Star Billions partly manages on its own

This past week I’ve been playing the first chapter of Star Billions on mobile. I came across this game as one of the highest rated ever on Gamezebo. Of course, this made me curious.

Ever heard of Star Billions? It’s an indie adventure video game by Catch & Release, which is a an independent developer. The game isn’t new, as the first chapter was released in December 2015. The game is about a hopelessly lost spaceship that is piloted by four unique artificial intelligences looking like animals.

There’s EIN, looking like an owl, the first AI made. He is all about logic, let’s say the Mister Spock of this spaceship. ROSIE is a cat, she’s the ships technician, just like Scotty. SARGE the dog is all about fighting your way out, all bluster but with a small heart. Worf, anyone? The sweetest one is LACIE, this sheep is our language and communication interface. Uhura in a different form!IMG_4930

I had a bit of a hard time getting the game going at first. It seemed nothing reacted when I first got the opening screen, but I was wrong. I clicked on Stargazer, but only got ‘connection failed’. But as I clicked on Stargaer once more the clock reached 12 am on January 1 2020, and the game started.

The story unfolds, and as a player you take on the role of consultant. You make the decision about which AI solves the next problem that pops up in the quest to find a home for 4 million people who are in a cryogenic state after Earth ceased to exist. Every character presents you with their unique solution, totally fitting with their job. For instance, EIN wants to solve everything with logic, while SARGE wants to blast everything. It’s up to you to direct them to the decision of how to go on.IMG_4931

Star Billions takes place in real-time as you wait to see how your decision will affect the story. In that aspect the game is pretty unique: after you’ve made your choice you have to wait to see what the outcome is. And you don’t get to see what the live action is. Sometimes it’s a 12 minute wait, at times it takes the crew almost two hours to do their thing. After which they contact you again to give you an update and ask for new decisions. Meanwhile, you can play Game Boy style mini-games to shorten the waiting time if you want to, but it’s not necessary.IMG_3787

This is a novel way to approach gaming, but somehow it works. The AI are so relatable, the things they say can be hilarious. You get to meet all kind of crazy characters on your journey, and the suspense is building. How will your brave artificial intelligences fare?

The first chapter is free, and is quite long. It gives you a chance to get a good feel for the game. It entices you to buy chapter 2 and 3 by including a serious cliff hanger. The developers resisted charging you to shorten the waiting times, and ask a very fair price of $2,99 for chapter 2 and for chapter 3 too if you liked the game enough to keep on going. See if you like it too, give the first chapter a try!IMG_4929


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