House of the Dying Sun [official site] isn't just an amazing name, it's also a great looking space combat simulator that harkens back to the days of Freespace and TIE Fighter. Oh, and it's out on Steam Early Access today with a lil' discount to make it extra appealing—just in case the idea of revisiting the glory days of zero G dogfighting weren't enough.
It's taken House of the Dying Sun a helluva long time to get here. The game was first shown all the way back in 2012 and originally called Enemy Starfighter. Graham enjoyed it when we went hands on in 2014, but Dying Sun has changed considerably since then and no longer features procedurally generated levels. Right now, the main campaign features 14 scenarios that are "highly crafted, lightning fast fights that have designed enemy setups, sight lines, engagement ranges, reinforcements, custom AI behaviors, and more.”
Another big feature is the ability to give orders to your own accompanying fleet using a tactical overview or switch between fighters on the fly. Each mission is meant to be repeated several times on higher difficulties, which also earns you powerful upgrades for your ship and fleets.
One thing I'm particularly enamored with is the sound design. If you watch the trailer above, you can hear how all weapon and anything outside your cockpit sounds distinctly muffled, punctuated by brief blasts of radio chatter. I love it.
Dying Sun doesn't officially support flight sticks, but you can still use them if you don't mind needing to push every button once just to figure out what it does. There's also support for ultrawide monitors and both the Vive and Oculus VR headsets if you happen to own one of those as well. We'll be taking a closer look at the game in the very near future.
House of the Dying Sun can be picked up for $17.99/€17,99 on Steam.