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Shortest Trip to Earth by   Interactive Fate and  Iceberg Interactive If Shortest Trip is telling you one thing, it’s that sp...

Shortest Trip to Earth Shortest Trip to Earth

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Shortest Trip to Earth


Interactive Fate and  Iceberg Interactive

If Shortest Trip is telling you one thing, it’s that space is a pretty terrible place.  There are asteroids to avoid, giant space worms looking for their next meal, even a race of rat people trying to burn holes in that metal tube you call a spaceship.  The space faring survival game, currently in early access on steam, is all about getting your crew of poor saps out of the coldest depths of space back to the warm embrace of, you guessed it, Earth.

Your crew's time in each star system will mostly be spent traveling
between planets looking for resources.

Finding their way back to earth requires your crew to warp between star systems using up what limited resources they have.  Your crew will spend their time in most systems looking for additional resources;  in particular the search for fuel seems like the never ending priority.  Resources can be found in most systems through mining planets, bargaining with traders, or through other random events. But space isn’t as empty as your crew may hope and often they will encounter opposing spaceships resulting in a battle that may result in new modules that can be fitted into your ship.  Or typically in my case, a  game over screen requiring a restart from square one.

It’s combat where Shortest Trip shines.   Combat mostly  requires you to direct individual crew members to manage ship modules like shields, weapons, sensors and so on.  But mostly, your crew will be busy running around the ship fixing whatever mounting damage they can before their only way home comes apart.   Considering that you mostly issue these orders in real time while choosing enemy ship modules to target and how to divide the ship's energy among your own modules, and you get what the game play is like.  The hectic nature of the  game play always feels like things are  a moment from going terribly wrong.  In other words, it’s exactly what you think space combat should feel like.  It’s ultimately a blast that will keep you coming  back for more punishment.

But wait a second,  this is all starting to sound a little familiar isn't it.   Of course it does, Shortest Trip is strikingly similar to FTL released almost six years ago right down to the colorful graphics.  A game that is also about  the realtime management of a spaceship crew as they venture through space.  FTL is a good game; a very good game.   So, I won’t necessarily complain about the developers borrowing heavily from FTL.  And besides,  maybe after six years fans of FTL are ready to see what can be added to the formula FTL seemed to help perfect.

Even patching holes require the right resources.  
What Shortest Trip does add to  FTL’s formula is mostly complexity. For example,  instead of just fuel, you will now have to manage multiple resources.  Your crew will require food (imagine that) and raw materials to patch up holes in the ship.  Combat can involve fending off multiple ships at once. Planets in  star systems can be explored in a non-linear fashion. Crew members and ship modules come with numerous stats to obsess over.  Good or bad, these additions tend to make the overall experience an even more difficult one than FTL ever was.

If you played FTL to death and are looking for more, or just want to try your hand a managing a spaceship with all odds against you, Shortest Trip is definitely worth a try. But is it worth purchasing during early access?  The multitude of star systems are divided among ten levels with only the first five levels currently available.  The last five levels as well as additional ships, modules, weapons, crew, and so on are promised as the game approaches release in January.  That being said, there is still plenty of content to keep a wanna be captain busy for some time.  If you plan to wait for a full release, I do plan to revisit game during that time to see what's new.

If you want to begin your trip back to Earth, head onto steam to purchase Shortest Trip.

Children of a Dead Earth By Q Switched productions   Time to put your thinking caps on, children; this game will have those ...

Children of a Dead Earth Review Children of a Dead Earth Review

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Children of a Dead Earth


Q Switched productions

  Time to put your thinking caps on, children; this game will have those neurons and synapses popping. This game puts the 'sim' back into simulation. It is hardcore and you will fail missions, but just like any good 'bad habit' it will have you coming back for more and more. To explain a little, the game does not make space a flat two dimensional map. You are not able to click on a dot in space and right click and move your spaceship there. You have to match trajectories and speed of other ships in orbit, etc. You also have to do this with three dimensional thinking. This is a hard game, and it is a blast. It will take time to learn and more time to master. That is not to say that the tutorials are bad, they are actually very good. It is the amount of information and the breadth of it that is a bit daunting. 

  The different start up options are: Campaign, Sandbox, Options, Ship Design, Info Links.

  The Info Links are like the rest of the game. As you proceed through the campaign, more and more of the the different parts of the game are able to be used by the player. Most of the Info Links are locked, as are some ship types and even some options in Sandbox.

   This is an early shot of the campaign game. I was having a bit of a problem in the beginning wrapping my head around the different ways to move your spaceship. For those of you like me, press on and give this sim more of your time. It will definitely be worth it in the end.

   Sandbox mode has a ton of different options for your space battles and ships, etc. 

  The different things that you can use in sandbox are: Level Presets, Celestial Bodies, Enemy Behavior Balanced to Ranged with ten possibilities in all, Allied Craft, Enemy Craft, Weapons in use, Payloads in use.


   Ship design is where you can play to your heart's content. The different weapon systems etc. are a micro-managers dream. Ships look like what real spaceships will probably look like. Do not look for tie fighters or star destroyers here. They all look somewhat alike and are very utilitarian looking.

  You get the help of the 'tactical officer' once your ship enters combat, if you need it that is.

 The game is about the earth going dead from man and other reasons. Humans have then turned to populating the universe to continue the species. In the campaign game you are playing on the side of the 'Republic of Free People', and the enemy is the 'United Sol Trade Alliance'.

   By hovering the mouse over your ship, you can see all of the interior of your new creations. You have to turn broadsides sometimes to get shots at your enemies, much like in naval battles. You can also target different systems on your opponent's ship. You can kill his propulsion and leave him floating, or target his weapons for your safety and leave him at your mercy or not.

  The game itself is well worth the effort someone like me will have to put into it. This game will test your mettle and IQ, but when you finally get it right and see your enemy destroyed it is all worth it. This is the ultimate playground for hard core simmers who are in need of a spaceship fix. 

 My apologies to the developers and to you, the readers. I meant to add a screen shot of how you move your spaceship and then forgot. You steer it using the three colored dots, moving them back and forth with your mouse after clicking on them. Radial movement is the green dot, tangential movement is the red dot, and out of plane is the blue dot.


Game: Children of a Dead Earth 
Developer: Q Switched Productions, LLC
Steam Release Date: 9/23/2016
Review Date: 10/22/2016