Developers making space games have a habit of trying to make every game, all at once. So it seems with Introversion's The Last Starship, which in its latest update video looks to be about shipbuilding, crew management, engineering, exploration, real-time combat and much more. More impressively, they all look like games I want to play.
To summarise, The Last Starship is a bit like Prison Architect, if your prison could fly through space, had guns on the side of it, and could take on dangerous interstellar missions.
The video above focuses first on a rescue mission, in which a ship is damaged and will explode within a certain time limit once you arrive in the area. Developers Chris Delay and Mark Morris spend some time ordering their crew to outfit the ship in preparation for the mission, mostly by adding new weapons to deal with the hostiles also in the area. As it turns out, most of the mission is spent dealing with the tricky problem of docking with the damaged ship so that its crew can be evacuated.
After that, there's a second mission which offers a deep look at the game's combat systems. While making changes onboard your ship requires your crew to scurry around, dismantling and moving and building, you can also directly control your ship thrusters in real-time. Combat therefore has a naval quality, as you try to keep enemies exposed to the correct weapons on your side, and your crew work to keep those weapons fed with scifi cannonballs.
There's a lot going on in the video, so I'm skipping over a lot in describing it. I'm particularly fond of the automated drones, which launch from your ship to carry out repairs and sieze upon the spoils from ships you've defeated. I also like that, as fun as combat looks, it's an entirely optional part of the game you opt in to by selecting a mission that features it, which means you can play The Last Starship as a straight colony builder if you wish without risk of being ambushed.
The Last Starship isn't out yet, but next Monday, July 11th, Introversion are going to let in the first batch of testers. For a chance to be involved with a future test build, you can sign up on Steam. Be warned that it'll be buggy, however, so you might want to wait for the (at least somewhat less buggy) early access version, whenever that arrives.