I do not like all the space sim genre games... But some of them can be really quite damn good.
So, this is a space sim game, and it is an indie game, and let me tell you, it looks damn nice for indie project, which so often don't have good graphics at all. The game tells about you - unnamed protagonist - going to a very outlaw-ish sector of space because of request of your good old aunt. Who is also a smuggler. And when there, you can't find your aunt, and you are burdened with a weird tech artifact she left for you. That's the start, and after that, it's all up to you.
Now, I myself is not far into the story yet. Not enough time, and all. I can tell you, the story is not complicated, not yet at least. But while being simple, it fits the general feel of the game, which is seriously the main attraction here. I mean, do you like Cowboy BeBop anime, for example (if you don't - go shoot yourself in the head)? Do you like Firefly series (if you don't - go shoot yourself in the head)? Both those shows push for idea of a "Space Cowboy", mixing sci-fi setting with western mentality, and doing it in a way that inspired whole cult followings. And rightly so. So, this games also decided to push for that... Let me just show you the trailer here.
First of all - this is exactly the kind of music you will hear in-game. If you got exited for that alone - yes, stop reading, go get the game already. But that's generally the feel you get. This sector of space if a frontier, with mix of factions, outlaws, mercenaries and bounties. Speaking of bounties. There are a lot of them around. At times you will warp past distress beacon and change your course to get to it, only to find that it was an ambush set by pirates (seriously, it's ambush like 50% of all the times), and if you manage to beat them, you may find out that they had bounties on their heads, which you immediately and automatically claim.
More proper way, though, would be to... consult a bartender. Yep, from what I saw already, every station got a bar, and a bartender there that can share some of the trading news and also, for a price, tell about locations of a few local bounties. By the way, getting bounty is not always as straightforward as just arriving to a place and shooting everyone. A lot of times you will arrive just as the local militia would be cleaning criminals out. In that case you will have to rush to get some kills for money before every space pirate is killed. Or, alternatively, you may arrive at location and find noone but the militia ships. Well, don't despair. You can scan the ships and find out, that one of militia members actually got bounty on their head. So, if you aren't afraid of lowering relationships with that faction, you can go ahead and attack it.
And that's how it is. This place is spinning even without you there. Convoy ships are traveling around systems, miners and their escorts are being attacked by pirates, unsuspecting ships getting blown up on mine fields... Seriously, one time, while warping through the system, I literally plowed through a mine field. Thankfully, my hull held, so I just looted some scrap left from someone less lucky floating around and went along my route.
By the way, warp here is very nice because, while warping, you can turn around. Meaning you aren't selecting your destination and just pressing a button, but instead you fire up them warp drives and correct your course on route. Along the way you can find nebulas, mineable asteroids, distress beacons and just weird signals that are marked on your map. All that provides a ton of layers to what is going on. You have your main storyline, but that is wrapped in layer of missions and side-quests you can take on stations to get money (or you may just haul trade goods, mine asteroids... or hunt asteroid miners and traders, that works too), and while flying around literally anywhere you are further distracted by beacons, ambushes and just random space crap.
The most unusual thing about the game is its combat system. And here's the deal - this isn't 3D game in full sense, not for you anyways. It's 2.5D game. Because, while flying around the solar system, you can't change your altitude. Yep. The game location is virtually flat, so your options are forward, left and right. Yeah, you can't even go backwards, cause you don't have that kind of thrusters on your ships, you can either have your main engine propel you ahead, or turn it off and stay motionless.
Next big thing to realize is that you aren't flying a fighter ship. Nope, your first ship (which is called Rasputin btw) is already a sort of light cruiser, meaning you eat fighter ships for breakfast. But don't get cocky, anything bigger than you makes a scrap out of your junk-barge in a minute.
Now, with all that, space combat in this game is as close to a 16th century naval combat as you can be while staying a space combat. Your ship got turret points, on which you set turrets that fire at enemies automatically. And you are left with broad-side cannons, which you can aim, in a somewhat restricted manner. Alternatively you can switch to turrets mode, and automatically target enemies with fast firing, but I won't recommend that. Automatic turrets fire surprisingly well and clean up your enemies fighters fast enough, allowing you to concentrate at bigger target or dodging. Dodging is important, by the way, because your shields and underlying armor are separated into 4 parts, and if you are hit on the right side, you might want to turn around and allow enemy to hit your left side, which is still shielded. Shields regenerate, armor must be repaired, anything that passes that directly damages your ship's HP and systems.
In addition to all that, game has a lot of minor stuffs making it very appealing and, more importantly, convenient. For example, when you buy new ship, you do not have to re-fit it with armor and weapons - whatever you bought for your previous ship is being installed on a new one immediately. Well, if you go from having 7 turrets to having just 6, the one that didn't fit is placed in your hold. Additionally, there's no money loss on equipment deals. When you buy turret for 2500 credits, you can sell it for the same amount. And the game automatically offers you to install it on your ship. And when you don't have enough credits, but would have enough if you sell that turret and buy a new one for the same slot - game offers you that trade without making you go though the whole process yourself. All that makes things much more convenient for you, and it also allows you to freely try different equipment and weapons setups without worrying about losing money on bad choices. Which is nice, because trust me, while game works well to be convenient, it's not easy.
All in all? This is a game for space cowboys, and that says it all. Get it now, go out there, shoot stuff.