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About the StoryA text-only space sim.
Ply the spaceways. Make five million credits. Buy back your twin.
(Superluminal Vagrant Twin is a shallow but broad exploration game.)
Winner, Best Game; Winner, Best Implementation; Nominee, Best Use of Innovation - 2016 XYZZY Awards
What I especially liked, and I think distinguishes it from other, shorter Pacian games I’ve played (and would also recommend — especially Castle of the Red Prince), is the sense of depth to the world. Where Red Prince feels allusive, SVT is expository. For example, there are some characters who exist only to point the player to other locations to visit, from a mechanical point of view. And yet, the few sentences they’re given often give a sense not only of the politics and culture of the world, but also of the characters themselves. It’s pretty masterful to be able to do so much with so few words.
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Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
Meanwhile, Superluminal does as good a job as I’ve seen at a trade-and-exploration parser game, even including a little light grinding but without becoming too dull or frustrating.
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Number of Reviews: 8
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
You can rush through the main plot fairly quickly, but there are many other things to discover (even after getting all the achievements) - which I naturally won't spoil here. And, of course, rushing through this game would be completely missing the point, because the best part of it is not making the money but savoring the wonderful descriptions - terse and colorful, poetic without being pretentious; closing your eyes and trying to visualize all the various worlds you travel to (Spoiler - click to show) (there were 53 of them in the beta version I played).
My favorite character was the deep space explorer on Splinter. I instantly imagined Ursula K. Le Guin.
Money is used as a gating mechanism, your limited resources only granting access to a few planets and low-paid activities at first, you will need to use your ingenuity and wits to gain the big bucks - opening up more and more untold vistas for your delectation.
The writing is ultra-sparse but extremely evocative. A whole galaxy of strangeness. There is humour, creepiness, sadness, awe, sometimes all at once. It touches on themes of humanism and racism whilst delivering a rollicking science-fantasy adventure. Brilliant stuff. I recommend the hell out of this game.
We have, then, a game that is sharply focused on a few activities, but gives us a lot of freedom in when and whether we engage in them. First, we explore. Exploration is simple -- you just "jump" to a planet, although you'll have to learn the name of the planet first. Or you have to guess the name, something that is by no means impossible and got me to quite a number of planets I would not otherwise have encountered. (A nice reward for out-of-the-box thinking that the game's restricted verb list otherwise cannot provide for. Unfortunately, you cannot "jump to Conclusion", although the game does acknowledge the command.) At those planets, you buy or sell exotic goods, upgrade yourself and your ship, restock on fuel, arrest some criminals, deliver some packages, and perhaps learn about one or two other planets. As you proceed, you get a good understanding of the universe around you, although the complicated social and political arrangements never become entirely clear. Great fun; and I suspect the game has the exact right length to maintain a sense of wonder without becoming tedious.
The game this reminded me of most is Sunless Sea, which also features journeys from port to port and very limited, text-based interactions when you arrive. But Superluminal Vagrant Twin is smaller, faster, less impenetrable, and a lot friendlier. Highly recommended.
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