For a long time man has dreamed of recreational travel amongst the stars. By now many predicted we would all be taking space holidays on The Moon, however we haven’t quite got there yet. Spacelines from the Far Out allows you to live out that fantasy, not as a passenger but instead as a somewhat overworked pilot. And it’s all beautifully wrapped up in ‘60s style nostalgia.
Well, I say pilot but you’re actually responsible for cooking, cleaning, maintenance and pretty much every other job on board your starliner. A crew would have really come in handy, but therein lies the challenge I guess.
Your destination is the recreational planet Gambuolon V, but unfortunately your route there is anything but straightforward. The only way to make the journey is to hop between space stations, carefully planning your path as you go. You start off with modest funds, with which you can only purchase a basic ship. You can decide on your own branding, with the option to randomise the name and choose from a variety of colour schemes and logos.
From there you’re ready to set out amongst the stars, whilst trying to make some cash on your way. The Trip Generator in Spacelines from the Far Out will randomly put together a route for you, so no two playthroughs are quite the same. Things begin simple enough, with only a couple of passengers to deal with, a short distance to travel and very few obstacles to avoid. Each route also has several stop off points, where you can get fuel, have your starliner cleaned, pick up extra passengers and more.
Your journey gradually gets more difficult with each leg, and before long you are forced to operate in full on crisis mode, dealing with problems on all fronts. Most of your time will be taken up by needy passengers. They will demand to be fed, entertained, have access to a toilet and decide to puke everywhere if they feel unwell. It’s dangerous to allow them to get bored as they can cause all sorts of problems and seemingly have a death wish, meddling with important equipment which you all need working to live.
All the while they will be rating the service you offer, and this translates to a star system. The more stars you earn, the more you’ll fetch for tickets. However, if you fall back to a poor ranking, an inspector will board your ship and observe your performance during your route. If he should see something of concern, you can bust out some dance moves to distract him, as well as amuse your passengers.
In Spacelines from the Far Out gravity, power and steering can all be affected by poorly maintained equipment, which will deteriorate more quickly the further into your journey you go. You’ll need to whizz around with your handy wrench when you see sparks fly, to prevent any units from failing completely.
Your fuel gauge will also provide the constant threat of absolute disaster. It burns quickly, and planning every leg of your journey is essential to prevent becoming stranded in outer space. You can fill up at fuel stations along the way, but you’ll need to use your radar system to locate them en route.
Scanning will also detect asteroids which come in all shapes and sizes. These, of course, need to be avoided as your hull can only take so many hits before the integrity fails completely. The “fat” asteroids can wipe you out with one hit, so take extra care when you are alerted to their presence.
Between routes you will stop off at a variety of space stations. Some will offer nothing more than some respite, whilst others will have an upgrade store, service station and even an outer space bank. Here you can insure your ship and stash away your earnings so if you are wiped out for any reason, you aren’t quite starting from scratch on your next attempt.
There will often be a parcel waiting for you at many of these stop-offs that will contain one of a number of unlockables. Just some examples of what you may be gifted are new characters, customisation options for your starliner or simply cold hard cash. These little bonuses can be a real lifeline during the later legs of your journey.
Spacelines from the Far Out controls well, even when things get hectic. Sometimes selecting the right item can be a struggle when your starliner gets cluttered, but it’s not an issue too often. I did experience a couple of odd glitches when playing however.
When I stopped off at the restroom mid-route, my passengers couldn’t get off my ship unless I physically pushed them off with my character. Also, occasionally asteroids would spawn over stop-offs such fuel stations which meant when you needed to fill up there was no avoiding taking damage which sometimes resulted in inevitable failure.
There is certainly replay value in Spacelines from the Far Out, especially as reaching the end point is no easy task. Although each run may only take an hour or two, it’s a challenge to complete and I fell at the final hurdle several times before finally navigating my way to Gambulon V. Sometimes the difficulty can feel quite punishing, but most of the time good planning can offset this.
If flying solo isn’t your thing, you can get friends involved locally or online. Unfortunately, there’s no matchmaking but you can host and join rooms given you have the code. Spacelines from the Far Out will then modify the difficulty accordingly for a consistent experience no matter how many are playing.
Despite not being the most complex management game, Spacelines from the Far Out offers a well rounded experience that is easy to dip in and out of. This is one trip you will be happy to hold a season ticket for.
Spacelines from the Far Out is on the Xbox Store