My first voyage in Milo Games’ decisions and consequence-laden space survival/strategy ’em up OESE [official site] saw me blown to pieces. I’d tried and failed to skip an interstellar tollbooth that demanded I sacrifice 30 crew members to pass, you see, and that just wasn’t happening on my watch. My second journey saw me attempt to make contact with a black hole – an endeavor that ended as badly as you might expect. And my third venture had me taking aim at perhaps the largest Loxodontan vessel you ever did see which, again, didn’t turn out how I’d first hoped. Aye, you might’ve spotted a pattern emerging here.
Death is expected in OESE, but it’s how you navigate its 100+ encounters, how you consider the consequences of your actions, and, crucially, how far you’re able to travel each time before your inevitable and impending doom that’s kept me coming back for more.
“OESE is about your little ship, traveling alone through space trying to survive as best as it can to find a new home,” say developers Dane Winn and Alec Smith (no relation to anyone living in the RPS Treehouse) of their debut game. “Along the journey you come across different encounters with different outcomes depending on your decision. You can either try a passive approach if you’re feeling peaceful, you can try to contact or trade with whatever oddity you’ve crossed paths with or you can go full offensive and fire a missile to try and steal their power!”
Decisions are framed by three options: Offense, which lets you either gain power, attack, or fire missiles; Passive, wherein you might request ship repairs, avoid incoming ships completely, or behave in a peaceful manner; and Contact which lets you communicate, land on a planet, or trade other ships for crew. You’ll allocate a starting team of 50 members to Military, Diplomacy or maintaining your ship – each heading of which affects the success rate of negotiations in different ways – and you’ll want to ensure you keep your Power and Shield points as high as you possibly can.
Here’s a wee gander at that:
You can always do what I did, though, and, well, die loads. If your military stats are low, for example, dogfighting with hostile vessels is a sure-fire way to meet your match. Likewise deficient diplomacy often results in your crew jumping ship. In one journey, I ignored a “near-exploding bomb” and was warned it might devastate another community down the line. I’m not sure if OESE is smart enough to have this come back on me, but the fact that it has me unsure is testament to how well it conveys the decision-consequence dichotomy.