if level one difficulty is this hard i cant even begin to imagine how hard the later levels are. When i first played this game i wondered why the average session length was 30 minutes, I later found thats its because after 2 levels of being thrown to the wolves the will to want to play goes down. I will still play this game because i like a challange but i would recommend rethinking what a level meter means in terms difficulty as first planet level 1 threat is not the same as 2nd planet level 1 threat level. I think you should start with three players rather than 2 as I would be able to try a strat then just placeing down a turret and leaving an engineer there and then use the other guy to go get ore
My first three games I thought it was pretty tough, I didn't like being dropped into a difficult new level, dying and being sent back to the start.
But on my fourth game, I completed it!
My strategy was to pick up more crew members from the distress beacons. When I was low on crew or on resources, I would go back and play an earlier level planet.
I surrounded my ship with strong turrets, and kept one character repairing them. My crew couldn't fight very well, so they just had to hide and sneak past enemy lines.