushi says:

        Buxcador’s comment may contain the highest falsehood-to-content ratio that you’ll see outside of the General Election. This is one of the most tactically demanding FPSes I’ve played. Between the infinite flow of aliens, your limited ammo and your inability to withstand a single attack, it’s actually more about minimising hostile contact.

  8. Morcane says:

    This is awesome news! I’ll be throwing my money at them since I’ve been playing the demo quite a lot since RPS did an article on the game a few months ago.

  9. rustybroomhandle says:

    Whenever I see a video of a first-person game being played with a gamepad, I die a little on the inside. In fact I am quite dead in there already… my organs have turned black.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      What a curious comment to write on a post with a video where a first-person game is being played with mouse and keyboard.

      • rustybroomhandle says:

        Surely not. Gasp! Sensitivity turned way down? (I do that with some games, but usually not) Usually mouselook is fluid and organic, constantly in motion. My apologies then – like I said, already dead inside. :)

        • Alice O'Connor says:

          The opposite: sensitivity way up. It leads to really mechanical mouselook.

          I do sometimes record walking simulator videos with a controller because I find gentle, organic movement far easier with thumbsticks.

      • rustybroomhandle says:

        Another thought – if you indeed just have an amazingly steady hand, you may have missed your calling as a surgeon.

  10. zeep says:

    That muzzle flash is so crazy large i can’t see anything.