Star Traders Review – Take a Tour Around the Galaxy!

Star Traders Banner

Take a trip on the way-back bus with this complex, retro-style, text-based space RPG from the Trese brothers. Choose a profession, hop on your ship, and let the galaxy be your playground!

Title: Star Traders | Developer: Cory TreseGenre: RPG |
Players: 1 | Version: 2.31 | Size: 3.4MB | Price: $1.99

Star Traders QRCClick QRC image (from phone) or scan with a barcode reader.

Let’s first admit up-front that I’m a die-hard, pen & paper RPG fan. I also love things that take me back to the old-school roleplaying days, where MUDs and ASCII maps were king, and your imagination did all the talking. I first saw Star Traders in an AndroLib recommendation list after reading-up on some other Android roleplaying games, and it piqued my curiosity. What’s followed has been a strange and compelling addiction that I just haven’t been able to shake.

Star Traders is somewhat of an open-world, “sandbox” type roleplaying game. Your role is that of a ship’s captain whose profession, combined with his allegiance to one of several galaxy-Nations, helps you vie for reputation, wealth, and power. The definition of “success” in Star Traders is in your hands, and you will choose one of seven professions which best reflects your philosophy. Explorers travel the reaches of the galaxy searching for rare goods and artifacts which can be sold at the market for hefty rewards. Merchants make their living by buying large quantities of common goods from local Exchanges and then re-selling them to more remote outposts for a decent profit. Bounty Hunters pursue hit-man contracts, often travelling to remote locations to find and destroy a rogue pirate and his ship. And Pirates roam the galaxy looking for a tasty merchant or smuggler to disable and board with the hopes of landing a nice stash of goods… or even better, a brand-new ship!

In addition to your profession, you will swear allegiance to one of six Nations, belonging to either of the two dueling factions that vie for control over open-space: The House and The Syndicate. As you complete contracts, engage in combat with other ships, or participate in the various faction-wars that continuously rear their ugly heads, you will gain and lose faction. Faction garners Reputation, which provides perks such as better prices for goods, better rewards for contracts, and less enemy ships breathing down your neck at every turn.

What follows your character creation is a turn-based game where you’ll move your ship around on a simple grid-type map, run from point A to point B to complete contracts, and stop along the way to harvest resources from planets or to fight other ships. As you follow your whims around the galaxy, you’ll be gaining experience from your actions, which you can use to raise your captain’s Attributes and Skills. You’ll need to manage your ship’s fuel consumption and crew morale, and continually upgrade and buy (or steal) new ships to stay ahead of the competition. But trust me, this is an extremelyover-simplified summary of this game. There are so many factors to your success or failure that you’ll simply need to read the guides before you get a handle on how to play (well).

Lucky for you, Cory has created a Player’s Guide, and out of my interactions with him as well as my own play-experience, I’ve assembled a Cliff’s Notes version of my own that should help you get started.

Controls: Star Traders has a simple control scheme: tap to move your ship and open menus, swipe to scroll the galaxy map.

Graphics: Basic. And when I say “basic”, I mean basic… think early, space-combat PC games circa 1990. The backgrounds for the maps are decent, using some photo-realistic images of nebulae, planets, and stars, but the rest is highly simplistic. While the core of the game is its mechanics, this game could really take-off with some modern polish.

Sound: None. There are no sound-effects nor background music, but strangely, I haven’t even thought about it until doing this review. I would certainly love to hear some techie, synth-like “taps” and beeps when navigating around the menus, and a spacey, minimal background score would add some nice flair.

When creating your character, you can select game difficulty – ranging from basic to impossible. Normal mode gives you a fighting-chance, which seems to be almost entirely gone once you hit Insane. Within the game itself, you are allowed the options of disabling the star field (background), disabling auto-scroll when your ship moves, and setting the number of xp that triggers your Training notification.

Verdict: Star Traders has come a long way since its inception, and after many clarification and feedback email threads with Cory (the developer), I can safely say that this is likely one of the best retro-RPGs you’re going to find on the Market to-date. But don’t kid yourself – this game is complex and deep, requires a whole lot of reading, and probably won’t appeal to many new-school gamers due to its lack of sound and shiny graphics. You’ll need to do some reading before you have any clue what the hell you’re doing, but once you get the hang of it, it just might keep you coming back for more. I’m giving this game a 4-star rating, but it’s a low-four in that it really could use some polish in terms of sound and graphics. But, despite its lack of snazz, it’s a really fun little game.

Rating: ★★★


Share This

You Might Also Like