Published on April 17th, 2014 | by JC Richardson0
PSI Beta Review
Ahoy there! Exano Software is taking FTL under the sea, but it’s a choppy voyage for the inexperienced traveller.
PSI puts you in charge of a futuristic submarine and allows you to place your boat’s systems in a very FTL-alike manner, before taking her out into the 2.5D side-scrolling ocean to explore the deep blue, make random discoveries, trade and fight. The tutorial is essential here, as there’s a lot to take in for the new recruit.
When battle commences (and pretty much every other sub you see will try and kill you) the side view is replaced with a more familiar top-down approach. Here you assign power to systems and send crewmates to man them. So far, so FTL, as you’re micro-managing your sub, assigning crew to put out fires and pump out water, etc. Interestingly, your sub’s weapons work best at particular depths, adding another layer of strategy to the combat: go too deep and your laser weapons might be less effective, for example. It’s a neat mechanic that really adds to the pressure, pardon the pun.
Occasionally, your sub will come across things that don’t try and kill you, such as armouries who sell you weapons and make repairs in exchange for scrap you salvage from battles. You will need the repairs often, as your crew can only repair systems whilst actually in combat, bafflingly, and any combat exerts a heavy toll on your sub.
You can also purchase augments for your crew to make them more efficient, or to receive healing over time, for instance. Random encounters can add members to your crew – I found a sailor randomly floating by in an escape pod – or take them away with particularly nasty insta-kills. Ouch.
PSI is still very much a work in progress, but once a few of the issues in gameplay are fixed, it has the potential to be a true classic. Better controls in the side-scrolling portion of the game would help, as would a useful map, as the current sonar is just confusing. The lack of an auto-fire during combat means your fingers will be tapping pretty much constantly, and as mentioned, don’t get into two fights in a row without repairs, or you’ll be doomed to a watery grave…
Summary: Still effectively a beta, PSI has everything in place to make a name for itself in its own right. However, a few rusty seams need to be fixed before its fully seaworthy.