Double Damage’s Rebel Galaxy is cruising out of warp onto Steam today, so those who want to get off to the best possible start may wish to peruse this guide. Not everyone is a born space gunslinger, but even grizzled galactic prospectors can stand to learn and extra tip or two.
This article will try to cover everything you’ll be getting up to in the opening handful of hours, namely Trading, Combat, and a little bit on Mining. Before we tackle those topics though, here are a few General bits and pieces that you might miss (or are not exactly spelled out) in the Rebel Galaxy tutorial.
General Tips for Would-be Space Cowboys.
At the start of the game when you’re offered either a Tractor Beam or a Mk 1 Deflector Shield, it doesn’t really matter which you choose. They’re both worth 4,500 credits and you’ll quite quickly need whichever one you don’t opt for.
The ‘Pulse’ scan (accessed through the radial menu brought by Y on the gamepad by default) is useful for more than just identifying nearby threats. It’ll reveal if a given craft has a bounty on it, and if you activate the pulse near a mission marker, it will show you any mission-critical targets (no matter how far away they might be). This can be useful if some stray pirates have followed you away from a mission zone. Using the pulse can also reveal drifting cargo containers (either from destroyed ships, or floating space ‘valuables’).
If you spot an Unidentified Signal while blasting around the galaxy, go and investigate it. These are Transponders which can be hacked with a little mini-game for additional information like bounty co-ordinates, or a resource-rich asteroid field.
Distress Calls can also be investigated, but be aware that they could be a trap. Rebel Galaxy pirates like to play at merchants in distress. If you do find a merchant in trouble, you may get a reward for your troubles. Sometimes you don’t. I guess some merchants are just tight like that.
There’s no shame (well … not too much shame) in running away from a fight. If you get in major trouble, try to boost away to create enough distance to get back into warp speed. You’ll live to space-dual another day.
Bartenders are useful sources of information. They can provide you with bounty co-ordinates (for a small fee, which you’ll earn back), as well as trade tips.
The game auto-saves every time you visit a space station, but you can also force a save if you just quit out in the middle of nowhere.
You can access several extra menus via the Start button (again, that’s the default controller command). These will show you what’s in your cargo bay, and allow you to jettison unwanted cargo – if you’ve accidentally picked up contraband, for example. You can also set turret and mercenary behaviour here (more on that in the Combat section).
When you upgrade a ship, you get it ‘empty’ – and all your existing components carry over and fill out the slots as best they can. Any left-over stuff will be stored as spare supplies.
Ship components (weapons, defenses and all the rest) sell for cost price, so you lose nothing by switching stuff around and experimenting. If you want to sell something, you’ll always get all of your money back.
To leave Rebel Galaxy’s first system, you have to pick up a Jump Drive for 75,000. The next system over is (obviously) quite a bit more dangerous, so if you plan on doing much in there it’s a good idea to have mostly Mk2 equipment first. What you can do pretty much straight after getting a jump drive, though, is pop through and visit a nearby space station to pick up trade commodities to sell in the first system or Mk3 stuff (if you can afford it).
Trading in Tasty Commodities.
Systems and sectors are randomly generated when you start a game so I can’t share any specific trade routes, but here’s what you need to know to become a thriving space capitalist.
Your starting vessel in Rebel Galaxy only has room for 10 containers, but if you know how to work the markets this can still be enough to net you a tidy profit on a solid trade route. Good trade routes will make you more money than any of the early combat-based missions.
Once you’ve visited a station, its market data will be displayed on the sector map screen when you hover the cursor over it. Pay attention to how old that data is, because if you haven’t visited in a while things could have changed.
Trade data is also displayed on the left-hand side of the market screen. It’ll show you the most recent prices for the current item you have selected, and sometimes give you a common import/export route.
The basics of trading are to buy items that are in stock and selling at RED prices (or better yet, red with an exclamation mark) and deliver them to a station that will buy with a GREEN price. On high-value items, you can sometimes still make a profit selling in white or even red – but green is always preferable.
Ideally, you want a pair of stations that are close together (or maybe three if you want to put together a triangular route) where you can purchase and deliver cheap/needed items. Find a good one-way ‘buy red, sell green’ route and then see if you can spot a decent one for the return trip.
If you have a bit of starting capital, it’s possible to find some of the more expensive starting goods (diamonds, live organs and stuff) that’ll net you a tasty 10k profit on each unit.
Be aware that prices can change fairly rapidly, and trade routes get ‘exhausted’ if you do them too much.
To help with this process, look out for events on the map (or in the news at space station bars) like Tech Booms. These can give you special rates on various goods (Tech Booms make things like data cubes and robots very cheap). Market Gluts are particularly good, because they make everything at that station super-cheap.
