Genesis Alpha One Review

Dan Webb

There is something weirdly infuriating and at the same time exhilarating with permadeath games. You know that one slip up, one miscalculation, one momentary lapse in concentration and that's it, you're toast. At the same time, as tense as it may be, to say goodbye to hours and hours of hard work, well, it's bloody heartbreaking. Genesis Alpha One, a permadeath space exploration game from indie devs Radiation Blue, most certainly checks both of those boxes. Infuriating and heartbreaking. Check and check.

So, what exactly is Genesis Alpha One? Well, in short it's what No Man's Sky would look like if it bumped uglies with FTL. Well, kind of. It's effectively a roguelike strategy game with space station building elements and resource management mechanics, while also including first-person exploration and simplistic shooter encounters. It's a game that doesn't belong in any specific box and straddles more genres than Taylor Swift. Did we perhaps mention that it has permadeath as well?

In Genesis Alpha One you basically navigate your way through a large, procedurally-generated galaxy in your homemade ship looking for a new sustainable planet to house you and your peoples (whoever that may be). That means not only building a vessel that can deal with the toughest environments, but building one that is efficient and fully protected against any hostile entities that manage to infiltrate their way on-board. And the best thing is you’re doing all of that that while managing to scavenge for resources on planet surfaces, micro-managing your crew, and researching and crafting new tech in order to survive. It’s a strategy game that has many, many levels. Did we mention that it has permadeath as well?

I know, I know, we’ve mentioned permadeath a fair bit now. Well, that’s where the roguelike mechanics play their part. Whether you’ve been boarded by aggressive aliens, infested with alien parasites or just straight up failed to get a handle on an error aboard your ship, shit can go wrong very quickly in Genesis Alpha One. And when it does, chances are it’s curtains for you and your crew, firing a traumatic “Game Over” screen at you. It’s easy to look back on those six hours or whatever with dismay, writing it off as a complete waste of time, but if you’ve met certain criteria and uncovered artefacts, they can carry across to your next run. The problem you could argue is that these rewards are probably not enough for the turmoil and disappointment you’ve just faced. The balance seems slightly off.

If base-building and micromanaging a crew sound like your cup of tea, then Genesis Alpha One has a lot to offer. You’ll spend your time bouncing from wing to wing of your expansive ship as you use the tractor beam to gather resources, or head planet-side to a small procedurally-generated section of a planet to mine resources (and search out and scan new technologies). The base building elements, while great, are only a small portion of what constitutes your gameplay in Genesis Alpha One. Minging and beaming aboard resources is how you’ll spend 80% of your time. Therein lies the problem with Genesis Alpha One: it is incredibly repetitive. And when you do that for five hours, only to get boarded and wiped out knowing you’ve got to do all that grind again, well, sometimes it just doesn’t feel worth it.

For the most part though, Genesis Alpha One can actually be a really fun and interesting strategy game, whether you’re researching illnesses to synthesise cures to heal your sick crew or cloning various newly discovered species and putting them to work on your ship, underneath the hood exists a strategy game that can satiate even the most ardent of strategy fans. That said, the strategy elements are buried beneath what many call 'the grind'. The rinse and repeat formula of: speed up tractor beam space debris, mine minerals by personally getting involved and then going down to planets to hold one button to extract elements you need out of rocks. If you can put up with the repetitive nature of the grind, you might actually find a lot to like about Genesis Alpha One. If you aren’t one for the grind, then this game certainly isn’t going to be for you.

Genesis Alpha One

Genesis Alpha One has some really cool ideas going for it, unfortunately they’re outweighed by repetitive busywork that you easily get bogged down in. Sure, it’s an interesting strategy game at times, but the grind is just too damn much!

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There’s some really cool bits of original music littered throughout, especially when you’re off exploring various different planet surfaces.


Not really a looker, we’re afraid. Not ugly, but certainly not going to turn any heads.


It handles decently enough. The shooting mechanic is simple and has a lock-on mechanic so not as to put off strategy-fans who detest shooting games.


There are some really neat ideas here, but they’re bogged down underneath a ton of repetitive gameplay.


The word grind here is an understatement. I’d dread to think how long it’d take to get the full 1,000Gs here. Probably a good hundred hours or so?

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