I just leveled up for the first time in new Steam space survival game RymdResa, and it was devastating.

RymdResa is fascinating. It’s an outer-space roguelike-like that just launched on Steam, but it’s about exploration instead of combat. You drift through the infinite procedurally generated cosmos—once alive with technology and culture, now dead (or perhaps only sleeping)—seeking relics and resources. It plays like this:

If you want to see more footage, Chris also played an early version of RymdResa on iPad a while back.

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It’s tranquil as fuck, but it’s also a roguelike; falling asleep at the wheel means certain death. Gradually, however, you accrue experience by surviving, examining derelict structures and planets that swim through the starry sea, almost as if they have minds of their own. You learn about them, read and compose little poems as you blaze your rivulet trail through space.

So, after a couple quick deaths (“That hunk of space debris isn’t sailing at me that fas—WAIT YES IT IS NONONONONO”), I finally got a chance to do some proper exploring. And I gently drifted into this:

A gigantic asteroid on course to obliterate a whole world. I was given two choices: destroy it and save the day, or honor the gradual, purposeful workings of nature. I considered the ramifications: what if the planet was a spawning pit for malignant life, a destructive force? Or what if busting up the asteroid knocked a natural process out of whack, ultimately destroying more than one world? I’ve also read/watched more sci-fi than any human should, and I know The Rules: the prime directive is to observe, not interfere, lest any of the above consequences transpire (or a primitive species decides I’m god or something).

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I let the asteroid go on its merry (read: unfeeling, apocalyptic) way. I thought I was serving the greater good, maybe. I hoped I was.

And yet:

You are dreaming

nightmares about

your decision.

You could have

saved that planet.

The remorse

pulverizes you.

Damn.

I let an entire planet die. A whole fucking planet. It was only then that I realized that planet could very well have been a breeding ground for young, new life. Or maybe the planet itself was alive. Or maybe it was home to a race of extra furry, eternally youthful puppies. My stomach sank. I felt like a total dick.

I dismissed the menu screen. Immediately after, the game alerted me I’d leveled up as a direct result of those actions. Despite losing some spacepoints, it’d still been a net gain. Congratulations, me. Slow claps all around. I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt more conflicted about gaining a level in a video game.

Oh, and then seconds after that, I got this screen:

I survived. For a whole year! Isn’t that nice? I doubt who or whatever was on that planet would agree.

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