Habitat Has You Build a Space Shuttle From Trash and Save Humankind

Design on a dime.

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In the grim darkness of the far future, humanity has been forced into the stars. Earth has been overrun by deadly nanomachines, and our only hope for survival lies out in the vast darkness of space. As one of the last remnants of humanity, it is your duty to build a safe and stable habitat to carry humankind across the cosmos--a habitat thrown together from all the random junk, garbage, and debris we shuttled into low orbit years ago. This cobbled-together mishmash of old subway trains, carnival equipment, and a flame-throwing tyrannosaurus head may not look impressive, but it could very well be our last hope.

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Habitat is available now through Steam Early Access, and, after spending a few hours with the game, I thought it felt like a goofy, physics-driven sandbox, in space. You start with a space shuttle with two rocket boosters strapped to it. Various, random bits of debris surround your ship, which can be affixed by way of engineers. Engineers are your loyal workforce, ever eager to weld together humankind’s trash if it means possibly finding a better home. You can further reinforce an object to your ship by attaching additional support beams either to the shuttle or to other objects.

Space shuttle, be my canvas.
Space shuttle, be my canvas.

The more junk connected to your habit, the more omni you earn. Omni is a catch-all resource used to recruit more engineers, fire your habitat's weapons, and power certain propulsion systems. It may seem like a good idea to just throw a habitat together without rhyme or reason, but you could easily find yourself in a tight spot where your flying fortress floats along at a snail’s pace. And if a killer cloud of nanomachines comes knocking at your space door, you’re going to want to make a quick exit.

Most of my time with Habitat was spent testing out different rocket configurations. Rockets move your ship, and moving gets you access to more stuff. There are big rockets, small rockets, and rockets that you can turn 360 degrees using the arrow keys. Obviously, that last category is your best bet for actually steering your ship, but they also cost the most omni to use. The small and large rockets are free to use, but they blast you in whatever direction you’re facing until they’re shut off. This can be a bit problematic if they’re not evenly distributed on the left and right sides of your ship, or if one of them is angled slightly inward, thus pushing your habitat in a circle until it rips itself apart.

Of course, there are plenty of other ways to blast your ship to bits. As it turns out, humanity was really fond of strapping dynamite to explosive canisters and shipping those off into space. These hazardous, impromptu space mines are something you always have to watch out for while exploring, but can be used to make a quick, hilarious getaway. Just strap a bunch of them to the rear of your ship and detonate them if you need an extra boost of speed. They may propel you to safety--or destruction--but in either case you’ll look cool doing it.

This pretty much sums up my entire experience.
This pretty much sums up my entire experience.

Even with its goofy, sandbox play style, Habitat is still very much an early access game. I wasn’t able to find much else to do besides fly around, weld things to my ship, and cause explosions. Even so, there is a lot of fun to be had in just trying different combinations of items and seeing how they interact. The development team--4gency--has plans outlined on their old Kickstarter page detailing habitat-on-habitat combat as well as crew management. But for now, just have fun strapping rockets to anything and everything and seeing what happens.

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