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Thanks to the generosity of a fellow Steam buddy (thanks Mix-Master), I've managed to nab a free copy of Redshirt! I guess being a bit of a Trekkie (I say a bit since I still haven't watched all the episodes but trust me, it's a work-in-progress :)) this is what initially drew me to the game, thanks to its title (If you don't know what the term "redshirt" means, check this Wikipedia article out). Another reason I was attracted to it is the fact it appears to be a collaboration between The Tiniest Shark and Positech Games - and I have a lot of respect for Positech, thanks to Cliffski's stance on DRM-free gaming.
Redshirt is basically a life sim where you play as a lowly technician on a space station. It's your goal to rise up in the ranks and find fame and fortune. Most of your interactions however are done through a thinly veiled parody of Facebook known as Spacebook.
So how is the game actually like? I've invested an hour or so into the game so far and these are my thoughts:
What I like
- Pop culture references: There are quite a few humourous references here and not only from Star Trek (e.g. an achievement called THERE...ARE...FOUR...LIKES!). There's even a reference to indie game developers Notch and Cliffski.
- Parody of Facebook: I think this is the first game I've played which has parodied Facebook to the extent the whole game revolves around its use. This is another major source of the game's humour.
What I don't like
- Music: The music is rather ho-hum although thankfully it's probably not one of the major aspects you'd consider in a game such as this.
- Very busy screen: There are a lot of menus and hidden functionality on the main screen. Maybe the game is also making a parody of how Facebook has become bloatware with so much being tacked onto it nowadays?
- Graphics: The graphics are rather amateurish. I don't mind the 2D look, in fact I favour it as evidenced with games like Broken Age, however I think more work could've been done. Kudos 2, a game by Positech, is an example of a game which has an appealing visual style.
- Gameplay: Jury's still out on the gameplay but it's starting to become a bit repetitive. The game reminds me of the Kudos games by Positech except this one seems to have information overload. Considering it's also a game where the focus is interacting with others, it would've helped if there were more differences between characters besides simply what their interests are and portraits - maybe some secret back stories that can be revealed if you get to know them better ala the Bioware RPGs. Once again though, maybe that's the point of this game - i.e. it's a reminder of how shallow relationships are on Facebook and where all that people care about is the amount of likes on their status updates
I'm still going to give Redshirt the time it deserves and see if it gets anymore interesting later on. If the gameplay continues as-is, I can imagine it getting boring really quick - despite the awesome references to Star Trek :).
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