Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
“Armed with nothing but a bone to pick and seven months left to live, you embark on your last adventure.” Blendo Games’ procedural space adventure Flotilla has an inevitable conclusion, so what matters is how you and your flotilla spend those last few months. Across my many adventures, I’ve been crowned karaoke champion of the universe, helped fugitive cats, worked for a shadowy organisation, had boarding parties killed by aliens, scoured the galaxy of pirates, fled from casino debts, invented cocktails, and lost so many turn-based space battles.
Your seven months of life give you time for fourteen stops at planets around the galaxy, fourteen encounters. A lot like FTL’s encounters, they tend to pop up a dialogue box with a description and a choice. Unlike FTL, they’re quite whimsical, hinting at a weird wide universe of fun, crime, and sentient animals. Will you defend white-collar criminal pigs from pirates? Will you rob space hitchhikers or play board games with them? Will you stare into a celestial aurora and risk space madness? Will you salvage a spooky drifting ship or destroy it? Many decisions start little subplots that’ll pop up again later, while some events simply happen. I nailed that karaoke performance. No decision, no contest.
Or you’ll end up in a fight. Then Flotilla shifts into turn-based 3D combat. Positioning is key, as ships have (mostly) invulnerable armour on their front and sides but soft backs and bellies. Turns plays out in 30-second chunks of real time, so you need to predict where they’ll move. It’s simple and grows repetitive once you’ve figured out the trick, but adding new ships to your flotilla and gathering gear across your adventure does freshen it up a little.
When your seven months are up, or you lose all your ships in battle, it’s over. My adventures seem to last about 15 minutes either way, and both endings are enjoyable. Each story is complete. Flotilla’s not a game to beat; it’s an adventure to go on. At the end, it gives you a nice little recap, then it’s time for another.