Initially available for a brief window during Steam Next Fest, the unconventional outer space FPS Boundary is now available as a Steam Early Access title. The game is currently on Steam for $22.49 until April 20 (normally $24.99).
The narrative of Boundary is virtually nonexistent, but essentially, you’ve got a bunch of astronauts armed to the teeth, shooting each other in low earth orbit. If you watched the second season of For All Mankind, you’ll immediately get the gist.
The UI and overall gunplay will feel familiar to anyone that’s played a Call of Duty title like Black Ops 2, however, Boundary forces you to come to grips with unique mechanics to secure success. If you forget for one second that you’re in space, the game will quickly remind you that your standard rules of engagement don’t apply here.
Boundary’s differences are immediately apparent, as you can move in any direction, and there’s no up or down in space, which gives you and your adversaries far more traversal options. Since floating around would get you nowhere fast, moving around in Boundary is accomplished via giant jetpacks that resemble the MMU (Manned Maneuvering Unit) that NASA used in the ’80s, except these feel more akin to power armor, with extra armaments and gadgets attached to them.
While you can always land on a solid surface to eliminate the inertia associated with thrusting through space, moving on solid ground severely limits your tactical options and makes you easier to spot.
The maps all take place around some type of orbital installation with a mess of debris to provide cover. Floating in space and popping up to get in a quick shot on the opposition is the default, but nifty gadgets like a grappling hook and EMP devices add a few tactical wrinkles.
The armory in Boundary feels far more realistic than something you’d find in your usual sci-fi shooter. The weaponry skews more towards practicality, avoiding lasers and directed energy weapons for recognizable guns that have been adapted to work in zero gravity.
Despite the extraterrestrial setting, the world of Boundary still feels grounded thanks to lots of little touches that nail the setting. For instance, many of the weapons are painted white because a matte black weapon would essentially melt in direct sunlight. These touches aren’t just aesthetic, either; the way sound travels (or doesn’t travel) in space forces you to stay vigilant of your surroundings, and makes it much easier to sneak up on opponents.
Developer Surgical Scalpels hasn’t released a roadmap outlining when we can expect new features and other content for Boundary, but it is certainly worth checking out in its current state.