Disclaimer. I received a free copy of this game to review. The following views are my own and not those of SNK Games.
Space Rangers: Quest is a new text adventure game from SNK Games. The game takes place in the Space Ranger’s universe. It is unlike the other games in the series like Space Rangers: A War Apart which is an open world adventure space simulator. If you go into Space Rangers: Quest thinking it is anything like the games that came before it you will be in for a rough ride.
You play as a Space Ranger working for the Coalition. After the last great war your team was sent to inspect a planet that had been heavily contested during the conflict. You manage to discover a strange computerized device. Through some testing your team discovers that it is a major threat to the universe, and will only become more powerful if you blow it up. So what is a daring space ranger to do? Plug yourself into it. After allowing two of your comrades to become vegetables first of course.
Wait what? I can hear you asking that now. If the logic fails to leap neatly into your head I don’t blame you. It didn’t into mine either. Things are explained rather out of order in this game. What I have managed to gather is this though. The device somehow controls a simulation of your race and how they react to other races. When plugged into it the device scans your memories and transmits them to the enemy. However, somehow jacking yourself into this is the only way to study and disarm it.
When this all begins your character is already inside the simulation and you have amnesia. You aren’t aware of this at first. In a move I found frustrating the game gives you no heads up that your brain is scrambled. You wake up in your cockpit, drifting aimlessly through space, with your autopilot off. As you begin to drag your groggy mess of a self into the waking world you receive a message from the Space Rangers.
Greetings, ranger! Congratulations on joining our ranks. As they say, less then two centuries, and the space rangers are back in the game. Thanks to the taxpayers’ money, and the council, which knows how to squander it without making too much noise. But that’s a joke, if anyone asks.
Anyway, your first task is to test the training system designed for newly-recruited candidates looking to earn a shining badge and special authority. Study the instructions provided, comply with all the orders, and make a list of your own recommendations on how to mortif… uh, modernize the process of integrating volunteer pilots into the ranks of the rangers. In the near future, we will get in touch to review your progress with this important mission.
The Ushash System,
“Anonymous” Rangers’ Planetary Center
If you are dissastisfied with our way of presenting the information or our form of address, please make a list of suggestions on how to improve the Space Rangers Code. Submit your list in no fewer than twenty copies. Let me remind you, that according to our age-long glorious tradition, the original and all copies of these documents must be submitted in person and in manuscript form, handwritten by the author.
For those of us uninitiated into the Space Rangers world, and perhaps those who are, this entire letter feels like bad humor. Perhaps this is part of the charm, but at this point in the game it falls flat for me. Part of the reason is you do not yet know you are in a simulation. As such the behavior feels off. It feels as though you joined a corrupt agency, and could care less. That is until you understand that this is an alien AI. Then things begin to click. But at that point it is too little, too late for this particular scene.
It does recover a bit. The game moves on and you play through your first quest. But let’s be honest here. The game doesn’t get much better, and the first quest only serves to make your character look blind. The writing is often stiff or plain bad. There are instances where glaring grammar and word choice mistakes bleed through. While the game is graphically beautiful, and the quest system is solid the writing is too bad for me to recommend it to anyone.
If it weren’t a text based game I could forgive these things. I can’t here. The quality of the writing and number of errors detract from the experience too often. They pull you away from the wonderfully designed puzzles. They pull you out of immersion. They leave you feeling tired and frustrated.
A casual player who doesn’t pay much attention to the text may find this game enjoyable. If you think that describes you then check it out. Some of the quests in this game are true gems and worthy of being played. For the rest of us I advise a pass on this one.
If you have played this game or any other Space Rangers titles in the past let me know your opinion of the franchise in the comment section below. And let me know if you think I was too harsh in my judgment of this game. Your opinions matter.