|Platform Reviewed||IBM PC|
|Genre||Economic and Military Simulation|
|Number of Players||One|
|Programming||Solid and Dependable|
|Game Design and Playability||Sad|
|Type Of Fun||Little|
|Replay Value||Low, unless you are an Accountant|
|Quality||High, for what it is.|
|The Best||Pretty ships, Pretty videos, Pretty planets|
|The Worst||Pretty much the gameplay.|
|How much I'd Pay for This||20 bucks|
Space Bucks is a 'conquer the galaxy' game involving economic
imperialism with some military might. Trade routes must be forged,
alliances made, and products shipped. Accounts must be paid, loans
amortized, and cash reserves carefully monitored.
It's the future, there's this galaxy, and only courageous
bookkeepers will conquer the universe.
If only there was some fun in this product, I would not have to be mean. But there isn't, so here we go:
Space Bucks has everything one would expect in a top of the
line multimedia game. Fine video, shiny rendered computer art,
eerie music, pretty interface, and lots of controls to fiddle
with. Everything about this game is glossy and sparkly. One thing
is missing: A GAME.
True, there is much to do in Space Bucks. One must keep track of a million details and click on a zillion iconic, flashing buttons. Lordy, but Space Bucks is pretty. It is also complex. The problem is that playing it feels like a minimum wage day job, not wonderful fun. The fact that one can only play against the CPU and not another player hurts, but the biggest flaw is in the fact that all the activities that the player is expected to perform are essentially accounting details. By pointing and clicking, the player carefully tape-measures stellar distances, sets up efficient trade routes, adjusts cargo loading times and maintenance schedules, and even bolts on new engines and weaponry. Then the player sits back and tweaks the settings, whilst expanding their company. That sums up the game.
Yes there are the requisite random
events, such as new discoveries such as improved ion drives, or
better cargo modules, and yes prices fluctuate, but the essential
action of gameplay revolves around besting the computer at money
management. The space battles, such as they are, are automated
affairs, and only the occasional video clip breaks the tedium.
Space Bucks is simply more like work than play.
All in all, Space Bucks feels like the gaming equivalent
of 'corporate art'. It is an expensively produced emotionally
empty piece of dullness. It is the triumph of flash over substance,
and is simply disappointing for that fact. All the shine in the
world cannot hide the absence of good game design.
The inexpensive shareware Warpath (available from our
pages) is ten times the game Space Sucks is, despite primitive
art and programming - because it is FUN. Play is the ultimate
goal in gaming, not an optional component.
Reviewed by Jennifer Diane Reitz, March 10, 1996