Sunday, 19 November 2017

Bringing the galaxy to heel in Star Traders: Frontiers

I've been playing a huge amount of Star Traders: Frontiers these last few days, so thought I'd do a blog about it.

Star Traders: Frontiers is the latest game from Trese Brothers, an indie game development studio that over the years has released a number of popular games for both mobile and PC via Steam.

Star Traders: Frontiers is the latest evolution of their Star Traders series, where you fly a spaceship around, tackling various challenging missions, in the meantime handling threats such as pirates and opposition factions. You have to carefully consider how you want to play, whether you're going to be a friendly merchant, making regular, if limited, money punting materials around - and being a tasty target for pirates - or perhaps a tougher sort of captain, not necessarily able to cart around as much valuable cargo but able to bring bad guys to justice.

Or you could just be one of the bad guys and blow everyone out of the sky.

This would be my captain, Captain Dupee.  He has a big sword.

A great deal of time is spent travelling from planet to planet, as you can imagine, luckily the game's well set up to keep track of what missions you have on at the moment, and where you need to go. It's worth pointing out that the game is in Steam's Early Access programme, so there are still bugs being ironed out - one of which that I seem to have is old missions hanging around even after being completed - but the bugs don't generally detract from the game.

You'll spend a lot of time on screens like this, watching your ship fly from one place to another, hoping not to run into any ships

You will do a lot of combat, especially ship to ship combat. The combat system is good, not particularly complicated but with enough options to keep it interesting for a while.  I would say, however, that eventually it does get a little repetitive (at least on the basic difficulty setting - it may be on harder settings it gets more challenging)

Starting ship to ship combat. I'm the one on the left, by the way.

Suffice to say, I clicked some buttons, and the other ship blew up.

One of the features I particularly like is the ability to carry out various tasks while in planetary orbit, such as Patrol, Blockade, or Spy.  Each of these gives the player opportunities to obtain certain benefits - for example, Patrolling a planet hopefully leaves a good impression on the faction controlling the planet, whilst Spying gives you the chance to grab valuable intel data to sell to your preferred contact.

These tasks work by dealing five cards (which can be good or bad), and at random one of the five cards takes effect, although you can use the abilities of your crew to try to avoid the worst events.

Here I am spying on someone. Hopefully I might get something good... or I might just get a load of my crew injured. Fingers crossed!

You'll spend a lot of time also down on planets (and also various space outposts), refuelling, repairing, upgrading, buying and selling goods, and, a particularly important part of the game, managing your crew. You've got a pack of hardy spacers on board your ship, and if you aren't treating them right, they'll take every opportunity to flee the ship when you put in to port, or even rise up in mutiny.

The game has a lot of impressive graphics such as this, which you totally forget about when you're busy playing! It's very nice.

Providing that you look after your crew, they'll stay with you and gain abilities and talents on the way, becoming more useful as time goes on.

Think this guy is wearing lipstick. But hey, he's piloting my ship, if that's what he wants to do I'm not going to stop him.

Less often you'll get into crew combat, where selected crew members face off against pirates, scavengers, or even aliens.

It's a good day to die. For the other side, that is. Not mine.

You can also spend time exploring wildernesses on unexplored worlds, which is usually very dangerous but can allow you to discover some valuable items not usually available.

Time to pay my crew.

There's a great deal of depth to the game, with various characters that you meet and work with, furthering the story line, and you get to choose which ones you want to support. You'll also build up a database of contacts on various worlds, which you'll need in order to access specialist military equipment, black markets, rare goods, and additional missions.

So, I have to say that this game is well worth shelling out for. If you like space exploration, some good storylines, a bit of fun and challenge, check out Star Traders: Frontiers.

Before I go, do check out my Indiegogo campaign to support the codification of Pokey Hole: The Game :)


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