Shortest Trip to Earth – Preview (PC)
Shortest Trip to Earth is a procedurally generated space adventure, which translates to “Space is fun, even when getting your ass handed to you.” But in all seriousness, Shortest Trip to Earth just popped into Early Access and have five sectors for you to explore and die in. Fans of FTL should really keep their eye out on this one it’s been a treat so far.
You get to start off the game by choosing a ship. You only get a couple of options in the beginning but when you complete sectors you unlock another ship. After you choose your ship, you go to a perk page. From here you can choose perks for your ship, such as more consumables (food, fuel, metal, etc.), upgraded modules for your ship, and pets for your ship for example. There are limitations though, you have to spend your fate points for these upgrades. You get a standard 25 (I believe for starting the game) and you get bonuses from the previous game you played. When I completed the five sectors I got 50 bonus Fate points. The prices of each perk vary as well, the better the object the more it will cost. Once you’re all set up, you get thrown into space!
From here, how to play is purely up to you. You can shoot first and ask questions later, try to avoid conflict with bribes, or both if survival depends on it. Each sector has multiple galaxies within it. You don’t need to go to every one of them but it would be good to try to for the sake of upgrading your ship. The negative would be, you can jump into a hostile area and your run could stop short there.
Each area could have a mix of gas giants, space stations, planets, or other little points of interest. Each could be beneficial or dangerous to your journey. You won’t know until you explore each one. Some are simple stops or lead to nothing. Others could lead to a quest. I found a place where I needed to bring 1000 Metal to get a special coordinate and a module upgrade for my ship. It was definitely worth the trade-off.
One of the biggest parts of the game isn’t exploring, it’s ship management. You will need to manage your crew, ship, and consumables. Repairs will be needed. Healing will need to be done. Other things like food and fuel will need to be watched and most likely need to be traded for, harvested, or acquired from a planet. Achieving these items from helping natives on planets or exploring is a fun experience.
Now the combat itself can be a bit overwhelming as you can battle multiple ships at a time. Luckily you can pause the game and queue up some actions with crew or weapons if you’re feeling crunched. Each weapon can be selected and aimed at an area of the ship and will continue to fire there until otherwise told. This is great as you can aim for certain tech, rooms, or power reactors to disable parts of the ship. The weird part is you can do that with the enemies weapons as well. Yes, you can aim the enemies weapons at their own ships. I have no idea if this is a bug or something enabled at first launch. So, in theory, you should have no issues in battles until that is fixed.
Shortest Trip to Earth is on the right path to success. It does have some cleaning up to do and release more sectors, but those are already planned. I did hit some duplicate interactions with the same people and graphics with the same result, though they were in different playthroughs, I instantly knew and expected what was to happen. This could have been a fluke though. I’m really excited to see where Shortest Trip to Earth takes us.