Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Redshirt: Game Design Review

Red shirt is a game which crosses a parody of Facebook with Star Trek. You basically play a crew member, a red shirt that has to get off the station before a certain number of days elapses or else be killed in teh imminent disaster.

Many of the reviews I read mentioned the shallow gameplay and repetitiveness of the experience. After playing and finishing the game once through I have the same impression.

Too much text and information- The layout is immediately overwhelming and somehow very distracting. Because  The actual information relevant to gameplay is scattered around the entire screen and it doesn't feel correct. I feel that a cleaner more attractive interface would have made the game feel more exciting.

A good example is the screen giving information on your what happened while you are at work. There's a lot of information about what happeneed and what your workmates feel about you all squeezed into the side of the screen. In a game like this, all this information is required and important as it affects what actions you should take

Too shallow to be a social simulator but too long to be a parody- Playing a Paradox Interactive like Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis, is a complex game of social interactions, backstabbing and betrayals. These games are true strategy games which span generations and years. Unfortunately this game feel like it lacks the depth, content or reactions for that. There are lots of activities to partake to boost different stats but it all starts to blur a bit. Yes, there is some backstabbing and deaths when crew members get killed during missions but I soon got over them by working and buying stuff or making new friends. Despite having you work in the game, you can only interact on Spacebook so it doesn't really even feel like you're a crucial part of the space station.

This game is relatively long per play through. Personally I would have stopped playing after 1 hour but I thought I would at least try to finish one game properly. At the end of the game there are some stories to tell about how you pulled off some good strategy or managed to negotiate through a tricky situation. Because of the nature of redshirt, I just didn't feel invested in it as much as I would have liked to be. I didn't see any visual changes, just more text telling me I was getting better.

I feel that if it had taken a more roguelike approach like Strange Adventures in Space where games were meant to be finished in 20 minutes or less with funny and significant decisions rather than stretching each game out for so long I suspect it might actually be more fun.

I can't recommend Redshirt unfortunately, the social simulator part of this game is too shallow, the graphics make it too impersonal to really care and as a humourous take on Facebook, its way too long to be fun. You're probably better off just buying a Paradox Interactive game instead like Crusader Kings II or a Firaxis game like Civilization.

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