Space, the final frontier, and the Gloptians want you out of their inner system, otherwise you’ll be fired upon by their star cruiser. As the captain of your own starship, you just spent precious fuel and days getting to this star system in the first place. Do you a. leave or b. fight?
I didn’t think that Picard had fuel and a mission timer to worry about on the Enterprise, but here in Space Exploration, the latest PC game from indie developer Metal Beetle Ltd, those are two of the many other factors you have to consider on your mission to the stars.
The premise of the game is pretty simple with the backstory being straightforward about it. Your mission is to chart a wide area of space with various star systems in 200 days with a “sometimes” replenishable store of fuel.
As you probably can guess, the game is turn-based and plays a bit like Star Control. Travelling from one star system to another takes up fuel and days. Upon arrival, a random scenario will trigger and it’s up to you to choose from the list of response options. This includes bumping into the odd (and hostile) Gloptian star cruiser, digging up artifacts from a planet’s surface, dealing with pirates, escort missions and many more.
It’s all about loot and getting back in time and in one piece
Some of these scenarios will award you with cargo, equipment and precious fuel, while some might leave your ship and crew in a worse state than it already is. The game has some interesting touches, whereby you can trade some of your cargo for other stuff, but these are about as random as the star system encounters.
Your score is calculated based on your success rate and the number of systems explored, but getting your ship blown up, or not reaching the starting point in 200 days will get you a negative score.
The Bottom Line
The game’s graphics are functional if not basic; one thing though, the game seems to run on a weird window size, but I guess it’s due to it being a “pre-alpha” built of the game. If you have the time, and turn-based Star Control type of games are your cup of tea, do check out Space Exploration. It’s a good pick-me-up and play for short bursts kind of game (there’s no save feature anyway).
Pros: Easy, straightforward gameplay, the kind that is hard to master though.
Cons: It’s set in space…again, like many other games before this. Scenarios tend to repeat themselves too often in between games.
You can download Space Exploration here.