Man Solo: Smugglers IV Demo


I’ve been easing into the morning with a demo of Matrix-published Niels Bauer Games-developed turn-based space-exploration thing. It’s basically Elite… but turn-based. Get missions, screw your reputation, shoot mercenaries and similar. At least with the equipment in the demo – they stress there’s a lot more in the full version – the combats are pretty repetitive, but it basically seems like a more-complicated long-form version of Strange Adventures In Infinite Space, with some role-playing-game-esque skill-trees. To be honest, with the right implementation, I’d almost rather play an Elite clone like this rather than something like X. The interesting thing is the choices, not the flying. You can find more info here but there’s no video online, so instead I’ll link to Reel 2 Reel (feat. the Mad Stuntman)’s I Like To Move It instead. The “It” in question being “resources from a low-price planet to a high-price one”.

I’ve always considered RPS the mad-stuntman of PC videogame blogs. Because I’ve never pretended I was bright.


  1. Whiskey Jak says:

    Wow… 7:57AM here in Montreal and that’s how I start my day, with Reel 2 Real… Where does it go from here? I wonder and I’m afraid.

  2. BooleanBob says:

    ..c-can’t the interesting thing be both?

  3. Wisq says:

    I found this a couple months back and I really wanted to like it. I had been looking for something similar to Elite / Freelancer / etc. but turn-based, taking the twitch out and letting me concentrate on the strategy.

    This seemed to fit perfectly, so I grabbed the full version. Sadly, I found it was still pretty boring and repetitive all the same. It’s the video game equivalent to walking up to random people on the street, engaging in a vigorous prolonged game of rolling dice to see who gets the higher rolls more often, and then walking away to find someone else. Except somehow that actually sounds more fun.

    Given that it’s been months and I eventually ditched the game, I don’t recall all the exact details in perfect clarity. But as I recall, the thing wot bugged me the most was how difficult it was to acquire even an entry-level variant of the top-end class (battleships I think). You can’t just buy them, you have to board and capture them. But that’s like giving you a yacht and telling you to go capture an aircraft carrier — it just ain’t gonna happen.

    I started raiding ships and stealing their battle robots or whatever, trying to build up enough of an elite force to steal me a battleship, but in the end, boredom set in and I never did achieve that goal. I still don’t even know if it’s really possible short of insane luck.

  4. leederkrenon says:

    is it similar to space rangers 2?

  5. Huw says:

    I’m not going to talk down this game, having not played it yet. But what I will say is that Smugglers 3 was full of promise but ultimately horrible. Very boring, very repetitive, and frankly as shallow as a puddle. It was quite poorly coded too. And too easy.

    I’ll give the demo of Smugglers 4 a shot to say if things have progressed, but I won’t hold my breath.

  6. Not fond of smugglers says:

    What Huw said is true for Smugglers IV as well. Played it a year ago, and it did many of the right things, but the execution was horribly boring and dull. Endless trade-grinding, horribly uninteresting and time-consuming combat, et.c.

    leederkrenon: Kinda, sorta, but a lot less fun. Check out Escape Velocity: Nova instead.

  7. EthZee says:

    Surely that’s the point of Elite, though? Quick-action bouts of frenzied dogfighting between long stretches of ferrying cargo from one planet to another? Making the combat in an Elite-like turnbased seems a tad silly to me. But I am also a tad silly.

  8. Glove says:

    Just like to say – excellent title pun.

  9. Railick says:

    Space Rangers 2 is awesome, but no ability to own Battleships either :P ( I think, I've never seen a REAL battleship at least even the AI's battleships still look small )

    I wish X3 worked on my computer as I love the "idea" of but I just can't play it more than 30 minutes without it crashing all over the place and making my wife sick.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Space rangers 2 zooms out when you are in a larger ship i think. Or at least it seems to. When you go from the end of a campaign to the start of a new game you realise how tiny you look.
      The sprite of your ship is bigger the larger your hold space, for fighting the enemy systems your are generally best served by a medium light ship but traders need more space, thus the freighters are the biggest ships.

  10. Baris says:

    The internet would be a nicer place if everything had a little Kieron in it.

  11. Huw says:

    Yeah, you can own battleships (IIRC), they just don’t look any bigger on screen than any other ship.

    Incidentally, Space Rangers 2 pisses all over Smugglers 3 in every conceivable way. :)

  12. Huw says:

    That was supposed to be a reply to Railick. Is this comments system broken?

  13. CdrJameson says:

    The Mad Stuntman? Woo! It’s Space Crusade time, really obscure reference fans!

  14. mike says:

    Ohhh, turn-based. Since I’ve gotten bored from playing Armageddon Empires, I’m always on the lookout for new turn-based goodness. And I don’t want to wait until Solum Infernum (or whatever his next game is called).

  15. Lagmint says:

    I have wanted a slow turn based game recently. Hmm…

  16. Railick says:

    I wish someone would remake Emperor of the Fading Suns :(

    Shadowcat “It hammers at my retinas like an evil woodpecker of pure energy”

  17. Peace of Eight says:

    Liked the demo, picked up the full version. It’s provided several hours of entertainment thus far, and still holding my interest. Whereas Space Rangers 2… ugh. Despised the game. Different strokes…

  18. Post Maker says:

    Just putting this out there, I really thought the post said “Snugglers IV Demo” at first.

    A little disappointed, I admit.