Build up a galactic logistical network from scratch and turn a raw galaxy into a powerhouse of industry and trade.
Genre: Strategy, Puzzle
Release date: 03 June, 2021
There’s something to be said for the trading subgenre when its best titles can consistently feel both challenging and relaxing at the same time. Whether it’s Anna or Port Royale, you can kick back and chill s your logistical networks grow without having to worry about a cacodemon biting you in half the second you take your finger off of the mouse button. Yet the sense of progression is every bit as rewarding as the more intense titles out there.
Slipways lives up to the expectations set by this trend and in many ways is even easier than most to jump into. It’ll scratch your logistical management itch while at the same time reducing the required level of commitment that’s usually involved with getting everything up and running.
Slipways throws you into an untouched galaxy and gives you complete control over how it develops. There are no rivals to be found; it’s only you, the resources at your disposal, and the clock. A variety of map types are found as you send out probes to explore the space around you and you’ll find everything from arid to arctic to jungle to ocean and so on. Most of these types have several specializations that can be chosen to develop them while defining their needed imports and produced exports. The better supplied a planet is, the more goods it will produce to be shipped elsewhere. Every planet produces a basic level of a resource production even if none of its needs are met, but by providing it with slipways for import and export, you’ll improve the amount that you crank out. Your final score is penalized for planets that have not reached a certain level of success while you’ll get large bonuses for active planets that have had their needs met including multiple import and export lines.
Slipways, as you may have guessed, are these lines. Import and export routes are mostly taken care of once you’ve produced these and everything is automated. A planet that isn’t linked with efficient routes, doesn’t meet its basic needs, or colonies that have spare population will create unhappiness that will prematurely end your game if it grows too much. Alternatively, a well-designed network will result in the previously mentioned prosperous planets that provide a happiness bonus to keep you employed.
The most challenging aspects of building your trade empire revolve around your slipways. Their paths are always straight lines from one planet to the next that are restricted to a certain length and can’t cross over any planets, asteroids, or other slipways. Planning ahead is beyond important and you can find yourself unable to import and export what is needed if you make too many mistakes as once you’ve built a slipway or specialized a planet, it can’t be undone.
Species and Tech
Every game of Slipways has you settling a new region of space though there are certain elements that you can tailor to your liking to spice things up. Each run will start with you choosing three of the five species and each comes with its own selection of perks and technologies that drastically alter your capabilities. In one game you may choose to specialize in a way that you’re able to build a unique type of facility that produces more resources than normal. On the next, you may instead gain the ability to blow up undesirable worlds to remove obstacles for particularly efficient slipways. These options make each run feel different than the last and grant the title a healthy longevity.
An Evolving Universe
In addition to the previously stated modifications for each run, you’ll unlock others as you progress and reach certain milestones. Though independent scenarios are the standard way to play, a campaign mode can be unlocked that adds more structure and mixes in a few challenges that you don’t see in the usual runs. Quirks are additional mods that can be randomly chosen for a game that change up the galaxy in some interesting ways, such as some planets having unique aspects to them that increase the productivity of a certain type of settlement or increased running costs for an industry. Positive quirks will reduce your score while negative ones will increase it so there’s always perks involved with whatever you choose to go with.
Slipways surprised me with how enjoyable it is. Its balancing of simplicity and depth make it an “easy to learn, difficult to master” title that has the potential to please strategy gamers of both the casual and more hardcore varieties. The variety of perks, technology, and quirks for each new map keep it exciting and fresh while the scoring will keep you pushing to improve on your logistical design with each new attempt. I highly recommend Slipways and I know that I’ll be coming back to this one plenty of times in the future.