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Review – Weird Worlds

posted on February 2nd, 2006 by golden jew
combat
Combat is done with a simple, yet fun 2D overhead. Here two Urluquai corvettes pummel a hapless terran fleet.

You can figure out how things work out, for the most part, through simple deduction. Assessing item values is also usually a clear indicator of what’s superior, but there is still a fair bit of gray area that requires experimentation. Some simple trading can be done at certain worlds: some worlds barter 1 for 1 (regardless of value), others, who understand capitalism and are not silly savages, will exchange equal value item(s) for each other.

In addition to life forms and ship systems, there are a variety of artifacts and other events which affect the world at large. For example, one artifact will make several hostile races much less hostile, thus allowing you to trade with them peacefully (you can also trade with them by annihilating their fleets, if you’re so inclined). One disadvantage to this is once you figure out what certain artifacts do, the game loses some of the fun (you know what to beeline for, and how to unlock certain puzzles). Other events are random and will probably destroy you the first time around.

I had one game where star systems started exploding (in a direct path for the human homeworld), and it turned out to be some monster of doom. I had one year to return to earth to battle said monster, but sadly I was ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GALAXY with 3 nebulas in the way when I was told of this. Needless to say, Hope (that’s the human homeworld) was destroyed, game over. My guess is said horrible monster would’ve anally fisted me anyway, so it was a moot point.

What Weird Worlds boils down to is a giant game of geek space solitaire (I’d take credit for this wonderful analogy, but I read it on one of the Weird World forums. Thanks, random forum guy!). The game deals you a deck, and you play with what you have. One thing that drives me nuts is that there are certain item combinations you can get which make the game trivial, as long as you’re not a retard (which, I am sad to say, I have been, at times). For example, the best drive is the hyperdrive, which lets you teleport to any star for a nominal time cost. This makes exploration and the game’s time limit meaningless. There are also “sensors” which let you see if a star is occupied (incidentally, to make up for how weak it is, the Science Vessel starts with a 3 parsec sensor). If you manage to get the hyperdrive and a sensor, the game is essentially decided for you: simply jump to all occupied stars, trigger the events/arm your ship with everything available. Then you can then go to the occupied star systems and either conquer or befriend to your hearts content. Boring, new game, thanks for the easy high score.

Complications
A glimpse of the UI. On the left is the cargo hold and a sample of the ship hardpoint system. On the right, the current system and treasures present, in this case, a plasma worm. One man’s space parasite is another’s treasure!

Other games have the opposite frustration: you get stuck with a terrible star drive the whole game and are forced to miss out on many events you might actually want to participate in (like the monster of doom). Sometimes you’ll get a fleet of doom, just to run out of time. I played a game where I was itching to crush something, but there was nothing to be found before time ran out. Frustrating. If I can’t kill things on the computer, I’ll have to kill them in real life! Because that’s what gamers do! We’re all sublimating, and actually homicidal maniacs! But I digress.

Despite this often polarizing type of game play, Weird Worlds beats the hell out of Spider Solitaire. If you’ve got a job that allows for some downtime (or even breaks, games only last 15-45 minutes, depending on map size), or just want something that is low investment, quick to play, and fairly replayable, for $25, Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space is a great buy.

1 Comments

  1. Rebecca said on October 19, 2007:

    I actually find the battles far more intersting than what you have described. There are many tactics to employ that give a human with a weaker fleet an advantage over the sometimes dumber AI. Using a Zorg fighter (which can warp to new locations on the battle map) to distract several fighters and bigger ships while your big ships pummel them from behind is a favorite new tactic of mine. The ram-capable Garthan Bloodfang with a cloaking device is always a fun way to tip the scales against anyone but the Tchorak. And you are probably right that the Yellow Kawangi (those who were blowing up stars in a beeline for Hope) would have “anally fisted you” if you tried to fight them head on, but did you know that one cloaked ship can kill them because they have no rear-facing weapons? (At least, that’s what my husband says.)

    I’m just starting to play the mods and some of them are amazing! People have added new aliens, new ships, new special missions, new everything. I would definitely say this is a highly replayable game! (If you are into making your own mods, Weird Worlds is reportedly very easy to tweak.)

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