Some People Call Me The Space Cowboy

HIGH An addicting and ambitious space combat and trading sim.

LOW It could be friendlier to newcomers.

WTF This is probably the closest we’ll get to a Cowboy Bebop game.

Many simulators like to put players in the shoes of realistic professions. Whether it’s a farmer, a construction worker or even something niche like a house flipper, many sims are grounded in reality. Then there’s Rebel Galaxy Outlaw — a simulator that lets players fly spaceships into intergalactic battles, run cargo for profit, or take on jobs for less-than-reputable types.

In this adventure, players control Juno, a former pilot on the run and tracking down her husband’s killer. Of course, things go terribly wrong and she soon finds herself in need of a new ship and money.

At the center of RGO are the flight segments. Players control different ships that Juno acquires throughout her journey, and switching between first- and third-person viewpoints while flying is a breeze, though I preferred the immersion of playing in first-person. The view from within the cockpit is full of detail, from the blinking lights of the radar to the collectible figurines players can place on the dash.

Actually navigating the wide reaches of space feels great too, though it takes some time to get used to. There isn’t a traditional tutorial, only a few hints that periodically appear on-screen, as well some context-sensitive control prompts. Those who want to learn the basics should check out the flight school in the main menu, but a proper tutorial in the main game to ease players in would have been a good idea.

In fact, this lack of teaching is probably RGO’s biggest issue — it’s just not very friendly to genre newcomers.

Outside of flying ships, Rogue Galaxy Outlaw is all about participating in the in-game economy for trading. Working as a space pirate of sorts, Juno takes on different jobs that require her to travel across galaxies, and every planet she can land at offers a bar that acts as a mini hub to get more missions and leads on new ones from the locals. There’s a lot to dig into here, and like the flying, very little of it is explained. Again, I urge players to check out the official tip sheet in the menu before jumping in.

While this lack of communication from the developers may make it sound like RGO is impossible to play and too obtuse, I have to admit that once I got used to the systems and content while piloting my ship and doing odd jobs around the galaxy, I was hooked.

After becoming more comfortable with play, I would visit every planet I could, asking around for new bounties and resources to trade. I’m still not well-versed in the intricacies of the ever-changing economy, but the desire to afford ship upgrades has me learning.

Ship-to-ship combat feels like a high-stakes game of chicken that forces me to make hard decisions. Do I avoid fighting space pirates and not risk my ship getting destroyed? Do I stay and fight in the hopes of looting whatever contraband they have on them? Do I call for backup? All of these choices and more combine to create compelling action.

Also, I shouldn’t fail to mention Rogue Galaxy Outlaw’s style. Echoing other space westerns like the legendary Cowboy Bebop, I love how cool everything feels. Juno is the classic rogue hero, and the soundtrack includes over 400 licensed songs across several different in-game radio stations. I had no idea how much I needed a space combat/economic sim game that included a reggaeton soundtrack, yet here I am. 

While getting up to speed with Rebel Galaxy Outlaw takes more trial and error than it should, the experience ultimately becomes an addicting mix of combat and micromanagement that I never thought would hook me the way it did.

In a time where I am seemingly taking on any odd job I can in real life, I never expected bounty hunters/delivery person/space pirates to be some of them. I might never get the chance to live out my dreams of flying into space anytime soon but I’m happy to know Rebel Galaxy Outlaw has my back for the time being.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is published and developed by Double Damage Games. It is available on PC, PS4, Switch and XBO. This copy was obtained via publisher and was reviewed on PS4. Approximately 20 hours were spent in single-player and was not completed. There is no multiplayer.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T for Drug References, Language, Simulated Gambling, Use of Alcohol, Violence, and Blood. This game can be compared to a raunchier  Star Wars, thanks to uses of “sh*t” or Juno constantly flipping other ships off. I feel like any child over the age of 13 can play this game if parents are okay with a few naughty words and some mild violence.

Colorblind Modes: Colorblind modes are not present in the options menu.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Gamers: Dialogue in this game is subtitled, though the text cannot be resized. The ship’s in-game radar displays enemy locations and there are other visual cues during play.

Remappable Controls: No, the controls are not remappable. The Y-axis can be inverted.

Cj Salcedo
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