Halcyon 6, Sunless Sea, and Surviving Mars
This past week I found myself trying three free games I got from the Epic Game Store.
Halcyon 6 is a deceptively complex space game in a visually simplistic package. I’m not quite sure what to compare it to because I can’t think of any other game quite like it. It had space exploration and story elements like Star Trek, turn-based land combat somewhat like a JRPG, starbase building somewhat like XCOM, leveling and progression like an RPG, and a lot of pixelated graphics and 8-bit sound effects. It was way more complicated to learn than I wanted to deal with so I only played for a short time, but it might be worth going back to someday when I have more mental energy.
Sunless Sea looks like a top-down Victorian steamer ship combat sort of game, but it’s really a choose-your-own-adventure story game. You drive your ship around to different ports, where you then spend a lot of time reading essentially quest text dialogs as a story unfolds. I feel like the game must have started life as a novel, but somebody decided to break it apart and stick it into a simple little indie game. I liked the setting and the aesthetic of it, and I liked the writing. But the “game” part of navigating the ship around felt dull, so I didn’t play very long. Perhaps another time, or perhaps a good game to watch somebody else play (if they’re an audiobook-quality reader).
I thought I’d already purchased and played this game on Steam, so I was surprised to find it’s new to me. This is a base-building and/or city-building style of game, and at first I enjoyed zooming in really close and watching the little rovers driving around doing their tasks. However it’s also a micromanagement simulator game, so I quickly tired of giving orders to the rovers and reading through endless tutorial popups. I’ve never had much patience for that style of game, and I would have preferred watching it run autonomously. But it was fun for a half hour or so.
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