Lightspeed Frontier Impressions—Wild Flight Through Space

Solid start to physics-heavy space exploration.

Game: Lightspeed Frontier

Developer: Crowdwork Studios

Publisher: Riveted Games

Reviewed: PC

Who knew, captaining a ship in the gravity governed kingdom we call space is actually a very wobbly, physics-based endeavour. When you start up Lightspeed Frontier‘s campaign, it immediately plunges you into a vacuum of space for an intensive tutorial. From launching broadside plasma cannons to entering warp drive, it’s a bit button heavy, but you’ll soon get your bearings – especially if you’re already well-versed in space flight games. Sometimes the font style is too small to read, but most of all, it’s a fun prelude to the actual campaign, acquainting players with module collection, combat basics and the trading scheme. There’s a creative mode with no crash damage as well, if you’re more inclined towards a free playstyle unrestrained by crash damage.

As it stands, Lightspeed Frontier’s various planetary systems don’t seem too populated, which can drain the excitement value following the tutorial, however, for an early access build the framework is solid: Ringed planets, soft clouds and brilliant lights contrast in beautiful fashion with the jet black of space, surprises from incoming hostile ships keep you on your toes, and customising your ship in new ways – either with parts obtained from enemy rubble or purchased from space stations light years apart – is probably the most rewarding element of gameplay. Generally, I found myself enjoying the exploration, and feel like Lightspeed Frontier is the kind of game that will take flight once more NPCs start entering the scene and clearer (and perhaps more constant) objectives fill the campaign. It’s most definitely a niche kind of game, but the current search, destroy, customise loop feels just slightly repetitive.

There are minimal technical issues which are easily fixed, like rare crashing, and the camera orienting itself too quickly to control. Apart from that, Lightspeed Frontier absolutely thrives on a joyous soundtrack that is a mixture of Planet Explorers, soft rock and synth beats. Together with flight, combat and ship modification, there’s enough substance here for Lightspeed Frontier to become great.

Lightspeed Frontier is available via Steam (PC, Mac & Linux) for $9.99 USD.

A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.