Gamesare Studios – the creators of the favorably received Vincere Totus Astrum (our review) – one day decided that even though various space travel simulators already exist, none of them properly emulate the feeling of classical Sci-Fi shows. To this end they sought to create a game where you’d boldly travel to various galaxies – meet and parlay with unique alien races – explore fantastical worlds, and then sometimes get into battles where you blow everything up. The result of this led to Gamesare Studios conceiving their plans for Tiny Trek, a space exploration sim – doused heavily in Star Trek inspired trappings – featuring pre-NES style pixelated graphics.
Players begin Tiny Trek by first selecting their home world from a long list of procedurally generated planets, each with their own unique social structures, and then afterwards designing a pixelated starship. From there they can journey to exotic locations where – upon arriving – they can actually beam down an away crew, whom then go on sidescrolling based exploratory missions. To ensure that each landing party excursion is a unique experience, beyond every planet appearing vastly different, the specifics of your goal will be procedurally generated each time as well.
Of course, there’s a lot more work involved in exploring an entire universe than merely beaming crewmen down again and gain just to see what each world’s local flora and fauna look like. A starship has constant needs for upkeep and refueling, to which end a competent captain must be capable of managing resources so that they’re not expended faster than they can be recouperated. Yet carefully chosen words will only take a crew so far, for eventually they’ll be forced to test their mettle – lest they become little more than space dust – whenever they run afoul less than savory species.
Players who manage to keep their crew alive for extended runs will begin to encounter divergent gameplay, with earlier decisions creating ever larger cascading effects over time. For instance: players might randomly have their engineering crew suddenly inform them that they have discovered a suspicious plasma trail, and request your permission to follow it for further analysis. Agreeing to your staff’s curiosity might then lead you to an asteroid field where a merchant ship – damaged and slowly dying – drifts about in desperate need of help, leaving you with the choice of either saving or raiding them.
Assuming you helped them out of their precarious predicament, rather than just mercenarily looting them, you could end up forming a powerful alliance with the travelers’ home planet. While that might not seem like much, Gamesare Studios has promised that – outside of the obvious benefit of being welcome in the area – you might even have them come to your rescue later on. Marauding space pirates lurk all over the galaxy, yet if you’re attacked in an allied sector then the local Calvary could potentially arrive to save your back should you ever need some help yourself.
With Tiny Trek’s ‘episode event’ creation tool claimed to be capable of generating hundreds of different story segment combinations, the divergent gameplay capacity for such scenarios may well be endless. Players will be able to have an infinite number of unique experiences and discoveries, allowing for truly engaging endless space travel that can continue on for however long the crew manages to say alive. Afterwards you can create a whole new galaxy, and then test your luck and skill once more – with your previous experiences to learn from – in yet another uniquely generated cosmos.
The catch is – as often is the case with small independent developers – programmers still have a need for doing things, such as eating, during the long hours required to make a game. So that’s where the Kickstarter for Tiny Trek – which has already been in development for a whole year – comes into the play, so far raising an admirable $2.5k of the $4,000 the project needs in order to be completed. For a mere $7 you can secure a copy of the PC version, or the iOS version for $10, and in the process be forever immortalized as one of Tiny Trek’s randomly selected captain names.