Some of you will remember that last week we interviewed Mitu from The Tiniest Shark about her Star Trek social networking simulator Redshirt. Well, at this week’s EToo event in London I finally got my hands on the game and was able to start messing around in the world of Spacebook.

The first thing that stood out to me getting my hands on the game is how lovingly it captures the essence of shows like Star Trek, Red Dwarf and Star Wars in its presentation. From the introductory text scrolling off into space, to the species that draw heavily from Star Trek lore but with a humorous spin, the game knows the cultural touch stones it’s players are likely to be fans of and carefully pays homage to these while still feeling fresh and unique as to avoid any direct copyright issues. It feels familiar enough that I felt comfortable in the game’s world, but new enough that this didn’t feel like I’d seen it all before.

Redshirt-Jo-Spaceman

The character creator also fulfilled many of my hopes for it’s implementation. While there were some issues with a couple of the races on the drop down menu not being selectable in this build, the implementation of a percentage based gender slider, along with several options for altering the character’s visual design and open ended sexuality being the default for characters, the character creation menu felt like a good step in the right direction for inclusiveness in games. Maybe it’s not perfect, but it’s a good move.

The in game social network, Spacebook, has a very intuitive user interface. It’s Facebook, which is a good thing. One of my objectives in the early stages of the game was to make friends with a specific character I didn’t know. My first thought, go to the search bar at the top, type in their name, click on it when it auto completes and send a friend request. If you can do it on Facebook, you probably do it exactly the same way in Spacebook. My only fear for the game is that, as time goes on and Facebook itself changes and no longer fits this template, will that have a negative impact on the game and it’s pick up and play nature long term? Probably not an issue that will effect many players, but something worth bearing in mind all the same, particularly as the in game tutorial is currently incomplete.

I was also impressed at how easy it was to pick up on the games handling of in game social rules and constructs. I was tasked with pursuing a romance with one of the characters on the ship, so I invited just them to a social event. The problem is that their friends and mine were jealous of not being invited which lowered my social ranking with them. I realised very quickly that I had to make plans diplomatically if I wanted to be able to complete my in game goals long term, rather than just focusing on one social goal and leaving things there.

I walked away from Redshirt eager to play more. What I’ve seen still needs finishing, but it was addictive, charming and amusing. I can’t wait to dig further into the game and see if that enjoyment sustains a full extended playthrough of the game.

 

About The Author

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Laura’s gaming journey began in the 90′s when she was given a SNES by her older brother with Mario paint. From that day video games were all she thought about day or night, be it playing them, designing them, discussing them or writing about them. Why does she want to write about indie games? Because indie devs are awesome and she wants to be their new best friend by telling them how terrible their games are. That’s how it works right? Twitter: @LauraKBuzz Email: Laurak@indiehaven.com

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