Space Boat Prototype PREVIEW! (STEAM)
Developed: Recombobulator Games
Published: Recombobulator Games
Release Date: Kickstarter launching October 5th
Platforms: PC(initial), NSW,Xbox,Playstation, GOG, Epic,
*Early access provided to me by Recombobulator Games
''Muppets In Space''
Space Boat is a narrative driven adventure game that is developed and published by Recombobulator Games. From the minds that brought you Dead Space and Mass Effect, now comes a tale of Domino, a space cat detective and star agent of the R.C.N.P. (Royal Cosmic Narwhal Police), charged with finding a thief who has stolen and ran away with a priceless jewel. As the cat, Inspector Domino, it is your job to use all the skills as a detective that you have at your disposal and bring this thief down once and for all. Enter the area of Jelly shore and meet some VERY interesting people along the way.
Before I continue my preview, I just want to make it clear that this is my impressions from an early prototype of the game that I was privileged to be able to be granted access to and this in no way shape or form will be representative of the final product. Any negatives or mishaps that I talk about below can and will be fixed before the final games release and should not be indicative of the final games quality. Kickstarter for this title begins October 5th and I will link it down below at the bottom of this preview so that you may follow and support should you want to. So let's get to this bad boy. Shall we?
Once you start the demo, well.. I mean if you can passed the main title screen that is. No It's not because its broken, its because the title screen for Space Boat has one of the most catchiest theme songs that I've ever heard from a game before. I'm serious. It's literally a parody and homage to Love Boat. Who all remembers that show? show of hands. But we can't sit around all day and listen to this amazing song now right? We have to got to see what this title has to offer us before the games kickstarter and demo is released on October 5th. At its core, the game plays very much like you remember from the Mass Effect series. Open up a dialogue with a specific character and choose an option of dialogue from a dialogue tree. Each selection of dialogue is determined based off several factors, such as, who have you talked to so far? did you you pick the right option, have you completed an event they were looking for and tradeable items that a character might be looking for. These are your basic core mechanics of the character dialogue tree that you will experience in this 10-15 minute demo. But that's not all there is to this demo, because you are also to take on the role of detective as you scout out more leads.
As you officially start the game you notice you're a muppet looking character and the rest of the inhabitants of the area of Jelly shore are also muppet looking characters, well with the occasional jelly doggo friend that is. Give him a pat on the head for being a good boy and please, don't eat him. Even though you look like a muppet, don't be fooled, underneath the costume is a detective cat named Domino of the RCNP, whos goal is to find a notorious jewel thief. It's a basic story to start us off for sure, but the real strength doesn't lie in the story with Space Boat, but instead with its characters, world and its game play. Let me explain in more detail. When entering Jelly Shore, you're tasked with finding a way onto the Princess Andromeda cruise ship before it departs. Before you get to figure out a way to get on the ship though, you're blocked by a jerk named Premium Pass Dale, an obnoxious Whale who is in charge of the premium pass entrance way leading to the ship. You're a lowly pleb and he's just awesome, amazing, and better than you because you're poor and he's the best. Why is that? well simply because he bought a premium pass and you didn't, that's literally it. Talking to him the first time, yields no results, you can't get passed unless you have a premium guest pass. So with that you're off to search for new ways to get passed him. In comes the detective mechanic. With your detective mechanic, you're able to ease drop on peoples conversations and highlight specific words that will give you a clue on what to do next.
When talking to an NPC or listening to a crowd, they will say specific things that will be highlighted in yellow and once you notice this, press RT(when using xbox controller) to take note of this and add it to your journal, which is in your inventory(when pressing Y). Make sure you do this, if you don't do it then you will have a harder time figuring out what you are supposed to do next. One example of needing to do this is in regards to a member of the crowd who is watching the fireworks outside town, talks about needing a guest pass, highlighting this in your journal notebook will open up dialogue trees with Dale the whale where you will learn that he requires a specific item that he doesn't own or else you can screw off, literally, he doesn't have time for you unless you can give him something he doesn't own, remember, were just a simpleton poor pleb, so he tells us to shove off. Now that you are armed with your first clue, make your way around town to the travel agency. Here is where you inquire about guest passes and meet one of funniest characters in this preview demo and his name is Pre-Order Earl. Now immediately from the start you WILL laugh at this character because not only does he sound like Cartman from South Park, but he also embodies the thoughts of all gamers, at least at one point in our lives. He's been waiting for four months to be able to board the Princess Andromeda, but he still hasn't seen a travel agent. It's because he only preordered the GOLD edition and not the ULTIMATE edition. If you're a gamer who has ordered a collectors edition before, you feel this to your bone. Ouch buddy, ouch.
When talking to Preorder Earl you will learn that he only got a stupid plaque for his efforts in ordering the gold edition, he also had collectable cards but uhh he kind of ate those cause they were pretty tasty. Armed with that knowledge you set out now to find something to trade with him, that way you can have the plaque and trade it to Dale to get the pass you need. This is what makes Space Boat even in the early going, such a fun little game. You feel like a detective, you must pay attention to big and small details and uncover new story and dialogue trees by finding items, trading them, use a vending machine to get special card to trade Preorder Earl, the list goes on and on. Every action you take leads to another dialogue tree or new story entry that advances the narrative forward and changes what each character says to you or does. One more example of this is after you acquire a boarding pass from the travel agent, who tells you to get the heck out his office after he gives you the pass because he's scared of you, head over to cafe and use that pass to get a subscription coffee service that allows you to get a special coffee, along with a custom table. You know, even though this is alien coffee, id still trust it over Starbucks, just saying. This is where the demo comes to its conclusion as you take your seat next to an air vent, which you can crawl into and finally come face to face with the shapeshifting jewel thief, who is disguised as... YOU. Yo what the heck! Yes, the demo ends on a cliffhanger. I wanted more. But alas we will have to wait just a little bit longer to get that.
Because this demo was a prototype and is just a tease at what's to come, there were some issues I ran into, such as controls with my keyboard and mouse, along with my xbox controller, actually becoming unresponsive whenever I would click ''restart'' from the menu. I also had an issue with dialogue not updating when an objective was fulfilled. For instance when speaking to Dale The Whale to trade him the plaque, I never got my reward that I needed in order to advance the demo, so I had to restart and do it again and that fixed the issue. I wouldn't dwell too much on these issues though as this is, once again, a prototype, so this won't even be an issue going forward with future iterations and releases to this title. But I feel adding this to my preview helps the developers see these issues and can fix them in order to create the best title possible without being hindered by any glitches or at the very least potential game breaking ones. I have confidence they'll do so.
When its all said and done, Recombobulator Games has something special brewing here and a foundation that looks like it could have a bright future, should the rest of the full fledge game hold up to the same standards that were set with this prototype demo. From its great characters like Dale The Whale who is a complete jerk and constantly berates you, PreOrder Earl, a nice gelatonian alien who sounds straight out of South Park with his funny voice, characters that look like they belong in the muppets universe, interactive environments where you can see advertisements from in world stores and fireworks, and down to its detective game play that keeps the player involved by having you pay attention to not only the NPC's around you, but to your environment... it all sets the stage for a potential success down the line. So with all that having been said, please refer to the links below and put support behind Recombobulator Games and Space Boat if you like what you see!
Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/826153487/space-boat-episode-1 Twitter https://twitter.com/RecombobulatorG Steam https://store.steampowered.com/app/1534720/Space_Boat/