One of the developers behind the rock solid top-down shooter Teleglitch: Die More Edition is working on an FTL-inspired spaceship roguelike that, judging by the bits of the demo I've played, looks promising. Shortest Trip to Earth [official site] has just hit Indiegogo, looking for $35,000 (£27k), and the demo contains a tutorial and two sectors of space to blast through.
You deck out a ship with different modules, move your crew about to man different sections, explore far-flung planets and battle alien craft in real-time. The aim is to get to Earth by surviving 10 space sectors, refuelling and collecting valuable resources as you go. It doesn't have the same polish as FTL (not yet, anyway), but watching your crew scamper between their stations is satisfying. What impressed me the most was the writing and the number of individual stories it throws up as you explore.
In my first sector, for example, I scanned a desert planet for life forms. My scanners found a cave so I risked a couple of drones that got chewed up instantly by some monsters. I could've left them alone, but instead I sent a three-man strike crew to blast them away. Lurking deeper were a friendly alien race who asked for my help: they were cowering indoors because of a beast that roamed the surface of the planet. Could we, pretty please, take it out for them?
I obliged, bombing what turned out to be a giant robot from afar, and was rewarded with a bunch of resources, the gratitude of the aliens and ten pots of spiced sandworms, a local delicacy. If was enjoyable, detailed, and each section of the mini story was accompanied by hand-drawn artwork. So far, so good.
The developer is Interactive Fate, a four-strong team including Edvin Aedma, one of the group that created Teleglitch. They're hoping to launch the full version of Shortest Trip to Earth in the first half of 2018.