With these two lines, Seedship begins.
Seedship is a text-based game on mobile, where you play as an on-board AI of a ship holding the last of humanity in cryosleep, along with databases of humanity’s scientific and cultural knowledge. You have various sensors and 10 deployable (but not recoverable) surface drones, and your job is to find a suitable planet for humanity to thrive again.
You begin with all systems fully operational. When gameplay starts, the Sun is dead, and no signals came from that direction. For all you know, the thousand people laying dormant within the ship you control are the last of humanity. Nothing more is known about Earth, or the presence of any other survivors. Nor do you care. Your only duty now is to find the right place for humanity to begin anew.
However, not all is good on the planets you find. Some are blistering hot, some have crushingly high gravity, and some are homes to dangerous flora and fauna. How well the colony fares depends on the conditions of the planet, the number of colonists alive when you land the ship, and the conditions of you systems and databases.
The ship is under constant assault by the cold, uncaring hostility of space. From specks of cosmic dust to the almost irresistible pull of the black hole, space slowly chips away at your spaceship, stripping away at your ship and your precious cargo. At times, space simply rips out parts of the ship. At other times, it hands you an axe and forces you to choose whether to chop off an arm or a leg.
And once you made a choice, the game is effectively over. You sit back, and see how the colonists fare on the new planet of your choosing. They are a smart race, a hardy race. Some of the first colonists may die, but they as a whole will survive and make the best out of their surroundings. You are then given a score based on your choices, and with your duties completed, you quietly remained on the planet, among the descendants of those you had protected and escorted across the stars.
Seedship is a simple game. It is not one of those games where you play in the morning and stopped when your phone battery dies 10 hours later. Rather, it is the sort of game where you play in the two minutes you have to spare, and for that two minutes you drifted across the cosmos with the last of humanity under your care. It is a game you play to spend a couple of minutes, and it does it extremely well.
It is essentially Oregon Trail in space, except that you choose when you stop and it is a lot less brutal. That made me though of something. Oregon Trail has a nice little graphic on the screen showing you moving through the Trail. The screen oftentimes have a fair amount of blank space. If I were given the choice to add in a graphic visualising the trip, what style of graphics will I use?
I would like something classic if I need to add it, much like the games of old. However, I can’t say I like the pixelated look very much. I would probably add something like the vector graphics used in old arcade cabinets.
However, is that truly needed? The text-based interface is fine. And it gives a slight sense of detachment, which in this case does make you feel like you are an AI observing things around you through an array of sensors feeding you numbers. Less is more in this case, I guess.
Seedship is a good game to play if you have a couple of minutes to spare, and it is free on Google Play Store and the App Store, so do give it a try. It probably won’t be a mind-blowing experience, but it will definitely be an interesting one.