A shorter post for this fine Wednesday, as I don’t have much to review. Turns out May has been a bit rough for the three of us at Faceplant, what with Elrood moving to a new city in order to escape his mob connections and Enosh coming down with a regrettable case of narcolepsy. Me? I was recently diagnosed with a terminal case of the awesomes. Incurable. Damn. Nothing left to do now but be goddamn incredible for the next sixty years.
Anyway, a short review for a short game. I picked up Artemis Spaceship Simulator off of the interwebs the other day, which has provided quite a few challenges for a small group of friends that I have conscripted into my spaceship crew. Challenges vary from finding a way to distribute the game to my loyal crew to nuking some damn space whales right out of orbit. I… thought they’d drop space oil to light our ship’s space lanterns during space night.
Before you get all bent out of shape here, let me state this straight up: Artemis has a distribution method that relies, in part, on the honor system. This small indie game, created by Thom Robertson, costs a whopping $40. On the Artemis website, its stated that by purchasing one $40 game, you’re also purchasing the right to distribute said game to six other individuals, who will act as your loyal space ship crew.
The game has an interesting premise, though it’s obviously geared more toward playing during lan parties than online. Unfortunately, as most of my friends have long since been converted to pixels, I’ve never had a chance to see how the game measures up in person.
Artemis also takes quite a bit of set up. You need one computer to act as the server. This computer will also have the main screen for your ship, which I’m told is essentially handy for navigation. The computer running the main screen can’t be used by a player, though you can change what is displayed on it pretty easily in game.
Stations include helm, which flies you hither and yon, weapons, which blows things right the eff up, engineering, which can power different systems, coms, which are useful for insulting your foes mommas, and science, which can scan all sorts of things. You can double up on some things, but keep in mind some combinations aren’t ideal. Like if you’re going to be weapons, you’re also probably not going to want to have to fly the ship yourself too.
There is a surprising amount of depth you can achieve when all five stations are working together. It should also be noted the game is designed for someone to act as “captain,” who doesn’t get a screen and spends a lot of time leaning over shoulders and shouting nonsense.
The goal of the game is to fly around, dock at stations, get missiles, and scan and insult some alien jerkwads. In theory.
There are a number of different game modes that vary from defending bases from waves of incoming foes to completing missions by defeating incoming foes. Sometimes you can scan nebula. Sometimes you can come across space monsters that will chase and then eat you.
Unfortunately, difficulty in the game varies between “way too easy” and “there is no goddamn way we’re going to live.” Artemis, the actual mission part of the game, seems rather half baked at this point in its development- although that could be simply because I don’t have enough friends to even completely fill one space ship.
Still, something about the game is compelling, and working with your friends to die in a fiery explosion is pretty fun. Little things, like the time Enosh powered down maneuverability so much we couldn’t stop or turn until we hit the edge of space, or the time when I totally nuked a group of space whales, because apparently I am part viking (did vikings go whaling? Man I am lousy at whale history).
If you can get a few friends to go in partway on Artemis, I think it would totally be worth a shot, especially for groups of friends who loved watching sci-fi shows like Star Trek or… Spaceship… Time. Yeah. But I think only those who really love the genre will get the most mileage out of the game.
I should also mention here that Artemis comes with a “game master” position, in the true spirit of Dungeons and Dragons. This position can help you make your OWN adventures, if you care to sit down and learn the controls. The sky can be yours to shape, explore, conquer, and then blow up in.
Did I mention the space whales? They need some explodin’.