I’ve seen many episodes of Star Trek, but never one where Captain Picard frantically runs down a corridor of the Enterprise carrying a torpedo and slams right into Worf, who is heading in the opposite direction to shove a ticking time bomb into an incinerator. Crashing and pushing, they finally manage to pass each other in time for Picard to load and fire the torpedo.
Then he accidentally ejects himself from the ship through an air chamber and suffocates in space.
This would be a weird Star Trek episode, but it’s normal in it means warp, a frantic co-op ship management roguelite that is as if FTL and Overcooked are put on a transporter together and merged into one entity. Just like in FTL, you travel through space, fight enemy ships, and deal with random encounters and events. And, like Overcooked, you deal with it all by fumbling around like the ship’s captain, carrying items from place to place while trying to avoid total disaster.
I played a bit of This Means Warp, which is now on Steam Early Access, and it’s a fun mix of strategy and mayhem. The controls are a little awkward and the characters sway more than they run, but this adds to the tension as you try to quickly transport ammo for weapons and deliver repair kits for hull breaches. Prioritizing tasks is a constant — should I aim at the enemy’s hull to keep them busy with repairs, or should I aim at their weapons so they can’t fire back? Can I delay fixing my own hull breach to load the gun and fire another shot, or should I drop the torpedo and pick up the repair kit?
Your shipmates can be up to 3 other human players or AI-controlled companions you come across throughout your adventure and honestly, they can be as much of an obstacle as your enemies, like when the three of you are vying to catch the only torpedo available from the ammo generator, or everyone trying to get through the same narrow door to fix a leak in the hull. Coordination requires communication (or just yelling at your partners), but even playing solo, you can assign work priorities to your AI colleagues, and they do a good job of keeping your ship running.
Each victory brings new upgrades: modules that improve weapon damage or increase hull health, new features for your ship like a little robot that can carry weapons for you or automatically pick up enemy bombs and incinerate them before they do. detonate. Enemy ships get progressively bigger and more dangerous, and naturally there are gigantic ships with force fields and powerful weapons. Alongside combat encounters are time-based optional missions, asteroid belts to navigate, and visits to space docks to purchase new weapons or modules for your ship.
This Means Warp is one to check if you are looking for a fun and frantic local or online co-op game like Overcooked. Plans are for it to remain in Early Access for about a year, during which time new ship layouts, bosses, and minigames will be added. you can find it here on Steam.