Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Indie Game Review - Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator by Thom Robertson

Now this is a rather unique game, I remember posting news and screenshots about it quite a while back and thinking that it looked like a cool and somewhat unusual idea.  My erstwhile reviewer Josh has taken it upon himself to provide this fine review:

Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator by Thom Robertson

This game is one of those games where almost everyone has the idea of doing exactly the same thing, but never actually makes it. In this case it is thus: “ Wouldn't it be cool to get some people together and each control one of the consoles on a spaceship, like Star Trek?” well, this game is essentially that. It is a multiplayer game where players each take control of a station, be it helm, weapons, science or a few others, and the players must all coordinate with each other, often through the captain who sees a 3-d view of what is going on.

This is primarily a simulation, although it is indeed an extremely fun game, and in simulations there are two main factors, Realism and Authenticity.

As far as realism is concerned, the controls are not such that you would need a degree in astrophysics to pilot one of the spacecraft you are able to command in this game, in that respect fun seems to take precedence. However, in the Authenticity department, the game is wonderful, the level of detail is amazing, and it adds to the immersion immensely. One example is that when the pilot causes the ship to jump (one of the two high speed travel methods, jumping being similar to teleporting in effect), all of the players screens will go block, and then actually flicker back on. It may not seem like something to cheer about but when you are playing the details are very noticeable.

As per usual, the big question is thus: Is the game fun?

The short answer, Yes.

The long answer, yes, it is fun but there are some ways of playing that are more fun.

The optimal way to play is with at least 3 people, as it is a very tricky balancing act to use all the ship’s systems. You can play on a LAN, although I have also played online via a hamachi server. Playing online does require much better communication and coordination as you cannot walk over and see someone else’s view screen. I would highly recommend the pilot use a joystick, as it is not only more fun, but it is easier to control too.

The pre-made missions are fun to play, although they are mostly very difficult scenarios and would take some practice before they can be completed without much trouble.

This game has two main uses, in my opinion.

First, as something a group can get together once a week and really go at, trying to beat the toughest missions.
Second, as a party game.

At the time of writing the game is $40, which may at first seem expensive, however the game can be shared with a whole group, and for a game ideally played with a group of five or six people, with almost unlimited replay-ability, that is pretty good value.

You can get your hands on the game at http://www.artemis.eochu.com/

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