Buck Mann is a down-on-his-luck Space Trucker. With his Robot Buddy Adaam-12 in tow, he makes dangerous delivery runs through Asteroid Thickets and Space Pirates for various corporations, both to pay off his gambling debts and regain his former fame as an Ace Pilot.
You start each run with a ship shaped out of hexagons, on which components can be built. After attaching your cargo and a few basic components, off you blast through 2-D Space. You do not control your ship, instead you must manage its defenses and collect resources from destroyed asteroids and enemies to build additional components. Do you add more thrusters to get a bonus for speedy delivery, or additional turrets or shielding to survive the trip? Often a run requires reconfiguring your ship several times on the fly.
- Anti-Armor: As in FTL, ion cannons drain shields very quickly, but only deactivate components rather than damaging them.
- Asteroid Thicket: A major source of resources for upgrades. And blowing up your ship if you don't blast them out of the way.
- Construct Additional Pylons: Advanced components require an adjacent power station. This can create a conundrum over whether two basic components would serve you better.
- Deadpan Snarker: Buck generally has a snarky comment ready for any occasion. Liam O'Brien even manages to make his voice sound uncannily close to Garrett from the Thief series. Adaam-12 also vents a constant stream of quips when things go wrong during a run.
- Deflector Shields: Of the "several independent barriers" variety.
- Expy: The protagonist Buck Mann is a pretty obvious one to Han Solo. The voice Liam gives him is also similar to Spike Spiegel and Dandy.
- Hugh Mann: The representative from one companies is very adamant that he and his associates are perfectly normal humans.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: In a sense. The cargo you carry takes up space - often a lot of it - and in some cases comes with additional restrictions (breaking down if not adequately powered, for instance, or needing to connect to a central node to be counted when you reach your destination). In addition, more powerful components are large and often awkwardly-shaped, not to mention that thrusters and most weapons need to be placed on the outer edge of the ship... a large part of the game is making sure there's room for everything you need.
- Rail Shooter: You're barreling along the path, blowing up stuff before it collides with you or shoots you down. Technically, you can hit the brakes by disabling your thrusters, but that's a bad idea if you want to be paid well.
- Shout-Out: One level is based on Star Wars and involves traveling through an Asteroid Thicket with a ship shaped like the Millennium Falcon. It even has an achievement called Never Tell Me the Odds for making a hyperspace jump during the mission.
- One of the corporation representatives is an epxy of Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Space Friction: If your thrusters are destroyed, you'll slow down.
- Space Pirates: Your primary enemies. One in particular keeps hounding you for the radioactive waste you're transporting for one company.
- Space Trucker: The whole premise the story is built around.
- Tower Defense: The game's primary pedigree, with the special wrinkle that it's your towers that are moving along the path.
- You Require More Vespene Gas: "Space nuts" are the resource used for building components. As in, little hex nuts that drop from destroyed enemies and asteroids. No, you may not question this.