The Spatials is yet another game that came out of nowhere for me and what a nice surprise it is. I’m fairly big fan of the city-building sim genre (except for The Sims for reasons I won’t go into now) and Weird and Wry decided to put the genre in space. (It may have been done before, but this is a first for myself.) With a bit of a nostalgic Star Trek look and a bit more complication in the genre than I’ve played, The Spatials has taken a lot of my time lately and I’ll gladly give it more.
So you start with just an air-lock and you build out from there. You can build a lot of different facilities that one would expect like sleeping and storage areas, but once you get a little further in you can build bars with dance floors (which the humans aren’t too fond of weirdly enough) and sell fancy drinks. I had to do a lot of extra work to get the ingredients to be able to make the drinks, but what are you going to do. I also haven’t got to build a Duty Free shop, but I’m on my way. With as many airports as I’ve been in during my life… I kind of need one in my space port or it just won’t feel finished. *Insert end-game goal here!*
That does bring up a few things that weren’t the clearest in the tutorial. Granted, some of the issues I had could have been solved by… you know… reading, but that’s neither here nor there. Sometimes you’ll do a tutorial and just assume that you can handle the rest of it. Well it turns out, I’m not capable of handling The Spatials without reading the in-game notes (go figure). It is good to know ahead of time, for those of you who haven’t picked it up, that you can build facilities that create items that use materials you can’t get for a while. It is easy enough to unlock more solar systems, but the difficulty goes up as well.
Moving on from there you build the places where food and/or goods get created and then you also have to create a place for your people and the visitors to your space station to purchase or consume the goods. That means if you make a kitchen to make a pizza, you’ll also need a cafeteria where you can sit down and enjoy it (or procure it and enjoy it in this instance). It makes sense, but it’s a nice and small touch that adds a little complexity. I really enjoyed figuring it out and the process of making the space station work efficiently. To really get it, you’ll want to have a little bit of everything crafted just in case someone comes in and is craving pizza or yogurt or a cold one for those who like their drinks shaken, but not stirred (if you’re over 21 of course). You’ve got to be prepared.
If you want to be completely prepared you’ll have to work for it. While you can expand and conquer more planets, that won’t really help you get enough supplies to be able to create everything fast enough to be able to keep all of your people and visitors clean and satisfied. After beating a mission on a planet, you should go back and beat the harder difficulty setting to double-up on the supplies you get from the planet. (The “WTF” difficulty in later levels are not very nice at all.) Also, remember to hire more people so you can have people to staff the so that you can get your supplies faster as well. It’s a delicate balance between hiring too many, making the right products and having just enough for everyone. The nice part is that it’s not really frustrating to do this, it’s actually quite fun. I’m not completely sure how Weird & Wry managed this, but they did a great job.
Last thing, because I see people complaining about this, there is a little complexity to this game. Not a lot. It’s not overly difficult if you’ve got the capacities to read and remember things. While you may be maintaining your space station and making everyone happy by supplying the proper goods DON’T FORGOT YOUR AWAY TEAM! People complaining about how “you can’t raise their happiness levels back up in time to keep them from leaving” aren’t being very observant. When you’re out on missions you get hungry running around blasting fools and picking things up. Not to mention how dirty you must get. You need to give your people time to get cleaned up or yeh, they will leave. Wouldn’t you? All work and no soap or food make these Spatials look for another port were their fun-meter can be filled properly. (You know… like my station when the bar will actually serves drinks…)