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.