Theme Park In Space With Guns: The Spatials

Space is the place.

Ooh, a game about building a space station so fancy it attracts visitors from far and wide! That sounds pleasant, The Spatials. What’s that? And you’ve got star systems and procedurally-generated planets to explore too? Well gosh! And missions to complete? Aren’t you a busy little thing! And combat and looting and levelling up and whoa whoa steady on there. I’m often hesitant about games trying a lot of things, concerned they might do too much not well enough, but I do like the sound of a lot of The Spatials. Which, it turns out, has been in early access for months.

Right, so. You build a space station with everything its residents need and visitors might like – shops, gardens, kitchens, cafes, libraries, museums, holodecks, medbays, living quarters, barracks, factories, and so on – in a Theme Park sort of way (though placing the important bits within it reminds me more of Theme Hospital). That sounds grand.

You have a staff manning the station, of course, with their own needs and whims. And you can send them on away missions to planets, roaming around, shooting things, and all that space stuff. And your spacemen level up, and can be given fancy gear, and… it’s a lot to throw together. But if the station and planetary sides are decent enough and mesh nicely, it could be pretty swish. With development of Spacebase DF9 cut short, I have a hankering for a new space station game.

Here’s some sort of overview trailer:

The Spatials began life as an iPad game but after a poor start, developers Weird and Wry began revamping and expanding it for a PC release. You can buy into the paid alpha on Desura for £5.99, which will get you a Steam key once the game is out there in a few months. It won’t do the Steam Early Access thing, going straight to finished.

And here, look at this trailer from August building a burgeoning space station:

25 Comments

  1. forever123 says:

    these images reminded me of Afterlife.

    • Cerzi says:

      Well that was a massive blast of nostalgia. Thanks!

    • gnodab says:

      i like you

    • Phantasma says:

      OMG AFTERLIFE!

      I played the demo to exhaustion.

      And almost forgot it ever existed.

      Thank you so much.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Did they ever patch that game, IIRC correctly the release version had some math errors, I could never get it to work right. It looked like so much fun though.

  2. chabuhi says:

    Spacebase DF9 much?

    (I know, I know … “Evil Genius much?”, “Dungeon Keeper much?”, etc. Shame on me.)

    • The First Door says:

      Oh, if only there was something really ‘Evil Genius much’ about at the moment. Nothing has quite scratched the same itch as that game! I know it had problems, but so much of it was just lovely.

      • LionsPhil says:

        It would be hard to scratch Evil Genius’ itch again without a big publisher budget, because a lot of what made it was the sheer lushness of the experience, from the moment that orchestral theme swells onto the title screen with the silouettes dancing behind, to all the little incidental animations of your minions.

        • The First Door says:

          Very true! The style of that game carried it far, feeling like an old Bond movie where you were the baddie.

  3. Baboonanza says:

    This looks damn cool. The station building obviously has Dwarf Fortress vibes but I really like the addition of missions and a tech tree to make is more interesting. I’m in for £6.

  4. GunnerMcCaffrey says:

    Reinstalling Startopia in 3… 2…

    • huldu says:

      Now why did you have to go and mention Startopia… and the other poster with Evil Genius.

      I’ve been clean for over a year and now I’m off the wagon, installing startopia most likely followed by evil genius.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Indeed, although that comparison also makes me exceedingly wary of combat.

      (Not that Startopia is alone by a long shot. I can’t really think of a management-sim game where combat hasn’t been an unpleasant boil on the side.)

      Space Colony also comes to mind, with the flatter 2D bent, although that was smaller-scale preset individuals.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        Pharaoh’s combat works well, mostly through being just another production chain: if you’re mining enough copper and leave room for garrisons, you’ll win. Anno 2070’s combat is tolerable, mostly because it’s optional. Anno 1404’s combat comes close to greatness in concept, then fails hilariously in execution.

        Startopia combat isn’t 100% horrendous as long as you start spamming security bots and turrets along the bulkheads as soon as possible, hours ahead of when you’ll actually need them. Then, no tactics needed: just bog the other side down in a wave of metal, and click blindly on the control box thingy til one of your bots manages to waddle over and capture it.

      • sinister agent says:

        It remains a great shame that Space Colony never got a sequel. It had a lot of potential and left a pretty big gap as a genre.

  5. Distortion says:

    Is it out of line to want to rub Double-fine’s nose in what’s left of Spacebase DF9 and say “bad!” and then point at this and go “that’s how you do it”

    They pretty much have me sold on the Startopia feel, but also giving us missions and combat, and at a very reasonable price for alpha access? Yes please, thank you.

    • eggy toast says:

      Not wrong at all.

      I also bought this game, and if nothing else I’d rather have two people who are trying make a game and come short than a company that refuses to run itself well waste 5x as much of my money.

    • Tssha says:

      I don’t think Double Fine has realized it’s an indie game company yet. They’re still based in San Francisco with its high cost of living and consequent high salaries, as well as high cost per employee. I’m sincerely worried they aren’t making enough money to justify the niche genres they’re trying to produce in the city they’re currently based in.

      Not that it’d be easy to restructure, but I’m convinced that if something doesn’t change, they’ll run out of money at the worst time and leave us ALL high and dry, leaving some beloved project unfunded and unfinished. Hell, DF-9 is already considered “done”. What’s next?

      • Cinek says:

        Their problems seem to be much deeper than that. High costs are not horrible on their own, but high costs combined with poor financial management and inability to estimate your expenses is what’s slowly killing them.

  6. melnificent says:

    Skipping Early Access. Games releases done right :)

    • Shadow says:

      Except they’re doing exactly that on Desura. They’re just skipping the phase on Steam.

      There’s nothing inherently bad with Early Access itself: there’s only bad developer-side Early Access management.

  7. tokyodan says:

    There is a version in the iTunes App Store.

    link to itunes.apple.com

    • Premium User Badge

      teije says:

      Looks interesting. Has anyone tried the app? Would be interested in their thoughts on this.

      • subshell001 says:

        I played it a long time ago when it first came out. It was really quite boring from what I experienced. I don’t think they’ve been keeping it up to date, though, so if they’ve improved it in the last year I cannot comment.

  8. Premium User Badge

    samsharp99 says:

    Gave this a quick blast last night – was definitely not expecting the squad-based-action-questing-shooting part you have to do to unlock research etc.

    The buildy stuff was pretty fun though.