Fast Travel Games today unveiled its next first-party title, called Ghost Signal: A Stellaris Game. It’s coming to Quest 2 in early 2023 and we already have some hands-on impressions for you.
Developed in-house by Fast Travel Games, Ghost Signal is a roguelite action game set in Paradox Interactive’s Stellaris universe. In Ghost Signal, you’ll control a ship in outer space with gameplay featuring combat, storytelling, resource gathering, and more. You can get a first look in the trailer above and more details in the description below, straight from Fast Travel Games:
Discover the wonders of outer space in this virtual reality roguelite action game. Set in the Stellaris universe, steer your ship to battle or befriend a multitude of alien species in your search for the enigmatic Ghost Signal. Engage in dynamic space wars, encounter planet-sized creatures, gather valuable loot to conduct research, and more. Every journey offers new possibilities.
Ghost Signal is designed as a seated experience, and the story mode takes place through roguelite races, with each level of the race presented as a unique, random diorama-like environment laid out in front of you. In each environment, your ship is placed in the middle of a stunning spatial view, but the contents of each vary greatly. Some are direct combat encounters, while others will see you discovering new items and upgrades or conversing with aliens through dialogue options.
You’ll play repeatedly and encounter different environments, enemies, and procedurally generated objects each time, altering your ship’s abilities with random upgrades and items you discover along the way.
When it comes to combat, you can switch between three different weapons to target enemies, but you’ll need to balance weapon selection with positioning. Some weapons are more useful at close range, while others work better at range. Missiles, for example, can have a big impact on tough enemies from afar, but only have limited ammo per run – you’ll need to use them wisely.
Between levels, you can choose to upgrade your ship and its weapons or equip items that change weapon behavior, depending on your playstyle. You’ll find different items on each run and play through a random mix of encounters. It’s these mechanics that see Ghost Signal joining a growing selection of roguelites on VR platforms, but it also has distinct elements that make it unique. The seated approach that uses diorama-like environments, for example, sets it apart as a more soothing and less physically demanding entry than other room-scale roguelites, like Ancient Dungeon or Until You Fall.
I played a short series of Ghost Signal last month at Gamescom. It was a tantalizing look at what Fast Travel Games has in store, but I’ll withhold judgment until I can play more. That being said, the environments were a highlight and the sci-fi visuals work well in diorama form. Similarly, the structure has shown potential, but whether the game has legs will depend on how much it enjoys over longer play sessions and multiple runs.
The control scheme also seemed a bit at odds with the presentation – you pilot your ship from afar, holding down the trigger and moving your controller to point a small rod in the direction you want the ship to go. It will then follow the indicated path until it is completed, allowing you to stack multiple paths in quick succession. It took some getting used to and I wondered why I couldn’t just interact directly with the environment, reaching out into the diorama to select the area I wanted to fly to.
That said, Ghost Signal shows potential. Using the existing Stellaris IP is an interesting move, and the diorama setup is reminiscent of hit tabletop games like Demeo. It will be exciting to see if Ghost Signal finds an audience and fills a void in the VR roguelike genre when it releases for Quest 2 in early 2023.
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