Engaging upon an epic journey of discovery in the vast and uncharted depth of outer space, killing foes and banging chicks (maybe not this bit…) to then return to collect your reward and tell the tale is an enormous undertaking. Luckily, we have Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space by indie developer Digital Eel, to let us accomplish such feats in the same amount of time it’d take for an order of Chinese food to get to your house. Like contemporary westernised Chinese cuisine, Weird Worlds combines the exotic and the familiar into an affordable package designed with an emphasis on ease of access to make a satisfying end product which is sure to be enjoyed by all but the most banal of people.
Those of you familiar with my taste in video games will know that I love games about outer space, space ships, commanding space ships and any combination thereof. I’d gladly embrace embarrassing genetic inheritances such as male pattern baldness and French citizenship if it meant I was one more step closer to becoming Jean Luc Picard. I would risk any number of extra-terrestrial sexually transmitted diseases to become a space faring pimp lord like Captain Kirk, and I am more than willing to risk having the living shit beaten out of me by a lobotomised 17 year old girl every time a confectionery commercial plays on TV if it meant I could command a hunk of junk like Serenity.
The purchasing of Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space was as natural to me as sputtering indignation is to a Firefly fan if you even slightly imply that it was a somewhat overrated show.
So how does one explore the uncharted depths of space, discover fantastical exotic artifacts and do battle with vicious, bloodthirsty alien beings while still making it home in time for pre-dinner aperitifs? Why, with a simplistic interface, procedurally generated gaming world and an almost non-existent learning curve of course! It’ll take you only a few minutes to learn how to play Weird Worlds, and it’ll probably take you slightly longer before your first venture into outer space results in your weeping next of kin receiving a sympathetic letter from a grateful earth government and a small box containing the remnants of your remains.
Nobody said exploring the unknown and claiming new worlds for humanity was going to be easy; unlike our fellow human beings, alien races are surprisingly resilient towards dirty human-originated colonial tricks such as smallpox infested blankets, introducing alcohol to native populations and trading entire tracts of fertile land for a barrel full of glass beads. Encounters are totally random and only an experienced captain who has felt the icy touch of deep space vacuum on more than a few occasions will be able to intuit how tough a battle might be.
Like all other rogue-like games, Weird Worlds does not try and go easy on you; you will die and you will die a lot. This is exactly as it should be, and like Century Eggs or braised chicken feet, you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. You could never predict the nature of the galaxy you spawn into, and don’t be too surprised if the game decides to take a capricious turn against you by unleashing a nigh upon unstoppable ancient evil at your homeworld just as you think you’ve collected enough alien artifacts and goodies to ensure a nice cushy retirement in a futuristic walled off assisted living condominium where the robo-security force keeps away all the young people and their loud music.
Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space is the ideal game for when you’ve got ten or so minutes to spare before you need to begin walking to the train station, or if you’re in the mood for some “Just one more game” space-faring action.
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