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Station Vacations: The Spatials

The Lonely Planet guide to lonely planets

The Spatials [official site] is a space station management sim with squad-based combat and looting. Now, even though I'm usually an advocate of squad-based combat and looting, I'd much rather be poring over construction plans and monitoring the cravings of my crew and any visitors who happen to pop in for tea and biscuits. Thankfully, The Spatials' combat sections are in the form of away missions rather than taking place on your station, which means they won't interrupt your managerial musings. The game is out now and I spent an hour with it this morning.

A quick set of tutorials introduces the basic concepts. As far as station construction is concerned, it's all remarkably simple - place corridors, place rooms, add items to rooms. In the early stages, those rooms contain sleeping quarters and warehouse space. Later, you'll be splitting your resources between manufacturing facilities and tourist facilities, to please visitors. Setting up a thriving station seems fairly simple - a case of monitoring supply and demand, while maintaining an efficient layout - and I'm not sure there'll be much of a challenge.

I'm not sure the game is supposed to be particularly challenging though. Its a sedate thing that aims for a leisurely pace rather than applying pressure, and sometimes that's exactly what I want.

The combat is fairly laid-back as well. Every time you start a new game, The Spatials creates a randomised galaxy and you'll be able to send squads to salvage resources from many of the planets that unlock as you progress through the systems. Levelling up crew members is a fairly in-depth process, with a few jobs/classes to select from, and a range of skills to develop. Combat itself is real-time but I've found it stress-free.

That might change later on but, in the early stages at least, this is the kind of game that happily engages my brain but doesn't test my patience. It might also fail to engage my interest in the long-term but I'm already making plans for a prolonged visit this weekend.

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