Dingo's Reviews - Brimstone Manor (Up Next: AI - Aftermath)

Apex Patrol
By Allen Gies

The results are decisive. The source can be found in a white dwarf system farther out on the frontier at C7-6E. A survey ship swept through there eight decades ago and found nothing but a solitary star and irregular planetoids in elliptical orbits around it. Nothing important otherwise, and yet now there clearly must be.

Indeed, if the math is right; that something must be the star itself. Something has happened to it. Something that has made its mass appear to abruptly vanish.

Soft sci-fi like Star Trek is often filled with humanoid aliens, nose ridges and slightly off words like ‘phasers’ and ‘masers’. These sit alongside other explanations for why space-faring craft don’t need supply chains to support hundreds of crew, or how to achieve light speed travel.

And honestly, I still eat it up.

General Story:

You are a captain who has boldly chosen to go where other captains haven’t gone before, at least in this universe. Can you figure out how all of these anomalies are tied together, keep your crew alive, and face a relic of your past to save the Earth?

This is an episode arc (maybe one of the movies) of Star Trek and it is fairly unabashed in presentation. And it works. The words are made up, but they slot in well enough that any soft sci-fi trekkie will have no issue following it. Worlds are in danger, and you have to decide if you are following the prime directive or abandoning it to help. Do you risk your redshirts for more information that might help save millions, or do you keep them safe to try and make it through the ordeal?

Just a heads up, you never actually name yourself. Closest you get is choosing the name of your ship.

Format and Typos:

Decent readability, no typos. Lots of short paragraphs and dense words hurt it a little bit.

Game Mechanics and Stats:

So, I really like how stat picking works here. You select what your ship and crew is good at, so this will inform the remainder of your choices and strategies. The weird thing that made me a little more favorable is that at the end of the first chapter, there is a random bonus to your ship. Some people may not like the loss of choice, but I enjoyed focusing on shields and engines only to get a bonus to my captain’s personal ‘Guts’ and ‘Masers’ skill. Most checks are based on your stats (are they higher than 2, equal to 1, or less?), and sometimes distance can affect strategy in ship-to-ship combat.

Replayability:

For a (relatively) bite-size title in length, there is going to be decent replayability. You can focus on a different ship setup, and different choices within each of the arcs. Deaths can occur early based on your choices, and there are no romance options. The title plays quick enough, and enough dialogue changes that you’ll get a fairly different feeling each time you play through. I can see most people getting about three full plays, barring any early deaths.

Dislikes:

  • Lots of analogue words and no glossary. Trekkies and scifi fans will be able to parse it, but it might have been nice for others.
  • Readability takes a bit of a hit on certain pages, with walls of dense text.
  • The epilogue was presented in a very dry way. I would have liked a little bit more story, and less stats.

Likes:

  • I really enjoyed that the length of time and order of missions can affect their outcomes.
  • This is almost a pure fanservice to Star Trek, and the somewhat blank Captain is perfect for idealized self-inserts.
  • The action that occurs in the space combat and boarding sequences is well done and engaging.

Game Rankings and Completed Reviews

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