The classic sci-fi we knew in the 90′s finds itself in the genre retirement home as it’s younger counterpart “futuristic Sci-fi” takes the center stage of games and movies. Many grew up with fond memories of shows like Star Trek and their predictable clichés of the guy in the red shirt being the first to die. Redshirt developed by UK indie developer The Tiniest Shark, lets you relive those memories in this twisted parody of the genre and modern culture.
In Redshirt you play as a new recruit on the spaceship Megalodon-9 and discover the new rage, Spacebook. Spacebook is the social media outlet of the spaceship with friends, relationships, careers and even eating being monitored by the program. At generation, players has full customization of their characters which allows your character to become truly your own creation. There are numerous races to choose from though two of those there is only one gender. Hair and cloth colour is chosen via a colour wheel allowing true customizations rather than picking from a set palate. Details like your character’s name, age and sexuality can be customized though I found these don’t have any direct impact on the game as one of my romantic partners only dated men.
Much as in real life, what your goals are will vary from person to person and the game fully supports it. Do you want to focus on friends and being a socialite, forming romantic relationships or simply working your way up the career ladder. With multiple victory conditions that you will find being leaked to you via friends, players can choose their own style of gameplay, suiting their own real life priorities. The paths themselves are not cut off from one another and can intertwine nicely allowing players the option as the game’s counter ticks down an option of which route to head towards. While there are multiple ways to reach the end, the endings however do not change. This is disappointing as variety would have been appreciated but it means there is no need to replay in-case you missed something. While some victory paths may be similar, some are harder than others so playing to simply get money is easier than charming you way to victory. Completionists will find themselves challenged to complete the game via the different methods.
The game screen is layed out so most information is close at hand. Actions, health, happiness and recent updates are always shown with social interactions easily accessible via icons around the screen. Icons light up a soft green when there is an update as well as receiving a verbal computer message so you will find yourself not forgetting anything. As you get further through the game and have had many friends, unless you delete your messages you will have a hard time finding new notifications as messages are not sorted via time. All actions will feel natural with options such as messaging, liking comments and arranging events all in areas you would expect to find them on a social media service. Furthering the immersion,there are no tutorials in the game, merely small help boxes one would expect the first time using a new social media service. After playing the iOS version at Play Expo, I found it as easy and natural to navigate as my twitter account on the iPad and PC users will feel the same way by navigating the game.
The AI in Redshirt is well-developed with each person as individual as they would be in real life. The differences aren’t as superficial as features like their likes and dislikes, but each character will act in a different way. You will find some characters get angry when you don’t reply to their messages while others won’t go to events unless they are interested in them even if they are dating you. They have their own thoughts and independent feelings meaning if they don’t feel like your giving them enough time in a relationship, they will most probably leave you for someone else. You may also find yourself being dumped if your superior clicks on you were dating them just to get an easy promotion.
The difficulty in the game scales in a friendly manner with days manageable when you first start and getting progressively more harder to manage the more important you get. By having more friends you have more people to interact with, some getting jealous if they haven’t seen you in a while or maybe just hate one of your other friends. Along the career path however, jobs will become more physically and mentally demanding finding it more difficult to keep your crew member happy. Regardless of what path you choose to take, it’s a hard road ahead with different challenges.
The most difficult part of life as a Redshirt however is staying alive. You will find yourself randomly assigned to away missions from time to time. If you manage to dodge death yourself, your best friend, that boss your been smooching up to or even that ex who won’t stop sending hateful messages may die. You will gain massive penalties to your happiness seeing those around you especially if it was someone you knew. If you friends mange to dodge death’s door too, you will find yourself elated while playing and receive a bonus.
Redshirt gives a healthy outlet to do all things you wish you could do in real life but are too afraid to do. Fans of classic sci-fi and users of social media will feel right at home while other players may find it hard to fork out at its price point. With multiple endings, different playstyles and intelligent A.I, players will find their galactic journey just challenging enough.
- Classic Sci-fi
- Detailed Character Customization
- Smart A.I.
- Multiple Victory Conditions
- Easy To Navigate
- Away Missions Makes Unpredictable Content
- Parodies Modern Culture
- Unfullfilling Ending
- Social Requests Hard To Locate
- High Price Point
Redshirt is available to buy for the PC on Steam and will be available on iOS devices in the near future.