Shortest Trip to Earth is a spaceship management, exploration and real-time ship battle game; it’s also a roguelike. Oh dear. Let’s take a dive into this early access game and see how it holds up.
Time To Go Home
Right from the start, I should mention, as I have said before, that I love space; so there may be some bias here. Interactive Fate is developing what I can only describe as a mix of things I love and suck at.
In Shortest Trip to Earth, the mission is to get from where you are, back to Earth. It’s a bit of a trek through the stars. So far there are five sectors to travel and explore, and that’s what I did; not always to my advantage.
In Shortest Trip to Earth, resource management is paramount; and there is a lot to manage. Fortunately, the main two are fuel and organics. Fuel feeds the ship; organics feed the crew. Unfortunately, I can’t run a bath, let alone a spaceship.
The way the player gets more resources is to explore planets in each system. Some examples of what the player might find are wreckages to scavenge from. Plants full of giant fungi that can be harvested; gas giants that can give precious fuel. And if the crew is unfortunate enough, you may find an ambush of rats. This can lead to combat, which is my favourite part of the Shortest Trip to Earth.
The Vermin of Space
I would like to get it out of the way now: there is a strong Faster Than Light vibe throughout. This is the opposite of a bad thing; I will say I honestly believe Shortest Trip to Earth has the potential to set a new standard for this style of game.
There are two speeds: Slow motion and real-time, alongside a pause button. This gives the player time to think and plan. I lost my first fight and my first crew because I jumped in. The enemy, having shields isn’t always something to worry about. The ones that can ruin a run are armed with weapons that ignore shields. Of course, enemies with a shield and weapons that ignore shields need dispatching first. Whereas ships with neither of these don’t pose a threat for now.
Once I had a grasp of the combat, the game opened up to me. Suddenly I could dispatch off multiple ships with relative ease. As a result, I got a bit too big for my boots. By the time I got to the end of my first sector most of my crew were injured. I had no way of healing them; my cyropod only had a chance of recovering a health point here and there, at the cost of fuel.
Mistakes Were Made
Regardless, when a rat gate guard tried to tax me for the right to go to the next sector, I prepared for battle. In other words, I forgot five of the crew when in cryo-pods and started a fight with one man and the ship’s cat.
Surely there was no way my crew of adventures would make it out of this alive?
Indeed, no one survived. Most of them didn’t even make it out of the cryo-pods. The good ship Tigerfish was no more; I had failed my crew, myself and my cat.
To summarise Shortest Trip to Earth is a game about failure and hubris; also adventure and exploration. To say nothing of excitement and tension when the player faces off against multiple ships at once. This is definitely something worth keeping an eye on. If you are a fan of the likes of FTL, there is no reason whatsoever not to pick up Shortest Trip to Earth.