Space Rangers: Quest is a text quest Role Playing Game (RPG) developed by SNK Games and published by 1C Company. The game was released on September 6th, 2016.
You play as a ranger, who is sent on a mission to research, document, fight for and protect the galaxy. Before you even contemplate getting this game, you need to understand that the game is entirely played out in text. So you are in for a lot of reading. It’s sort of like those old choose your story Goosebumps books, where you have to go to a different page depending on what you choose and there are various different endings, including those with you dying.
Firstly, the main aspect of a game based completely on bucket loads of reading should be well written and with great content, right? Well, you might be a bit hard pressed in finding that here. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not bad, it is well thought out and rarely a spelling or grammatical mistake is to be found. It is just that the content and the word usage is lacking. It seems like they have tried to implement some fancy word usage, but also make sure to keep it simple enough for all audiences, and the two do not work well together. And we mean really simple, such as your hi-tech futuristic weapon is called… “Laser Gun”, and a weapon you find which can stun people is called “Stunner”. The actual speech never actually sounds like something someone would really say, and again just feels like a simple way to get the point across. If this were text in any other game, such as in books around the place or occasional messages or emails in-game, then it wouldn’t even phase you. But the fact that you are always reading something or other, and often large passages of text, makes it become droning and difficult to want to continue reading. Everything is in past tense as well, you enter a building? Nope, you entered a building. You get into a shoot-out? Nope, you got into a shoot-out. It feels a bit out of place, like it has all already happened, and you are just playing out a preset story with preset ‘choices’.
The RPG element in Space Rangers: Quest is actually pretty solid. When you are on quests, depending on what you do first can have an impact on how something plays out later on, for instance finding crucial information or more guards in an area if you branch out too much. There is also a management system including inventory, ship, credits and even health. This greatly assists the RPG feel of the game, as depending on how your quests go, it can greatly affect your resources. If your ship gets damaged, you need to spend credits to get it repaired. If you get hurt, you can either decide to seek medical attention, taking longer to perform an objective, or simply soldier on. The choices you make in the story do actually affect the story, both upcoming and far in the future parts.
The galaxy map is a bit of a mess, at least the unexplored parts are. The entire map is like a jigsaw puzzle, unexplored areas are the pieces and explored areas are the missing pieces, odd we know. There is a background which all of the unexplored areas share, and once a section has been explored, usually through the use of a star chart, the planets and paths will appear, removing that part of the background. It is a little difficult at times to read what system you are in, on the map, as the name is smack in the middle and covered by planets, routes or it is just plain hard to see amongst the background image. That said, the rest of the menu is fairly easy and smooth to move through, allowing you to easily navigate to the different sections, such as the Text Quest section or the Bonuses and Penalties section.
The space exploration part of Space Rangers: Quest is pretty straight forward and doesn’t allow for much actual exploration. You buy star charts which become increasingly expensive, which unlock different areas on the galaxy map, and each area only has a few locations to travel to, half of which are simply there as filler. When you reach a location, you perform a scan of the system, which tells you if there is anything to do here, if there isn’t, then on to the next location, if there is, do whatever it is that was found, such as a quest or hidden base. It likes to tell you that there is a lot of choice to where you go in the galaxy, but it’s the same idea as if you were put in a hallway with a few small rooms connected to it, and you can only progress by searching them all, finding something that tells you about the next hallway, and then go to said next hallway to do the same thing. There are small little branching areas, but they all lead back to the trunk pretty quickly.
Space Rangers: Quest is out now on PC for AUD $13. The game could have been so much more, the idea of a text-based RPG in space is something that can prick up the ears of many a gamer. But unfortunately, the game is let down in a multitude of areas, from the linear space exploration, the messy galaxy map and even the text itself. The only saving graces are the ease of the menu and the RPG element to the game. For these reasons, we give Space Rangers: Quest a 4.2/10. A score that could have been much higher, if only the actual main element, the text, in a text-based game was actually enjoyable to read, and not droning and simplified to the point of feeling dumbed down.