Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator has its feet in two very different worlds. On one hand, it takes place in a dystopian nightmare where body parts are bought and sold for profit, purely for business. On the other hand, it is a game filled with humor, cute pixel art, and high-energy fun. It’s easy to ignore this juxtaposition once you understand the gameplay loop, however, which might be incredibly terrifying in hindsight.
Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator eases you into its various systems slowly over the course of a few in-game days. You start with a small amount of money and immediately are introduced to the management interface. You control a cyberpunk-themed trading application that serves as your method of interacting with all of the primary systems. Each day begins with you taking stock of your current inventory, scouting out your bidding competitors, assessing your current order list, and checking out the biological stock market.
Yes, that is correct. In addition to being able to take requests for “merchandise” from wanting customers, you also engage in a virtual stock market where you can acquire stocks for individual organs based on their daily average trading price. Much like in real life, you want to use the information available to you to make wise investments to buy low and sell high.
Once you are ready, you press a button to open the market. This begins the frenetic and competitive fight for monetary dominance. A 2.5-minute timer starts, and during its duration, you will be multitasking between looking at requests from potential buyers and comparing that to the currently available body parts for purchase. The goal is to pick up jobs that will let you turn a quick profit. To fulfil a request, you must be able to obtain the required parts before any of the competing dealers snatch them up. This leads to some amazing moments where you are sitting on edge, waiting on just the right part and just the right price to appear in the store so you can snipe it out from under everyone else. Unfortunately, it also leads to multiple frustrating occasions when your opponent will buy the item right before you, sometimes leading to you accidentally picking up a different item you didn’t want as the interface shifts to adjust to the next organ available.
During the downtimes, the stock trading segments keep your interest in the great profit potential they offer. For instance, When you receive a pop-up news alert that the market is about to be flooded with excess hearts, you know the buying price of heart stock is about to plummet. The next day you can invest a sizable amount of cash on hearts. When their value returns back to normal after a few days, sell your stock for massive profit. The negative part of investing is that you won’t have that capital available for your regular day-to-day activities.
During preparation, you can research who you will be competing against for the day and the type of items they will try to buy. You have the option to pay off your opposition which will make your day easier, but then you must look at the cost/benefit analysis of that decision. You can also choose to slip these same contacts a large sum of cash to increase your reputation as a galactic merchant. Reputation is your primary marker for progression in the game’s story. As it grows you will get access to purchase more body parts and spark interest from more powerful clients.
Space Warlord’s Organ Trading Simulator’s narrative can be quite difficult to parse. Devoid of traditional conversions or cutscenes, for the most part, you interact with the game’s story through reading the requests that come from potential customers in their job requests. The problem is that these requests are coming in hot during the timed portion of the game when your focus is on the lightning-fast math of the biological rat race. The game’s multiple endings can be found by completing multiple jobs for key clients, furthering their quest chain. I found actually keeping track of this aspect of the experience to be functionally impossible while learning the mechanics.
This relatively limited cycle continues to be interesting for much longer than you might expect. It is easy to get sucked into a flow state of buying and selling and have you curse the announcement of market closure. Also, It is exhilarating to check out your stock portfolio and realize you’ve made thousands of credits overnight. Eventually though, certain aspects of daily trading can become a little monotonous. If the right organs aren’t available in the market, or you’ve made a mistake and find yourself short on funds, you can get stuck staring at a timer with nothing to do. However, most of the time I spent every day on the edge of my seat, literally holding my breath and reading requests and statistics as quickly as possible to maximize my efficiency. That’s when I realized that Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator actually tracks your time in the average number of breaths taken. I laughed.
It really is super easy to zone out on context and focus on making as much money as possible. There is no time for ethical considerations when there is profit to be had. Where do all these organs come from? It doesn’t matter. Why do my clients need them? It doesn’t matter. There is likely a message being portrayed by the struggle to follow the game’s narrative when there is capital on the line. What does it say about us? There is no time to think about that when you could devote more brainpower to those margins. Speaking of brainpower, I just remembered I should buy some market share in brains.
Ignoring all of that, Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator is a tense and heart-racing experience that maximizes on its simple mechanics to great effect. While understanding what is required of you is not complicated, the focus and speed required to make the most cash comes in intense short bursts. I really enjoyed my time playing this game. But in reflection, I wonder what that says about me as a person. Wait, eyeballs are selling at an all-time high? I’ll think about this later.
Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator is available from the Xbox Store