This Means Warp is a top-down spaceship management game developed by Outlier Games and published by Jagex. It released on Steam early access on March 17, 2022 and sees you flying solo or with up to three mates in online co-op or remote play together, as you boldly search procedurally generated space. You will fight enemy ships and bases, rescue missing crew members, find upgrades, and take down bosses.
Starting a solo game, you first need to select a crew member to play as, from Bob, Pants, Nobnob and Xin, all who have varying levels of Damage, Repair and Movement statistics. You’re then given a brief intro to the overarching story where the Norg have declared war on your civilisation by destroying an outer rim planet. Your ships AI, aptly named Richard, says we must depart for the Norg mothership at once and this will start your journey through the procedurally generated space zones.
There is an intro briefing you can choose which acts as a tutorial, teaching you the basics of repairing, dash movement, and arming your laser cannons and vanquishing enemy ships. If you have played Space Crew before, this will feel familiar, only This Means Warp has you initially controlling just one crew member. As you take damage, cracks will form in the hull, machinery could get disabled and if the hull gets breached, you’ll start losing oxygen. You should repair everything after each battle because there’s no automatic repair between missions, and the ship takes permanent damage over time.
Using the captain’s chair, you navigate the overhead map to move into the next sector. Each sector has icons for fighting enemies, search zones (where you could find floating debris or survivors), and boss fights. As each game is randomly generated, there’s no optimal path to take but if you’re playing solo, you will want to check out the exclamation and question mark locations first. This is in the hope you come across a survivor who can join your crew, as your survivability increases dramatically with extra crew members.
As this is a roguelike game, if you get destroyed, the game is over. It was initially tough learning the balance between repairing systems, restocking ammo, and shooting the enemy, especially on my own. When I picked up my first crew member on my second run, it made things so much easier. You can assign them to a station such as a laser cannons, overseeing repairs or other systems as you add them to your ship.
This Means Warp is a heck of a lot of fun to play and gets intense at times. The boss fights are tough, especially the shielded ones, and I usually targeted enemy weapons first which gave me time to reload and repair. As you complete runs, you will earn XP to level up your crewmembers, increasing one of the three primary stats, as well as earning money which you can use to purchase upgrades for your ship at a shop. There’s a lot to like about this game and you learn more strategies with each successive run. There’s the familiar pull of playing just one more run which is great.
Overall, This Means Warp is a fantastic spaceship management game that looks simple at first but is much more complex. Unlocking upgrades and finding crew members becomes key, and this is a lot of fun in co-op. The game is looking to be in early access for 12 months and the development roadmap has some exciting features in the works, such as new missions and weapons, a new player ship and more.
This review utilised a key provided by Mark Allen PR and This Means Warp is available now on Steam Early Access.