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The Spatials: Galactology Indie Game Preview

We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Weird and Wry for the review copy of The Spatials: Galactology used for this preview. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to preview, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this preview. Receiving the preview copy for free had no impact on the content of this preview. Since The Spatials: Galactology is an Early Access game, it is currently an unfinished game so this preview will discuss my thoughts of the game in its’ current stage.

Ever since I was a kid I have always loved strategy simulation games like Theme Hospital, Roller Coaster Tycoon and more recently Prison Architect. There is something about building a hospital, theme park, prison, etc that is really enjoyable as you see your creation grow in size. Being a big fan of sci-fi I have always wanted to find a good sci-fi simulation game.

This brings me to The Spatials: Galactology. A little over a year ago The Spatials was released on Steam to very positive reviews. The Spatials: Galactology is the sequel/reimagining of the original game. Galactology was originally developed as additional content for the original game but was released as a new game as the developers wanted to bring the game back to Early Access and give the players input on the development of the game. Anyone who owned the original The Spatials before July 5th will get a copy of The Spatials: Galactology for free. I have to commend the developers on this decision since some developers would force players to purchase the new version of the game even if they owned the original game.

With The Spatials: Galactology being an Early Access there is always the question of whether you should purchase the game or if you should wait to see how the game develops. Being a cautious person I can understand the feeling of wanting to wait to see how the game develops especially with games like Spacebase DF-9 not meeting players expectations. I too am usually leery of Early Access games since you can never tell how the game is going to turn out. After playing the game for around five hours though I think The Spatials: Galactology is a pretty safe bet to be worth your money if you are looking for a space themed simulation game.

When looking at an Early Access game there are two things you have to look at. You need to look at game’s current state and what it could end up becoming. I think The Spatials: Galactology is pretty strong in both areas.

While the game doesn’t have all of its’ features in the game yet, I would say that it is still a fun game. For just launching into Early Access the game already has quite a bit of content in it. You can already have a lot of fun in the game building your space station and visiting different planets to gather resources. I have played the game for around five hours and haven’t come close to getting sick of the game even with the features that aren’t currently in the game. If the developers decided not to add anything to the game it would still be a fun game even if it is a little incomplete at this time.

The main mechanic in the game is the base building. While I am hoping more items will be added to the game throughout development (who doesn’t want more things to build in these type of games), this element in the game is already very well developed. The base building elements are easy and fun. There are quite a few different types of object to place which allow you to create your own unique station. What more can you ask for in one of these type of simulation games.

Building your station is really simple. The first thing you need to do is to pick the style of the room you are building. Once you have selected the style you just drag the mouse over the spaces you want the room to fill. Your workers then get to work building the walls and floors. When those are completed you just choose the objects you want to add to the room and choose where you want them placed. That is basically all there is to building your station.

The other main mechanic beside building your station is the exploration of other planets/galaxies. This element is pretty fun but a little on the simplistic side. Basically you go to a planet where you can build extractors to gather resources. You can also build storage units to gather more resources or recruitment centers to attract more people to work on your base. After you have built your structures on a planet you can set up a route between the planet and your home base to transport the resources you acquired to your home base.

The thing I like most about the exploration part of the game is that the different planets you travel to are interesting. Each planet appears to be randomly generated (not positive on this fact). Each planet has various plants, animals and humanoids that make the planets interesting to look at. Unfortunately you won’t end up spending a lot of time on any of the planets since there isn’t much to do on each planet after you have built the extractors. You will leave the planet and will probably never return to its’ surface again. While you can encounter hostile enemies on some planets, I hope a little more complexity is added to the exploration portion of the game in future updates.

Other than the two main mechanics, the game also includes a couple other mechanics that are currently in different levels of completeness.

  • The ability to build your own spaceships and choose the crew who commands each ship is a good idea. Unfortunately at this point the ship building aspect of the game is not currently in the game so you just press a button to randomly spawn a new ship.
  • The game also includes a research mechanic which gives you access to new items for your base. This mechanic is in the game and requires you to build research stations to get research points that are used to unlock different types of research. The basic mechanics are in place but there aren’t a lot of different things to research at this point so you can research everything pretty quickly.
  • Currently you have some control over your crew. You can give each crew member directions of what jobs they are supposed to do around the station. You can also hire new workers as you recruit people from planets you visit. The actual hiring process is not in the game though as you just press a button to hire additional workers.

