What am I playing this Week? Weird Worlds, New Year, not Quite Hitting the Mark

Welcome to the New Year! For some of us it feels remarkably like the old year, but hopefully your new year will bring you everything you are looking for in gaming. For me, last year had many games that maybe I regretted spending some money on. Most game reviews I write are for games that I liked, and you will find they are generally positive. The simple reason for that is that no one pays me to review games (certainly not yet anyway,) so the games I play I generally am very cautious about buying because it’s coming out of my pocket.

Still, some games get through that may not actually make it to my regular playlist. These games came in bundles, or I took a chance on because the price is right but after a play or two ended up relegated to the digital back closet. So this month I’m going to look at games I call “One and Done” games. These games may not be bad games, but they certainly did not hold me long enough to get me playing more than once or twice and none of them lasted a week.

The first game that ended up on the back of the shelf was a game I picked up for my $10 and less challenge, Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space. This was a game with mixed reviews steam, but the charming graphics and the strategy elements drew me in, so I plucked out my wallet and decided to take a look at it. When I see games with mixed reviews like that, I know that personal preference can play a huge factor in how much you enjoy the game.

Alas, this game really had a skill curve that was too steep for me to enjoy it, with too little explanation behind it to keep you moving upwards on that very steep skill curve. The basic interface is easy to read, you have a ship with various upgrade slots, and those slots have specific shapes so you can read things like a kindergartner. If an item matches the item slot, it probably goes into it. Each item has a rating system to show you how powerful/valuable that item supposedly is. The global map shows a series of stars for you to travel to, explore, and encounters a variety of events with the goal of earning the most money before the time limit runs out. Your ship’s equipment determines how quickly you move from star to star, and supposedly how well you do in combat.

Each individual component of this game looks like it has the seed of a good concept behind it, but somewhere along the line they just…missed a piece to make it good. The relative value of the items becomes a moot point when you find traders that will do one for one trade without looking at the item quality. The beautiful map that has different nebulae, special events, and all these pretty stars, but the movement system makes little difference except as a way to adjust the speed the counter on the game time limit.

Finally, the combat…I was not able to win a single combat in the many times I tried to play this game. When you’ve loaded your ship up with weapons and shields that according to their stats should be fairly good, and you walk into any fight and get destroyed in 30 seconds, then maybe there is a balance issue going on here. The combat system seems simple at first, but you’re outnumbered almost every time, and there is no tutorial as to how you are supposed to engage them.

Weird Worlds has little tweaks and flaws like this that make the gameplay experience difficult, confusing, and obscure. Like many games with mixed reviews like this one, there is a lot of potential here, and for some players they find it a hugely satisfying experience. I am not one of them though, and that’s why this one is going to end up at the bottom of my game library for quite some time.

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