The crew of the Adventure Time have a bit of a problem.
Their mission was fairly straightforward – land on an unexplored alien world, find a missing unmanned probe and bring it back to its rightful owners for a large wad of space-cash. What could possibly go wrong?
The planet seemed safe enough. A few space-bunnies wandered the open plains, the only real threat coming in the form of a couple of easily-avoided carnivorous plants. As a result, the ship’s away team were relaxed and confident in their ability to locate the probe. Somewhat too confident.
Despite numerous warnings from the more sensible members of the crew, the ship’s landing party decided to ignore the flashing lights on their oxygen tanks, electing instead of returning to the ship to look behind a rather interesting collection of rocks. Not to worry, they thought, they could always remove their helmets on the way back to the ship. After all, the planet looked basically Earth-like, so a couple of minutes exposure to the atmosphere couldn’t really hurt, could it?
Now I’m not overly sure what the symptoms of Screaming Dandruff actually are, but I’m figuring they’re probably not that pleasant and not to mention potentially quite noisy. Nevertheless, I’m now in the position as captain of this vessel where I have to make a decision – do I let the infected landing party aboard and risk infecting the rest of the ship, or do I sentence the innocent explorers to an unpleasant death on the shores of an alien world?
As we flew off into the stars, we cheerfully waved goodbye to the explorers below, who by their distant gestures I can only presume were waving back. Behind us lay Screaming Dandruff, but ahead lay only further adventures.
Approaching Infinity is a simple but fun sci-fi roguelike currently under development by Bob Saunders. Successfully kickstarted back in December, Bob describes his game as “A Top-Down Strategic Space Exploration Game Of Infinite Proportions where Star Trek Meets Ultima!” There’s very little about this combination of ideas that doesn’t appeal to me – growing up on a diet of Kirk, Picard, Janeway and that other guy, I’ve always jumped at any opportunity I’ve found to seek out new life, explore strange new worlds and pet bunnies on them.
The premise is fairly simple at present – you’re the captain of a starship. That’s it. The final release might have a little more meat in the way of back story and ultimate goal, but to be honest, ‘you’re the captain of a starship’ is probably enough for me. The universe is divided into a series of sectors, each populated by a number of planets containing randomised terrain, enemies and items for collection. As you explore, you can encounter new crew members to add to your roster, upgrades for your ship and ancient artifacts to gawk at.
For a rogue-like, controlling AI is absurdly simple – move around with the cursors and click on things or bump into them to attack. As a result, fans of the more traditional genre may find the game a little too simple for their tastes, but personally I’ve never been a particular fan of desperately trying to remember the correct key combination to drink a yellow potion or pick my own nose.
As a result of its simplicity, the pace of the game is extremely rapid. Within less than a few minutes you can explore half the sector, shoot down a couple of pirates and lost half a dozen crewmen to an unpleasantly blobby space-blob. At the moment, it is a little confusing trying to figure out what you’re picking up half the time, and when your away team or ship fails to pick up an item it’s a little confusing as to why, but despite its simplicity I’m nevertheless having a great deal of fun. In the few days I’ve spent playing Approaching Infinite I’ve battled zombies on derelict starships, been overwhelmed by dozens of giant eyeballs, collected mysterious treasures from ancient star-temples and petted bunnies.
Approaching Infinity is due out next month, and is currently looking to Greenlight on Steam. As it stands, the galaxy does have a tendency to feel a little repetitive, but if its creator continues to fill the universe with more creatures, events and surprises it could turn out to be a fun little time-filler. You can try a demo here.
Did I mention you can pet the bunnies?