Need to know
What is it? Blue-collar spaceship deconstruction.
Expect to pay: £30/$35
Developer: Blackbird Interactive
Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Reviewed on: Nvidia RTX 2070, 16GB RAM, AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Multiplayer? Online leaderboards
Link: Official Site (opens in new tab)
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My first workplace accident was a doozy. I’d cut my teeth on enough Mackerel-class ships to know ’em like the back of my hand, stripping them bare in seconds. But confidence breeds overconfidence, and in forgetting to decompress the engine room before removing the thruster, I took a 360kg thruster cap to the forehead at 50mph. Flattened my skull like a pancake.
Shipbreaking’s good, honest work—but it pays to remember that in space, nobody can hear workplace safety violations.
Two years ago, Blackbird Interactive (developer of Homeworld Remastered Collection and Deserts of Kharak) took a step away from warring empires and operatic battles to focus on a more mundane look at the distant future—a world where those vibrant, Chris Foss-inspired spaceships are just piles of scrap ready to be turned into paychecks.
(Image credit: Blackbird Interactive)
Shipbreaking is good, honest work, and Hardspace doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with a bit of manual labour. It’s a game that relishes in teaching you the joys of learning a trade, even if it’s a ridiculously far-flung trade like cracking open starships. When I strip a Javelin to the bone in two straight shifts, I feel an immense amount of satisfaction in my ability.
Simultaneously, however, it makes it clear that multinational (multiplanetary) corporations and the pursuit of growth at all costs robs workers of their dignity and agency, turning jobs into effectively indentured servitude. It’s a voice that elevates Hardspace into more than just a wonderfully tactile zero-g demolition sim.
It’s a game about being proud of a job well done, and fighting to make your workplace one you can be proud of. It’s a deliberately repetitive thing, which might be tedious if you can’t find enjoyment out of methodically cutting apart ships across two, three, even four continuous shifts. Where small ships broke apart in minutes, pulling apart a Javelin or Gecko requires real commitment.
It’s not a job for everyone, but it’s a job well worth trying. And hey, if you manage to avoid accidentally shooting too many fuel tanks with your laser cutter, you might even manage to float away debt-free someday.
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