“Set condition one throughout the ship!”
“It’s a trap!”
“…Tzao Gao You’d best hold on to somethin’…”
I love spaceships. I mean I love the shuttles and rockets and all that are real life, but I sincerely love starships. Freighters, transports, battlecruisers, fighters, whatever – I read tech manuals and websites, I listen to all the tech babble I can from different shows, and I imagine what it would be like to be on a ship sailing through the black of space… So when I found Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator I knew that I’d be hooked.
Artemis is deceptively simple: You and up to five other friends, each with their own computer, control different aspects of a starship. You have your choice of Helm, Communications, Weapons, Engineering, Science, and Captain. Each crew member can see specific information on their screen, and can control an aspect of the ship. Weapons has a targeting map and can fire missiles and lasers. Helm can control the ship and can see a directional compass, and so on. The captain usually doesn’t have a station – they will direct the stations to act as one, and together you fly the Artemis in and out of danger, protect bases, and attack your enemies.
The reason I say it is deceptively simple is because as you progress and learn about your station and other stations, you can work out everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, and learn how to work more and more like a team. If the engineer dumps power into the weapons, you will be able to kill that super powerful ship even if you have no shields – assuming that science knows where and how to attack, helm puts you into position, and weapons hits the right target. As you get better you can turn the difficulty up, add more or less enemies, and fill your space sector with as much danger and adventure as you’d like. There are even missions that you can follow that are included with the game, and there is a community of people who create new missions and full storylines that you and your friends can follow. If you are feeling adventurous you can create your own. It’s a simple game that can balloon into a full on regular event for you and your friends.
With all of that said, there are some low points that I would be remiss to speak on. The graphics in this game are honestly rudimentary. They can be gorgeous, especially when you look at how bright and colorful space can be, but it doesn’t hold a candle to other bridge sims out there, like quintet. Each station screen is simplified by design. You can see all of the information, but nothing flashy to distract you. It is straight forward, which I appreciate, but I do wish it had more of an LCARS feeling to it (the touch screen interface on star trek). And of course, as all games that are being developed by a very small team, there are bugs. Especially if you’d like to mod it.
However, those issues are washed away when you get together with friends on a Friday night with your computers and tablets, link up through Wi-Fi, and start a mission. Or when you play with other people online – which is what I’ve done regularly for the past year and a half.
There are at least two groups that have been built around this game. They have continuing storylines, training and maneuvers, and rank hierarchies that all simulate that you are really part of a space faring navy. For example, I am a Lieutenant Jr. In the Terran Stellar Navy. I play every Saturday, we run missions, and my shipmates can survive nasty battles without much of a scratch since we work so well together. This all from a game that is a one-time fee of 7 bucks.
If you love Starships, if you want to really feel like you are flying on the Enterprise or the Galactica, if you like coop games, I highly suggest this one. It is available from steam, but I would get it direct from the source at http://artemis.eochu.com. This version is updated more frequently and is easier to mod.
If you are interested in becoming part of the TSN, go here: terranstellarnavy.net
Happy flying. I know I haven’t had any regrets leaving the earth that was, finding new life and new civilizations, and blowing the holy hell out of their battleships.
Check out the full review and more at basedgamer.com/@Morlock