I went into Redshirt not entirely sure what to expect. How would a game about social networking aboard a space station play out? And would it actually be any fun? Afterall, I’m sure most of us have moaned about Facebook more than we have praised it. Redshirt on the other hand, embraces social networking (via Spacebook) to offer the player a comedic sci-fi sim as you try to make something out of your life aboard a space station filled with other bizarre and funny beings and just like in real life, there will be those who you just don’t understand.
You begin the game by creating your very own character with a combination of wacky and eccentric customisation options on offer, not to mention the various species you can choose. From there you are dropped aboard the Space Station, where you begin life as a nobody, as reflected on Spacebook by your one and only friend. Your aim is to climb the career ladder and to become somebody, while increasing your social status by making friends and improving your career prospects. You’ll find that nearly everything in Redshirt is done via Spacebook, so it’s crucial that it is easy to use. Thankfully, those who are all too familiar with Facebook will feel right at home, with the usual status updates, friend requests and ability to like status’ all on offer to make you feel comfortable with Spacebook. There’s nothing like liking your own status though is there? Well unfortunately just as they do in real-life, your so called friends won’t take it lightly and will even get upset by you unliking their status. Surprisingly, Redshirt is very detailed with regards to how the other users of Spacebook behave, almost as if they are real people on the other end of a computer.
You can send private messages to interact with your fellow Spacebookers. This is done by selecting from a drop-down menu of four options. Unfortunately they don’t offer much variety, each has a different meaning, but it becomes very generic after sending or replying to a few messages. It’s a shame that despite having a detailed social networking site where everyone behaves in a detailed way that there wasn’t more options or variety for the messaging. And some characters are extremely unpredictable, and what I would call unstable. I received a message from a random women venting her anger at me, after replying with an attacking message myself, we somehow started a relationship just days later. Unfortunately for me, she discovered my message nearly a week later, ending our relationship. Although I have no idea how she missed my message before we engaged in a relationship as she seemed addicted to Spacebook. But moments like those don’t detract from the experience, instead they make you laugh and think about what has just happened.
The game’s story makes your search for social security and improve career prospects all that more important. Soon after starting your adventure, you’ll be notified by a mysterious message which suggests that you find a way off the ship before 160 days is up, as something bad will take place. The best way to go about this is to climb the career ladder, with the easiest means being to flirt or get extremely friendly with your boss in order to gain promotions. At the start of each day, you only have a set amount of actions to perform on Spacebook such as increasing your charisma, gaining new skills and friends, which limits how much interaction you can do on the site. Once you have used up all your action, you then proceed to work and sleep. The aim is to keep your happiness and health up, but this can be easier said then done when trying to gain promotions. Making friends on Spacebook and attending social events is also a good way to meet people, as you never know what connections, or who exactly they are. In short, your goals are to create friendships and to progress your career within the 160 days.
When you work, your character will earn money which in turn can be used to purchase food to restore your health along with other items which will improve your life aboard the Space Station. Some items will give you more action to perform on Spacebook giving you a better chance to build up relationships in a shorter amount of time. Your character will also chosen to go on random away missions, which most of the time leads to your fellow crew members facing their demise.
Redshirt’s graphics are nothing to shout home about, but they do well to set the tone with the cartoonish depictions of the world around you, along with the futuristic interface. For the most part the menu’s are easy to understand, although you may find yourself occasionally overwhelmed with the amount of information and options on screen, but Redshirt is a game which can be picked up and played by all.
Overall, Redshirt is a solid game with a great concept. It is unpredictable at times, but it can get a bit repetitive, especially if you play through the game again. Despite having such solid gameplay and being incredibly fun to play, the ending leaves a lot to be desired. It’s a shame that a game such as Redshirt didn’t get a more meaningful ending, but the engaging and exciting gameplay up until that point still makes Redshirt a worthy purchase. If your into life simulators and enjoy all things sci-fi, then there is a lot of fun to be had in this title by Tiniest Shark. It is a game I thoroughly enjoyed and gave me plenty of laughs.