The Banished Vault’s giant space cathedral will take off on July 25

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Sun Dogs designer Nic Tringali’s next game ticks a lot of boxes for me. As Alice0 wrote when The Banished Vault was first announced seven months ago, the idea of ​​exploring space in “an interstellar gothic monastery” is obviously an instant yes, but I’m also drawn to its neat grid-like maps of its procedurally generated solar systems, as well as the haunting monochrome portraits of your band of exiled survivors. It looks stunning, and luckily the wait is almost over, as Tringali and publishers Bithell Games have announced that it’s coming to PC on July 25th.

Born out of Tringali’s love of board games and mathematical space travel, The Banished Vault will be a game based around dice racing, resource management, and building, they told me at GDC earlier this year. “[The Vault] it’s a big mothership, it’s a gothic monastery, and it’s like a big city. It goes from star system to star system, and there’s a big inciting event at the start of the game that kills everyone but your crew, and now you’re running away and trying to survive.”

You’ll need to manage said crew, as well as your inventory, fuel, and resources as you travel through the stars, and your main objective upon arriving in a new solar system is to build up enough stasis so you can hibernate your ship to move on to the next one. You’ll need to be pretty quick though, as you’re also on the run from the horrific apocalyptic force known as Gloom, which will gobble up your vault if you don’t get out of the system in the right number of turns.

To ensure your survival and ensure you have enough resources to keep outrunning him, you’ll need to study his wonderfully organized planetary maps, whose neat, descending grid lines tell you how much energy it will cost you to land on his various planets. It could, for example, cost six energies to land on a planet, but only one to orbit, which Tringali says “sort of replicates how space travel actually works in a very numerical way.”

Image credit: Bithell Games

This line of thinking also applies to how your ships move, “where the more fuel you spend, the less efficient everything becomes,” they say. “So a big move will cost a lot, a lot, a lot more fuel than a very small one.” Luckily, you’ll be able to do those sorts of calculations relatively easily with its in-game calculator, which tells you how much range you’ll get from your fuel, how much it’ll cost to make a second move to land on a planet, for example, and what you’ll need to get back to the vault in one piece.

The other thing you’ll need to plan is what you’re going to do on those planets once you get there, which will mostly be building things to mine more fuel and stats for the next leg of your journey. “A really, really, really important part of the game is that every resource is somewhere,” says Tringali. “There’s no global iron pool that teleports around if you need it. If you want to get titanium to do stasis with, you have to bring that titanium and literally put it on a ship and spend the fuel and all that stuff.” Yeah, I’m calling it now – I’ll almost certainly miss several trips because I forgot to load my ship properly, there’s no doubt about that.

Assuming all goes according to plan, however, Tringali expects an average solar system to take “about an hour” to get what you need, while a typical cycle will likely contain between 10 and 15 systems (Update: Tringali has since confirmed that a more accurate number to expect is between 4 and 8). Successful races will also unlock new starting configurations, Tringali says, like having six characters at your disposal, or two, or having unlimited Solar System restarts or an Ironman mode, for example. I imagine this will change the way you play quite a bit, so it looks like there will be plenty of reasons to take the monastery out for another round if you want more.

All in all, I’m pretty motivated to give it a try myself, so watch out for more thoughts when it releases on Steam on July 25th.

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