Artemis – a taste of infinity and beyond

artemisSPACE. The Final Frontier.

Most games that revolve around space rarely, if ever, focus on the vast expanse of nothing itself. You do get a few that let you roam around, like the Mass Effect series, but many space games are often lost in the busy noise of war.  Artemis is both a well-deserved break and an excellent tool for those wishing to follow in Captain James T. Kirk’s exploits.

Before anything else, Artemis is a multiplayer-only game. For a basic game, you need three PCs. That said, the graphics aren’t intensive at all. You can play with up to 5 other players, each with a vital role: Engineering, Comms, Weapons, Helm and Science. While the game allows you to play with only the Captain, Helm and Weapons, you pretty much need every station manned for a successful mission.

What sets Artemis apart from the few other games like it; is not in what it does, but in what it doesn’t do. There are no real communication keys in-game, or any chat systems. If you want to tell Engineering to send all non-vital power to the weapons, you don’t have to go through any keystrokes. Just tell them. The game itself is very basic, allowing for players to truly make the game theirs. It does allow for online play but this reviewer hasn’t tested it out, mostly because if you can’t bark out technobabble across a room while playing this game, then you’re doing it wrong. To this end, many Star Trek fans have taken to this game like space ducks to water, with many groups creating their own starship groups and logging their exploits online.

As for what the game has, it plays pretty much like a roguelike, with the aim being to get from point A to point B and take on any side missions like destroy any enemy ships, protect docking stations, and pretty much explore space. The graphics are basic stuff, but it would be a crime not to mention the backdrop of the game, with the static clouds of nebula framing your ship like a space curtain. It doesn’t boast any RAM-intensive cutscenes or anything but, again, the game’s charm is in what it doesn’t have.

With its lack of what most gamers would consider essentials, Artemis may sound like a boring, run-of-the-mill simulation reserved only for those who dedicated enough to converse in Klingon. But as with most roguelike adventure games, the enjoyment is in the storytelling potential. Artemis is completely devoid of any story elements, which allows crews to slip their own backstory in and make it theirs. Combine this with the multiplayer-only aspect of the game and you have yourself an excellent party game for those with a taste for infinity and beyond, and for the Trekkies among us, the perfect Star Trek game.

Currently available on Steam for £4.99, with a 6-pack available for £26.99.