I had the honor to take part to this game's playtest and it's a pleasure to finally see it published.
This is a work of love and passion. You can see the guys at DwD studios put an insane amount of work and energy into this project, and the result is a top notch, rules-lite, modern RPG which also retains that nostalgic "old school" feeling.
The game is openly inspired to "old school" RPGs (specifically, the classic RPG "Star Frontiers" from TSR), but don't get fooled: this is a modern game, which benefits from all the experience gained in decades of Role-Playing.
The layout is clean and professional. The art is very good, especially considering the low price of the final product.
A special mention should be made for the included fillable PDF character sheet, which is invaluable for modern players IMHO.
This new incarnation and evolution of the D00 Lite system used in previous games from DwD studios (BareBones Fantasy, White Lies and Covert Ops) gives more value to an already great ruleset. Basically, all abilities and skills are percentiles, and rolling less than or equal to your score on a D100 grants you success. You get a critical success or failure when the tens die and the units die show the same number. It's a system that's both very effective and very easy to use in practice.
There are six base abilities (strength, agility, coordination, perception, intelligence and willpower) which can be used directly for actions that do not require any specialization or can be combined with 12 skills that cover all the needs for any modern or sci-fi setting, ranging from Academic to Explorer, Marksman, Pilot, etc. And you can add your custom skills to cover anything that's specific to your setting or not in the rules. My personal pet peeve, and possibly the only weakness in the ruleset, is the absence of a charisma ability (willpower is used instead) - although you can easily add it if you want: all the rules will just keep working with no conversion or adaptation needed.
Skill may have specializations, and some skills (like for example Technician or Scientist) require you to specialize, granting you a bonus on a more specific field of application (for example, a Scientist can specialize in Life Science or Physical Science, etc.).
There's also a neat rule for Advantage and Disadvantage, which is tightly connected with how the skill system and racial bonuses work.
Most rules are either optional or very easy to modify to your liking, and that makes the game an excellent starting point to build your customized RPG experience, if you need to. In my opinion this may be one of the best selling points for this game!
Character creation is a process that can take only a few minutes, but does not sacrifice anything in terms of flexibility and character customization. With the way skills work, you can actually create your customized class every time you create a new character - all in an easy and quick way.
There are five playable species in the game, including humans and robots, each with a specific set of options to create a unique character. In the Referee's Handbook, which should get published in a few weeks, you also get an awesome chapter with rules to create your own customized species, and a few other boons like psionic powers to further enhance your characters.
Character progression is designed to be sligthly on the slow side, in line with the "old school" feel of the game, but it's never punishing or frustrating. And you can still have your characters progress at a faster rate if you prefer.
Benefits are probably the best progression option in the game. When your character attains new "ranks" you get Skill Benefits, linked to your skills, and Loyalty Benefits, linked to the organizations you work with or for during your adventures. Benefits can grant you all kind of boons, ranging from special bonuses and advantages to in-game use of facilities like specialized laboratories, starships, etc.
You get destiny points, which let you re-roll, change the result from failure to success, etc. These are assigned based on a simple but very effective rule that helps compensate some of the character's weaknesses when they have particularly low abilities or lack the skills to survive dangerous situations, like for example combat.
At the end of the Handbook you get a full set of 20 pre-generated characters ("Archetypes"), which cover a wide range of specializations. These are incredibly well made and really make you want to check them out and play them!
A ton of weapons, armors and technology is included in the Equipment chapter. You'll find everything you need here, and a lot of surprisingly clever and interesting pieces of equipment (like for example all the different kinds of Scanners). A special mention should be made for how well the game combines different kinds of damage (physical, energy, sonic, stun...) in a very simple and effective way.
With dedicated chapters for Robots, Vehicles and Starships full of pre-generated, ready to use stuff, the Handbook packs a whole lot of content considering the price.
There's also a chapter on the standard setting for the game, which is exhaustive enough to get you started and interesting enough to spark your imagination. The galactic map of the "Frontier" (the sector of space where the setting takes place) you get together with the manual is really well made and useful. The game never forces you to use the included setting, but it's a great starting point for your adventures.
The game is a must have for any Sci-Fi RPG enthusiast out there. Whether you like hard sci-fi, space opera, cyberpunk or any other sci-fi-related genre, this game has all you need to kick off a great and incredibly fun series of adventures!
We never stopped playing it after the playtest, and are sure to keep at it for many long years yet. :)