Most of the time you want to sit down to a full meal, but sometimes you only need, (or have time for), a quick snack or a candy bar. Weird worlds return to infinite space, by Digital Eel , is the candy bar of space sims.
Like other games of its genre, this sim is about striking it on your own in a Galaxy full of mystery and unknown surprises. Where this game differs though is that an average session will last about 30 minutes. Now for anyone that hasn’t played this, you may be wondering what any game could possibly offer in such a short time span, the answer may surprise you.
You start your (short adventure) just as you would with a multitude of similar titles, namely by setting some limited parameters. In Weird Worlds, this basically comes down to selecting a ship, (hint, bigger is better), selecting the galaxy size, and finally the enemy difficulty. For new player my advice is to not get cocky on the enemy difficulty, otherwise you’re in for a very short ride.
With that out of the way you’re briefed on your mission, which is basically “go out there and explore the galaxy, try not to get killed”. You also have a limited amount of (game) time at your disposal. Each system in Weird Worlds takes a number of (game) months to reach and you have to make sure you return to your base before time is up. If you do not, you will be heavily penalized in your final score.
So what can you expect to find out there, except a quick and grisly death? Quite a lot actually.
First of all, there is no research here, but you should still be on the lookout for chances to upgrade your ship. You do that by either discovering some components or trading for them. Each ship has a number of hard points, these can be used to install weapons, shields, engines thrusters etc. You’re starting gear is…(to put it nicely), pretty crappy. Sometimes you’ll just discover a better ship-system and you can easily swap it out with yours, at others you may need to trade for it, but there’s a qualifier here.
Most trade requires that you exchange a similarly valued piece for what you’re trying to acquire. For example if you want a third level engine, you have to trade some other third level item for it, (not necessarily an engine). You could also get lucky and meet a certain race that will gladly trade you a state of the art Hyper-drive for your Horse and buggy version, no questions asked.
But there’s more to this game than just being an intergalactic bargain hunter.
You could encounter a floating derelict for example, and a successful boarding of the same may yield something of immense value. At other times you may rescue some lost soul, and he/she, (along with their vessel), will join you. What’s really cool here is that if you do get a small flotilla going, you can upgrade more than just your own ship. Of course you could also jump into a system inhabited by aliens that don’t like you very much, actually scratch that, they hate you.
Combat is arcade style simple, but works very well. Select a target and your ship will do the rest, though if you wish, some point and click will give you a small level of tactical control. If you do have more than one ship with you, it is very easy to issue commands to that unit as well. My advice here is simple. No matter how good you think you are, there are times when you need to run for it as the enemy could be overwhelming. Similarly, good equipment will trump tactics most of the time, so upgrade your ship when you can because the galaxy isn’t only strange, it’s deadly.
If you play this game enough times you will encounter all there is to encounter, however that doesn’t diminish the replay value of Weird worlds or the sense of wonder. You will not encounter the same things in every session, so it isn’t about what may happen, it’s about what will.
Easy to get into
The not so good
Shallow at times
You’re at the mercy of the RNG gods a bit
Limited number of activities
Overall this is the kind of game that I’m glad is on my machine, precisely because sometimes I don’t know what to play or have little time at my disposal.
Final Grade, a very solid B+
(P.S. Digital eel has a new version out, it is basically the same exact game with a 3-D look, if you own one version, there is little reason to try the other)