The Spatials is a multifaceted indie game which combines the laid back Sim-esque fun of building a space station with a real time combat system and exploration game.
The overall aim of the game is to explore the 30 randomly generated subsystems, with over 100 planets in total, to conquer them and gather resources. This enables you to upgrade your space station, which is conveniently located on an asteroid, and satisfy the guests who visit.
The game is very colourful and simplistic, which is positive as it runs very smoothly and due to the random generation of the planets for exploration and conquering means that nothing is ever the same. Missions themselves, in most cases, are basic “find the pirates and kill them” which involves click-to-move navigation and action buttons 1 through 5 for your intrepid explorers’ abilities (1 and 2 for dps, 3 is crowd control, 4 heals and 5 regenerates energy) to vanquish your foes – these take approximately 5 minutes to do. Interestingly, there is no permanent death for the explorers and should you fail they are returned to your space station and enter stasis until you return, where they are automatically revived. If you complete the area you are rewarded with resources which are used for building up the space station, credits which are used for everything as the in-game currency, and experience (and possible ability upgrades) for your explorers. Once you’ve conquered an area you can also use credits to excavate resources on a set time duration (12, 6 or 3 minutes based on how many people you have in the embassy).
The space station UI is very easy to navigate, and simple touches like the builders grid make it easy for you to design your spaceship to look exactly how you want and quickly fix any building placement errors. There are lots of neat little touches like the arcade, bar and library which are a welcome change to the typical format and are accessible by upgrading the technology tree. The simplistic UI also helps when viewing visitor’s cravings to increase your standing with visitors and staff at the space station. However, as with most games of this ilk the beginning is a little slow and very dependant upon credits to enable you to upgrade or progress which meant redoing a few missions for quick resources.
There are very few negative points I noted in my playthrough aside from that there isn’t much to actually challenge the player – as mentioned there is no penalty for failing a mission apart from having to redo it (which is fine by me!), there are no environmental dangers when carrying out missions (call me weird for hoping the big lava pit would have actually done something horrid to my whiny scientist guy Branson Gold…) or any enemies coming to trash your space station to slow your progress like similar games.
Due to the random generation of the worlds and resources there is a great amount of replayability and the simplistic nature of the game makes it great for dipping in and out of when you have a spare 15 minutes.