Somewhere in the deep of space a starship docks with a derelict science station in search of its long forgotten loot. A contract brought you there, but your employer didn’t specify the contents, or why it was abandoned in the first place. The space station is called Roulette.
In Salvaged you play as Alex Pieterson, starship commander and operator of a multi-screen control panel that you use to guide your team of salvagers through the dank interior of the space station. Mutants, aliens, alien mutants—I don’t know what to call them—but a bunch of super nasty freaks haven’t taken too kindly to the home invasion and they’re not exactly listening to my very reasonable requests to not disembowel anyone.
For non-VR players, Salvaged is a multi-platform game, making use of both your monitor to display your salvagers’ point of view, and your smartphone or tablet for your overhead radar map. This is an interesting gameplay mechanic that crosses over to VR fairly easily due to the near unlimited number of screens and panels possible in an entirely rendered space. The tutorial-style demo that Opposable Games gave us only had the map, and POV cameras of two salvagers displayed across two screens, but I counted a total of 5 screens in total that we’ve seen turned on in a promotional screenshot.
The demo’s AI locomotion of both your units and the alien aggressors was consistently blocky, erring on the side of painfully stupid at times. Seeing how this isn’t an FPS though, much can be forgiven in that department—with emphasis on the word “consistent” being key here. Habituating yourself to the team’s pace and area of engagement gives you a better idea of where they’ll end up as you string them along pre-determined nodes through the individual rooms.
Opposable has put a lot of thought into crafting the campaign’s story, even offering fans a collection of personal audio logs of commander Pieterson’s dealings before the game’s main dilemma takes hold. Voice acting is convincing, and if the audio logs are any evidence of what’s to come, we’re hoping the full game can keep the suspense flowing.
At the end of the demo I reach a boss, evidenced by the oversize red dot on the radar screen. Before I have a chance to breach the doors and send my team into the room, my panel suddenly goes wonky. Screams from Alex pleading with Thaddeus, the ship’s AI, to open the airlocks and “suffocate it” ring out in darkness. Has Thaddeus just gone HAL 9000 on us?
Salvaged is based in a procedurally generated universe, ensuring that you’ll always have a different experience every time you play, although this is reserved for the freeplay mode after you’ve completed the campaign. Looting your merry way through the universe to buy, use, and sell treasure obtained from abandoned ships sounds fun, and makes a stark contrast from what Opposable calls “that sci-fi feeling of being connected and engaged, but at once powerless and detached” that’s so popular in emotionally intense horror sci-fi franchises like Aliens.
You can vote for Salvaged on their Steam Greenlight page to help bring this unique game to Valve’s Steam platform. Salvaged currently supports Oculus Rift DK2 and has included the stipulation that it will also come to the newly unveiled Oculus Rift consumer version.