Rigonauts is a title from Engient. A Steam release that appeared on the front page peaked my interest. The game promised loads of customization and ships with some stuff to blow up. It sounded like it had everything a game needed. However, it should be taken into consideration that from the screenshots, this game throws a curve ball at you in terms of gameplay.
As the commander of a group of Crewlins, you are responsible for attempting an escape from the clutches of evil warlords. You find refuge on an island where you can build a ship of epic proportions and battle your enemies. While the story itself is not particularly engaging, the lore and atmosphere of the game is nice.
As I mentioned earlier, I was promised customization. This customization is quite expansive and is the high part of Rigonauts. As you progress through the game you will unlock more items to improve your ship. A plethora of weaponry and 2×4’s are at your disposal. No two ships will look the same and each has their own strategic advantage. While you can load your ship to the brim with guns and use everything possible, it may not be the best option. What I mean by that is the game will challenge your ability to plan. Every level has a rating for materials used, guns used, and damage taken. Essentially it is a risk/reward system.
The game is 2D which I cannot complain about. It is hard to gauge if the game being 2D is hindering the customization, or flattering it. While the possibilities are vast, they seem hindered by the environment. I wish I could say it presents itself well, but Rigonauts ha a clunky UI (user interface) and even with a tutorial it is a bit disorganized. The idea behind Rigonauts I to make creative but practical ship designs to win in a dogfight. This idea is solid, but the creativity goes out the window once you figure out that putting a giant wall in front of you is the best course of action. I cannot pinpoint what would make the gameplay better. There just seems to be something missing. Maybe if the game was a bit grander in scale, the amount of stuff available to you wouldn’t feel so wasted.
I would have to say the biggest problem with Rigonauts is the unpredictability. While having a game that throws you off course is not a bad thing, the unpredictability lies in the actual dogfights and physics. Combine that with an unclear way of how to actually destroy a ship, it becomes frustrating. Because the levels are so challenging the lack of direct control holds the game back. The game also progresses at a very low pace, unlocking new items I very slow. A large portion of level success depends on luck rather than skill.
The ship creation is not very friendly either. Items will float when you are creating the ship, but when you being the battle, gravity activates and you will have guns falling to the ground etc. Item descriptions or comparisons would be a bonus. You will get new versions of guns and the inventory to choose from is large. You will end up second guessing yourself because you have no idea what to install.
Rigonauts just does not feel like a finished product. The game is fun, and creating ships can give you a zen like disposition, but it can go from zen to fury quickly. The idea is there, but the execution is poor. I give Rigonauts….
3 out of 5 nerds