Strange Adventures in Infinite Space
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This is my kind of game you don't have to get deeply involved and it's over quick. If you are looking for something with lots of high-end graphics and deep game play then don't look here.
If you need a quick distraction this is the game for you. The most time you will spend on this game is the first time you play, you will need to read everything to figure out what you are supposed to do, once you figure out the basics, then the game is fairly straightforward. Check out the Digital Eel website for lots more info.
This little space exploration game follows in the tradition of Galactic Trader, Star Control, Masters of Orion, Space Bucks, etc. All the stereotypical components are there: The friendly bird-aliens who just want to trade, the other not-even-close-to-human aliens who just want to blow you out of the sky, the neat-o keen-o weaponry, warp drives and valuable artifacts. But there's a twist: You only get 10 'galactic years' to complete your mission and return home. Also, much of the area you're exploring is inside a nebula, in which most standard warp drives don't work. Without a top-notch warp engine (hyperdrive, graviton implosion drive, nebular sled drive), there's no way to hit every planet and get home, so you have to pick and choose. The other result of the time limit is that your game is over in about 15 minutesbut that's not to say you won't be sitting in front of your computer playing it for much, much longer than that.
The one drawback is the game's repetitiveness. Every time, it's the same aliens, the same star names, the same modest selection of goods and gizmos. It begs for some sort of expansion module to give it a little more variety. After a while, the game reduces to formula: Find the Klakar (the bird-aliens), stock up on the best drive and weaponry you can find, pray that you can fill in any tech gaps within the first few planets and that you're heavily armed enough to take on the Urluquai and Tan Ru when the time comes. Sooner or later you'll hit the point where you've got the hyperdrive, the particle vortex cannon, the reactionless thruster, all the best artifacts, you've taken out the Yellow Kawangi (nothing is as satisfying as vaporizing the Yellow Kawangi), hit every planet and made it home in time for lunch, and you've racked up some 11,000 credits on the scoreboard. Where do you go from there? Unfortunately, there's nowhere left to go. Still, for a good 50 hours of entertainment at least, the price is right.