A Skywalker Of Sorts: Star Nomad 2

While Elite: Dangerous makes planetfall and Star Citizen makes another million, there’s a thriving 2d space RPG scene for anyone without the horsepower to run those modern behemoths, or anyone who prefers singleplayer simulations to multiplayer playgrounds. Starsector is a recent addition to my playlist of galactic sandboxes, as is the splendid Endless Sky, and now we can add another to the list. Star Nomad 2 [official site], the sequel to a game I don’t remember even hearing about, is another challenger to Space Rangers 2’s position as Best Open World Dynamic Space Game.

Set for release on the 15th, Star Nomad 2 is a lovely thing. I’ve only had a quick go on the beta so can’t say how well every feature will hold up, but it all feels solid. It’ll have to be if it’s going to support the kind of freedom that solo developer Huy Phan is aiming for. As is usual in the genre, you can trade, pirate, hunt bounties, mine, smuggle, escort or protect. You can also drift around, nomad-like, and encounter random events or watch as factions dynamically fight for territory. You could even pick a side if you so choose, commanding your squad as capital ships light up the void with their fleets buzzing around them.

There are plenty of games that try to simulate space trading and all of the violence that inevitably surrounds these silk starlanes, but Star Nomad 2 might be one of those that captures something really exciting. Here, taken from the FAQ, is how trading works:

“How deep is the trading system?

“Deep. There’s the basic dynamic supply & demand mechanism, such as price fluctuations based on buying/selling of goods. Beneath that, there’s local system wealth that affects production of goods.

“This is affected by global events such as trade crises (think a viral outbreak on the colony), as well as Piracy, Alien Raids and Faction Conquest turning the system into a massive war-zone.

“An NPC merchant ship that successfully trades with a port will up its wealth/production, while those en-route that fall prey to Piracy (NPC or player) or Zerker raids will diminish the wealth of the port.”

It’s all of that, along with the random encounters and dynamic factions, that has captured my interest. I haven’t seen any dynamic events in-depth during my brief playtime – I dived in to check that it wasn’t held together with duct tape and prayers (it isn’t) – but I’m hoping for good things. And it’ll be released this side of Christmas. 2015 – you’ve still got it.

14 Comments

  1. EndymionAwake says:

    That quote on a deep trading system gives me hope. I always remember fondly how in Hardwar I took to running raw goods and whatnot to a certain facility in the game purely so that they’d produce a certain rare ship faster.

    • Halfgeek says:

      That is a brilliant idea! There’s a similar feature in SN2, some ports that are doing well have more varied and better modules & ships to sell. They also sell it at a better price if they are doing well economically, so it’s an incentive to trade with them, remove pirate blockades or destroy zerker infestations to boost their economy, the discount is worth it as the rare resources to get good modules/ships are dangerous to mine & obtain. :)

  2. 1Derby says:

    Interested to hear people weigh in on this. I am looking for a worthy Space Rangers heir.

    • peterako1989 says:

      well, Im not really fond of its artstyle and graphics. Not really unique.

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      JiminyJickers says:

      I have only played a very little bit of the first Star Nomad, it was a bit simplistic and definitely not even in the same ballpark as Space Rangers.

      Hopefully number 2 can compete.

      • Halfgeek says:

        Hey there, I want to apologize for the first one, it’s really a stumbling attempt to learn how to code & do art. I posted this on facebook on SpaceGameJunkie’s group that expresses my thoughts on it.

        link to i.imgur.com

        It’s been a great learning experience, with SN2, many features that I had wanted to make, I was not limited in my ability to code them. I’m happy to say I’ve finally created something I can be proud of.

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          JiminyJickers says:

          Haha, fair enough, no worries. I’ll keep an eye on SN2.

    • malkav11 says:

      Personally I think the comparison to Space Rangers is a bit misleading. There’s two things that really set Space Rangers apart for me. One is that the game is turn-based. How often do you see that in this sort of space game? I don’t think I ever have outside of Space Rangers and sequel. The other is that Space Rangers has a variety of secondary game modes, including the RTS and dozens of funky text-adventure/sim things, that create an experience that’s got layers beyond the regular space simulation level.

      Star Nomad 2 could easily be very cool, but it doesn’t look like it does either of those things.

  3. AngoraFish says:

    I would sell my firstborn child to kickstart a genuine “spiritual successor” to Space Rangers 2, without the RTS bits.

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      Harlander says:

      Space Rangers 2, but you use the “turn RTS stuff off” option?

      (I first typed Space Raiders. Space Raiders need no sequel, they are timeless.)

      • AngoraFish says:

        Played it to death. Needs a 21st century update.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Also, next time I’d like to see all the dev effort put into making the 2D world more immersive, with lots of complex independently interacting actors and systems, rather than having the devs distracted producing a crappy, uninspired RTS module completely at odds with the rest of the game.

  4. rochrist says:

    If you try Distant Worlds: Universe, you’ll be spoiled for all of these forever!