The first thing you’ll notice about Jumplight Odyssey is its beautiful aesthetic, which feels like a cross between anime and cartoons. Developed by League of Geeks, this roguelite space colony sim is a nostalgia trip. From the opening cutscene, it feels like I’m a kid again, sitting down and watching cartoons on a Saturday morning. The art direction is one of the most engaging I’ve encountered in recent memory, and it is clear that the golden age of cartoons and anime heavily inspires the game’s visual style.
As we dock into the universe of Jumplight Odyssey, two game modes are available: Create New Odyssey and Euphora’s Odyssey. The former is a playground of personalization, offering you the freedom to handpick your Captain, Starship, and playstyle. While this sandbox of possibilities might tickle your cosmic curiosity, I’d recommend saving it for a later cosmic leap. Newcomers will want to check out Euphora’s Odyssey because it is where you should start your cosmic quest. It comes armed with a tutorial that is as enlightening as essential.
Jumplight Odyssey is inspired by a golden age of animation
The tutorial begins after you leave your home planet behind, and the first order of business is to get the SDF Catalina back to some semblance of normalcy. As your division officers give you a status report, you’ll observe the six different decks of the Starship: the Bridge, Promenade, Quarter Deck, Hangar, Lower Deck, and Engine Room. You can seamlessly shift up and down between each level by using the up and down arrow or the control key and your scroll wheel. The camera gives you an overhead perspective of each area, and the ship is basking in an urgent red glow everywhere you look. Still, since you’ve put some space between your crew and the Zutopans, you can shift the Alert Level from Red Alert to Green Alert, giving the all-clear.
The first order of business – managing your trusty crew. Welcome to the Manifest, your cosmic command center for all things crew-related. You can access this hub of activity from Euphora’s captain’s chair on the Bridge or by selecting individual crew members in the environment. Here, you’re greeted with a detailed dossier on each member, ranging from emotions to health and work assignments.
Your crew is categorized into four specialized branches – Science, Combat, Supply, and Engineering. The cosmic twist? Flexibility. Need a Science whiz to lend a hand in the Engine Room? No problemo! You can transfer crew members across sections, ensuring your Starship operates like a finely tuned cosmic clock. And speaking of time, remember those rotating shifts? A portion of your crew clocks in while the rest take a cosmic coffee break. But beware – cosmic alerts like Yellow, Red, and Magenta can put all hands on deck, ready for action.
Hope fuels your crew’s belief in you as their leader in Jumplight Odyssey. It’s the guiding star that charts your course. As you nurture Hope, your cosmic odyssey thrives. But beware – despair and loss can leave your morale low. Enter Promise, your pledge to your crew. In Euphora’s Odyssey, your vow is apparent: rescue Civilians as you journey. The more survivors you whisk back to the SDF Catalina, the more Hope you earn.
As it stands, Jumplight Odyssey has much room to grow, and what it offers right now is worth experiencing. There are minor glitches, but given the Early Access status, it’s more than acceptable and will likely be fixed by launch. As a space colony sim, it has a lot to offer players looking to sink their time into, and it is both challenging and fun while rewarding once you get the hang of the systems at play. More games must look to the past for their aesthetic, too, as the visuals enthrall me, and I can’t wait to see more in-world assets.
[This impression article is based on a preview-build offered by the publisher.]