A dieselpunk space-themed looter shooter with World War II (WWII) weapons is strangely a good mix for our Marauders first impressions. This is a game developed by Small Impact Games, and we’ve seen a lot of promise that this game has to offer.
People have been comparing this to Escape From Tarkov, and so far, we can see where the comparisons are coming from. It’s certainly easier to pick up compared to that but it carries the same DNA.
Tell Your Own Space Story
If you’re like me and you want to jump in quickly without reading the game guide, Marauders lets you play as a space mercenary which is playable either solo or with friends. Venture off to discover different space outposts and loot valuables. Try to cover as much as possible before your oxygen tank runs out and escape the chaos.
This game also provides you with contracts to complete from each faction. These factions also have their own merchants that cycle every few minutes. I only wished that they had more item choices.
Honestly, I have yet to complete one of their contracts because most of them are pretty hard to accomplish because you need to find certain areas in the stations that you’re raiding. The easiest ones that I’ve seen so far were more on elimination missions.
The first thing that immediately caught my attention was the sound design. Unlike lighter shooters like Overwatch where they put some subtle background music while playing, Marauders gives us that adrenaline feeling of staying alert.
Immersing yourself in the Marauders atmosphere feels like you’re in a suspense thriller, especially when playing alone, anticipating the sound cues, and waiting to strike at the perfect moment.
There are some moments when players’ footsteps tend to get too loud, even if they’re far away from you. The proximity sounds could improve a bit, and it seems that it doesn’t have in-game voice chat.
If you don’t have a mic to chat with your friends over at Discord, there are some built-in voice commands by pressing the F1 to F8 keys. Tap it once so you can whisper to your teammates, or tap twice to shout. However, it can alert the AI or other players in the area so be careful once they start hunting for you.
Our Marauders first impressions on the level design and environment are quite decent, and the devs manage to pull off this strangely mixed bag of WWII, steampunk, and space elements. Even in low settings, the textures were still pretty good to look at.
The way they presented outer space was pretty breathtaking. We also like the subtle presentation of how you’re wearing an oxygen mask with some of its covering displayed on your HUD. On the lower right, you will only see your ammo count, health, and stamina.
An added challenge of Marauders is conserving your ammo, and checking your inventory becomes a vital part of the experience. I just hope that you don’t get ambushed by anyone while inspecting your loadout.
Loot. Survive. Escape. This is the general game loop that you will encounter when playing Marauders. Unlike other looter shooters that provide you with a map and compass, Marauders gives that added challenge of familiarizing yourself with the environment.
The solo experience gives it a more thriller feel if you want that sweaty and challenging experience. If you want it less scary, grab up to three friends and scavenge loot together in space.
Pay attention to your teammates’ uniforms because if you shoot them accidentally, there is no way to revive them. In my experience, I got shot by my own teammate after killing an enemy right in front of him.
Expect some fail moments, bloopers, and all sorts of humor when playing Marauders with friends. At one point, it felt like playing Among Us. Gunplay is also great, as aiming down sights also allows players to lean left and right, giving that Rainbow Six Siege peek vibes.
As far as grinding for loot is concerned, it’s doable when playing solo. The game gives you default starting gear should you decide not to equip anything before you embark on your raid. You could just equip the default gear in your ship and escape immediately, then sell your default gear to the merchant if you want the “easy” method to grind money.
The ship has a pistol, ammo, and a pouch rig. But if you’re with a team and they also decide not to bring any gear, your survival chances are very slim.
As far as customizations go, Marauders main attraction is the sense of accomplishment that you get from looting. You can craft your own gear after reaching certain levels depending on the materials that you gathered.
Weapon customization is a bit basic. Don’t expect it to be as extensive as Modern Warfare 2 since the weapons you pick up are from WWII. So far, the game doesn’t feel like it’s pay-to-win because obtaining better items requires you to sell the loot that you’ve gotten from your raid expeditions so you can buy from faction merchants.
If they were to implement microtransactions in the future, I think they can go to the cosmetic route, similar to what Valorant does with their skins. But then again, this is an open debate amongst gamers if they are comfortable with this.
Given that Marauders is an Early Access game, we cannot ignore the possible issues that you might face. One example is random players just popping out of nowhere, and you suddenly can’t shoot them. There were also times when they would disappear after a short time. You couldn’t tell if you were playing a tactical shooter or a horror game altogether.
The enemy AI can sometimes be janky, like they would camp in certain areas just staring blankly, begging for a quick kill. However, it doesn’t happen enough to really ruin the immersive experience. Another issue that we encountered is when your ship is parked in an airlock, you’ll be surprised that there’s another team right next to you, and as you try to shoot them, the hits also don’t register.
The game’s Easy Anti-Cheat doesn’t feel like it’s helping the game in catching cheaters, in my opinion, which is a possible reason why these weird bugs are coming out. Ship hijacking can also use some rework, as we couldn’t even notice if picking up keycards from the other players is even possible.
We’ve also seen some other reports from players in the Steam forums wherein one player attempted to hijack a merchant ship. After breaching the merchant ship, he changed into another character upon spawn.
Marauders left us with a good first impression so far despite the annoying bugs. If the devs manage to fix them, we believe that Marauders can be one of those go-to casual looter-shooters. Kudos to the team who thought of making an “easy” version of Escape From Tarkov.
Playing this alone might get you bored and a bit jumpy after a couple of hours, especially if you’ve seen all the stations to raid. However, playing this with a friend or two can make up for an enjoyable game session.
Note that Marauders is still in early access, so as far as its current content goes, this isn’t a bad release. We’ve seen worse. Just get rid of the cheaters, then maybe you’ll see more players pouring in hours of gameplay. We hope you enjoyed our Marauders first impressions. Get the game on Steam if you like to support the devs.
Although not yet perfect since it’s still in early access, it has received a great reception so far, garnering over 2,000 mostly positive reviews on Steam.
Take a look at our other list of VR FPS games if you’re looking for more game variety in your collection.