The RPS Advent Calendar 2022, December 20th

A view of a spaceship, floating in orbit, mid-breakdown in Hardspace: Shipbreaker

Exercise caution when opening door number 20 on the RPS Advent Calendar, because it’s an uncaring world of manual labor in space out there. If you open the door wrong you could cause a huge explosion that kills you – but to mitigate that risk you can spend money buying an Official Safe Door Opener. Don’t worry, you can just work more to pay it off.

Don’t even think about unionizing. Just cut up that salvage, you Hardspace: Shipbreaker!

Hardspace: Shipbreaker has many layers. Like the ships you take apart!

Liam: I really like how Hardspace: Shipbreaker sounds. It’s full of fizzes and pops. Crispy crackles and crunchy clunks. At its heart, Shipbreaker is a game about work. The physical aspects of a labor intensive job that just so happens to take place in zero-g. Pulling apart hulking space crafts isn’t easy, which only helps make it feel satisfyingly honest in a way that your smooth games journalist hands have never experienced in the real world before.

It wouldn’t work as well without the sounds. Separating panels one-by-one from the silver bones of a gigantic cruiser wouldn’t feel as tactile if the connecting bracket didn’t dissolve with such a pleasing release of pressure and air. This is what flinging a volatile reactor into a barge would sound like, right? The thrum of unstable radiation. The deafening silence as it rushes towards the recycling section of your work space. The pleasing ping of your lo-fi HUD that signifies safety. Of course it is! You don’t doubt it for a second as you float purposefully – and awkwardly – towards the next high value piece of scrap just beginning to be ripped from its home.

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Oh, and the soundtrack! Americana pairs so well with the great unknown, doesn’t it? The way those plucked guitar strings sound mournful yet hopeful at the same time. The perfect accompaniment for a life spent breaking ship. The backing track for popping open a frosty bottle of Lynx Corporation Approved Lager after a day spent earning very little for undertaking dangerous, unwanted work. Perhaps as you sit there, beer in hand, you’ll dare to think that risking your life requires some sort of fair compensation. Don’t let it linger, shipbreaker. Lynx is watching, after all.

Alice0: When Hardspace: Shipbreaker first launched into early access in 2020, it was good but Graham and I ummed and ahhed about whether to put it in the calendar now or to wait. No, we figured, best hold off on celebrating it this way until it’s all done and hopefully even better. It is.