by Bryson Hile
previewed on PC
The Journey is What Matters
Shortest Trip to Earth is a roguelike spaceship simulator game that will have you loving it just after your first playthrough(which is going to be short). This simulator game focuses on exploration, management and space combat in different ways than what players may have seen before. No single playthrough is the same making each game different and fresh. Exploration and decision making are crucial within the game because they decide if you will live or die. Death is a fine line within this game so you will have to be careful to not push too hard. There is some micromanagement within the game but all of it feels necessary. Apart from that, the combat system does have some issues in terms of fluidity, but it is a fun game nonetheless.
Explore to your Heartís Content
One of the biggest highlights I had during my time with Shortest Trip to Earth was the exploration. Not system is the same along with no playthrough. Each planet had something different to explore, extract, or exploit. I would be presented with a scenario or event where I was required to make a decision. These decisions felt important as I made them because they always required an amount of resources. Spending those resources would mean having to deal with the shortages later.
Dealing with those shortages will serve to be difficult because this game is brutal when it comes to staying alive and keeping the resources you need. Your first playthrough will not be when you make it back to Earth. Playerís are expected to play multiple times through. With each playthrough, comes smartest choices and that is where Shortest Trip to Earth shines. Even though this game is tough, it still rewards players for making important decisions that could push them over the line.
Even if you go over that line, you can expect to use the knowledge you gained from the previous game in the next one. You wonít exactly be taking on the same challenges, but you can modify that past knowledge to your liking. That is what makes this game unique in it each play. Nothing feels recycled or over used. Discovery new challenges and worlds gives them game a sense of mystery, leaving you wanting more.
Micromanagement at Its Finest
In most games, people hate the idea of micromanagement, but Shortest Trip to Earth changes that feeling into enjoyment. With the game, players are required to manage their crew, modules on their ship and their resource count. That is a lot to keep track of, but there are systems in place to assist. At first, I felt overwhelmed at the user interface but as I played through more games, I got the hang of it. The training session is a good way to get associated with most of the systems, but it neglects to address everything players will have interact with. Regardless of this neglect, it provides the basic info for you to start your journey.
Customizing your ship is fun in general. Deciding where a specific weapon should go or if hydroponics should be moved can keep you entertained for hours. Being able to select how your ship works and runs is a long time dream come true. You can even select which crew members do what, but you will want to make sure they are at their strongest station. This kind of micromanagement is a fresh take on the tedious task so you can be sure it will be a breath of fresh air.
Clunky Ship, Clunky Combat
Combat within Shortest Trip to Earth is its one aspect I find to be its shortcoming. Combat is defined within this game as simply having the right amount of resource management and clicking in the right place. While in combat, the game suggests you target areas of an enemyís ship where it will deal crucial damage such as the warp drive, engines or reactor. However, the system requires the player to click on portions of the enemy ship to target. With that said, the response time for many of the weapons were slower than expected and in some cases didnít hit where I had targeted. Overall, I felt like I had no impact on the battle as all I did was click around.
An Intergalactic Gem
As a whole, Shortest Trip to Earth is a fun mysterious galaxy to explore. Players will find all sorts of worlds and events to take part in. The fresh and fun micromanagement system provides the player with a lot of content to pass hours in. With each playthrough comes a different type of play making the game feel fresh after every session. Only times during combat did I feel bored or upset. Regardless, Shortest Trip to Earth is an exciting roguelike spaceship simulator that is creating its own path rather than following others.