Oh the sweet, sweet joy of slogging through a turgid week to find something as absolutely bloody marvellous as SPACE COURT. A game that completely deserves its capital letters. Shout it out! Because it’s hilarious and I want to marry it.
It is, I suppose, a visual novel, if that’s still a thing we’re idiotically calling games. (Visual novel? That’s… a book with pictures? A television programme? A comic? Honestly.) Your role is to make conversational choices that steer the story of the game, and absolutely nothing else could have added any more. It’s the best.
You are the newly appointed Space Judge. Whether you chose to be, or were drafted, is up to you. Your job is to arbitrate between the various alien races that fall under your purview, over the course of quite an eventful week. How you respond to each of the five alien ambassadors will determine your relationship with them, and other matters too, like perhaps inciting an intergalactic war. I may have accidentally done that on my first play through.
What’s most important here is just how damned funny it is. I laughed out loud on so very many occasions, and gosh that’s a rare thing for me. It was mostly the utterly perfect timing of surprise replies, and timing’s not an easy thing to get right in a text-only game. But blimey it nails it over and over again.
One minor issue that got me all the time was the way text appears. I think it’s fair to say the norm for text that appears bit by bit is the first click makes it all appear at once for those who read fast, the second makes it move on. Here the first click makes it move on no matter how much has appeared, so as I habitually click to read it I end up missing great chunks of information. That’s a pain. It’d be good if it didn’t do that.
But I forgive it, because it made me laugh so much. The Porc race, massive green creatures of simple minds, speak in a wonderful pidgin English, while merrily celebrating their enthusiastic eating of another of the races. The Porc Chief is just so cheerful, you can’t not like him! “ENJOY BLUE FOOD TUMMY MASSAGE!” Meanwhile, the hate-filled mechanical Roborts and their complete disdain for organics make them equally brilliant fun to talk to. They’re up to something! I’m about to play it all over again now, to see how differently events could have played out…
Ooooooo-K, so I might have ended up ending a few civilisations that time.
You know, it’s not as different the second time as I’d hoped, as differently as it may have ended. While there were different conversations to read from making different choices, the main trajectory remains pretty much identical, which is a bit of a shame. But Friday was very different thanks to the ridiculous rulings I’d made, and plenty new laughs occurred. So that keeps me happy.
The oddest thing is I can find nothing about the developer/s here. Whomever Uphill Promise is or are, they only credit themselves as the company name, and seem to have no website nor Twitter presence at all. MYSTERIOUS!
This is just tremendous. It’s extremely silly, but so well executed. I love the relationships between the aliens, and the superbly lackadaisical supervisor makes me laugh every time he appears. This is a piece of jubilant daftness, and that’s why I adore it. It’s short, perhaps an hour to go through the first time, but at its super-low price it’s still a bargain. SPACE COURT!
- Uphill Promise