Overall I would say that the artwork looks quite nice at this point. The game has a unique art style that I like. There are quite a few unique characteristics for your crew members so you might see some repeats but it won’t get to the point where your spaceship looks like it is filled with clones. The planets you visit in particular look really nice.

The best way to describe the current state of The Spatials: Galactology is that despite being just released in Early Access it is quite polished. There are some occasional bugs/glitches but the game appears to be pretty stable. It doesn’t have all of its’ intended features at this time but the elements that are currently in the game are fun and work well.

While The Spatials: Galactology is already a good game, the game shows quite a bit of potential. The developers have shown that they can make a good game since the original game has very positive ratings. Some of the proposed elements that they plan on adding to the game also sound really interesting. At this stage The Spatials: Galactology is not as good as a game like Prison Architect but with development I think it could approach or possibly be better than Prison Architect.

While I really like The Spatials: Galactology there are some issues with the game that I hope are addressed in future updates. The developers are already planning on addressing most of these issues.

  1. The biggest “issue” with the game right now is with the proposed features that aren’t currently in the game. These mechanics should be added in future updates to the game. To make up for these mechanics not currently being in the game, the developers have included “cheat” buttons that let you bypass the missing mechanics. These buttons work for now to fill in gaps but feel a little like cheating since using these shortcuts makes the game a little easier in some areas than it should be.
  2. The resource distribution on planets could use a little work. Some resources appear to be much easier to find than others. This means that you have a ton of some resources and not enough of other resources. Some of the key resources you need for production are hard to find which makes production take longer to get started than I would have wanted.
  3. Resource storage on the station can be a pain at times. When I first started playing the game, my workers would just leave stuff all over the floor even when I built locations for them to leave the goods. Unless you want a really messy space station it is key to build a storage area early in the game. I hope that the game will eventually make it a little easier to store large amounts of goods in an area so you don’t have to have a huge storage area just to hold all of the items you retrieve from planets.
  4. Sometimes your workers act stupid/lazy. I have had times where I have workers that just stand around doing nothing even though I have assigned them jobs that they could be doing. None of their stats were particularly low either so I am unsure why they refused to do any work. This gets annoying when there is a fire in the station (after some invaders attack the station) and all of the workers just stand there for a while letting the fire burn even though I had them all set as firefighters. I hope the game implements some way to prioritize or force workers to do certain actions before performing others/standing around doing nothing.
  5. Some more control over your workers in general would be nice. Basically all of your workers are pretty much the same at this point. I hope the game makes the workers a little more individualized where they have different skills that would make each worker better at some jobs over others. I also hope workers will gain experience as they do a job which would lead to them doing the job better. It sounds like this is an area that the developers plan to address in a future update.
  6. The game’s tutorials are pretty well made but the game also kind of relies on you learning the game as you play it. Most of the game mechanics are explained through different tutorials whenever you first encounter it. These do a pretty good job explaining each mechanic but I think the game could do a better job guiding the player as to what they should do next. With your first base you could end up building yourself into a hole and have to start over like I did when I ran out of money and had to start a new base.
  7. I don’t know if this would be possible but I think it would be cool if you could create stations on multiple different planets.
  8. Unless I couldn’t figure out how to do it, the game doesn’t appear to have a way to rotate the camera. This is more of a annoyance and doesn’t really hurt the game. I just think it would be easier to design your stations if you could look at the station from different angles.

While it is missing some features, The Spatials: Galactology is already a good space simulation game with the potential to be a great simulation game. I had fun with the game and the game has enough content to keep you interested for quite a while. The game also shows so much promise as additional mechanics are added to it. Currently the game has a retail price of $12.99 which seems about right. The game’s price will be higher once the game leaves Early Access so if the game sounds like something you would enjoy I think you should consider picking it up. If you a little leery of Early Access games I would at the very least keep an eye on the game because The Spatials: Galactology has the potential to be a fantastic space base simulation game.

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