Digital Eel's Strange Adventures in Infinite Space is an incredibly addictive space exploration game that plays like a cross between a board game and Star Control. Imagine the same sense of humor you have come to know and love in Accolade's classic, minus the grand plot, mix with more intergalactic business savvy, and you'll have a good idea of what SAIS is all about. As a space explorer, your objective, in the game's official words, is simple: "explore exotic star systems; seek out new technologies, artifacts and lifeforms; boldly blow up stuff where no one has has blown up stuff before!" Explore the world, interact with aliens you encounter, and barter with cargo items. You gain money for accomplishing tasks such as capturing lifeforms, or finding alien artifacts or habitable planets. The game is timed in the sense that everything you do, e.g. travelling to different planets, repairing your ships, and engaging in ship-to-ship combat, takes a certain amount of game time and if you go on for too long, you start losing points from your score. |
One of the best things about SAIS (and there are many of them) is the fun ship-to-ship combat model. The weapons and ship designs are not as inventive as what you get in the melee mode of Star Control 2, but the action is no less fun. It's fast, fluid, and full of spectacular weapon effects.
With excellent graphics, top-notch gameplay, and even a rocking soundtrack (although I like the one in Plasmaworm more), SAIS is one of the best space exploration games you'll ever play. Although it's quite short (each game takes only 10-20 minutes to complete), randomization guarantees infinite replayability, and the game is so addictive you won't even miss the save feature. The short length makes SAIS ideal for a quick round during coffee breaks. Be careful, though – given the game's extremely high "just one more game" quotient, you might have too much fun playing the game to notice when your break is over. Here's hoping for more titles from Digital Eel... hopefully with boss key built in so it will be less risky to play their games at work ;) The full version, which is now freeware, features over 20 ship types, 69 artifacts and ship components, 7 unique alien races, and much more. Two thumbs up, and a proud entrant into our Hall of Belated Fame.
Note: There are now two more entries in the series, both of which you can read about and buy through the infinitespacegames.com website.
Reviewed by: Underdogs