Contraband can only be sold at criminally-minded stations, or outright pirate outposts (who probably won’t let you in if you’ve been murdering them throughout the game). If you carry illegal goods around near militia stations, they may spot it on you. When that happens, you’ll need to answer their hail to either surrender the goods or attempt a bribe. Failing to do so will make the militia hostile. Contraband goods will be marked as red (rather than blue) when floating around in space.
If you find trading to your taste, join the Trade Guild as soon as you have a spare 10k laying around for the license. You can find their outposts marked on the sector map. Once you’re in the guild, you can pick up unique trade missions (which sometimes need a pretty big cargo bay – something else they sell) to raise your profile with the organisation and make some fat cash.
Even if you don’t do much trading it can still be worth joining. The guild offers some unique equipment and ship types for sale.
Combat and Staying Alive.
Rebel Galaxy’s combat takes place on a mostly 2D plane. I say mostly, because fighters can still fly around you and things do still show up above and below you. But what that means for the battles is that a lot of your attacks will be naval-style broadsides (think Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag) and close-range laser/beam shots. Missiles have a bit more freedom and (like fighters) can fly out of the 2D plane. These either tend to be fire-and-forget, or require a simple lock-on. Turrets can fire pretty much where they want as well.
Pay some attention to where you’re putting your turrets when purchasing new ones or re-arranging the ones you have. Different ships have different layouts, and you don’t necessarily want your primary beam laser stuck on the back end of your craft.
You can give your various turret and missile slots some automated instructions in the set of menus accessed through the Start button. This is very useful for, say, making sure that your fighter-centric turrets are busy shooting at them rather than wasting their time on capital ships. The equipment purchasing menus in space stations give a pretty good summary of what kind of specialisation (if any) a given weapon, missile, rocket, or turret might have (as well as range and damage stats).
The same menu that gives auto-fire instructions to your weapons can also be used to set instructions for a mercenary (if you’ve hired one). These fellows hang around in Rebel Galaxy’s space station bars, and have a one-off fee that seems to be based on the quality of the craft they’ll bring to the fight. You can only hire one at a time, but there’s no real down-side to having them tag along with you. Pick one up as early as you can (Garris is under 2k and pretty good for the starting system). As with your weaponry and shields and so on, you should periodically switch out your merc for a better one according to your progress in the game.
In combat, ships are armoured and shielded on four sides. If you’ve broken through on one side, keep hammering away there as much as possible rather than trying to destroy the shields/armour on another portion. This applies mostly to the larger ships – it’s hard to stay consistent with the quicker fighters.
Conversely, if your own shields and armour are taking a severe battering on one side, try to re-position yourself to avoid that (easier to do when larger vessels or static platforms are targeting you).
Don’t forget about your Deflector shield (RB by default). It has a limited charge and won’t keep everything off you, but gives you an additional protective layer when you’re under heavy fire. Get used to activating it just before missiles or beams hit you.
Pay attention to the type of weapons your enemies are using. If you’re up against a dangerous capital ship and notice that its beam weapons only come out at very short range, try to stay far enough back to avoid them (assuming you can do enough damage yourself at that distance).
There are plenty of weapons and weapon combinations to choose from in the game (especially once you’ve left the first system), and a lot of that is down to personal preference. Whatever you go for, remember that you’ll pretty much always need to deal with both fighters and larger, capital-class ships. So make sure you’ve got a spread of options for all sizes of craft.
On that note, consider hanging on to some of the turrets and weapons you swap out (especially if they’re of the same quality). You might want to switch them back in for certain missions, and it’s good to have tactical options.
I mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth stressing again: running away from a fight is an acceptable (and sometimes sensible) course of action. At times in Rebel Galaxy you’ll come up against a ship that your weapons simply can’t dent. That’s a strong hint that you need to upgrade your stuff before taking them on.
Mining for Mindful Miners.
Asteroid mining isn’t a particularly thrilling activity (though relaxing for some), but it can yield some decent cash for a modest initial outlay.
You need to buy a mining laser of some kind if you want to slice up rocks effectively. Other weapons can work, but take longer. Mining lasers are actually pretty decent in combat (albeit short-ranged), so you’re not ‘wasting’ a slot by equipping them.
When you’re in an asteroid field, shoot out a pulse and it should label the ones that will actually yield anything. Then go to town with your mining laser and pick up the rewards. You’ll probably find a lot of cheap and rubbish Metallic Ores, but every now and then (often from the unique-looking oblong asteroids I’ve found, but that may be confirmation bias) you’ll get something like Gold or Diamonds. There’s probably more exotic stuff out there too, but I’ve not done a whole lot of mining beyond the basics.
You can purchase a Fault Tracker component at some space stations, which marks certain asteroids with specific weak spots. If you destroy them at these points, you’ll get more resources out of them.
That should be enough information to get you well set-up through Rebel Galaxy’s first system, and into the second. Happy trails to all you would-be traders, miners, bounty hunters and, yes, even filthy pirates.
PC Invasion’s review of Rebel Galaxy is up now.