The Long Journey Home Review

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Exploration can be a fun aspect of games for fans to play. However, it must be done in a way that makes the player want to continue the journey. This goes back all the way to the days of pen and paper games that allowed players to use their imagination to build the world around them. Today, we look into The Long Journey Home.

Today, game developers have made it possible for RPG fans to immerse themselves in the worlds they’ve created. These vast worlds can draw in the player and cause them to get lost for hours. However, some games make this process too much of a chore and in the end, the exploration isn’t as fun as you might think.

Story

There’s not a whole lot to say for the story. Your crew sets off on a trial run of the first space ship able to travel at lightspeed. During their first jump, the ship is damaged and your crew is thrown into the farthest reaches of space. Now you must help guide them back while discovering new planets and interacting with various alien races.

Your crew will interact with one another and comment on how the mission is going as well as provide various bits of useful information. Aside from running into an alien who offers to “loan” you credits that are accepted by the various alien races, there’s not much else in regards to the story. Everything is procedurally generated, so I can see why they leave that aspect pretty vague.

Characters

Unlike most games, there are no main characters in the Long Journey Home. Instead, it is an ensemble cast of people from different backgrounds and various jobs.

Alessandra Iacovelli: Engineer – She uses artifacts found throughout the game as a means to repair the ship.

Ash Malhotra: Botanist – He can use alien plants found during exploration into healing tonics.

Benoit Verdier: Theoretical Physicist – He can take apart certain items found during exploration into usable resources.

Kirsten Barrasso: Astronaut – She can make repairs to the main ship using certain items.

Nikolay Lebedev: Researcher – He can take apart certain items and use them to create new modules for the main ship and the mini-lander ship.

Malcolm Winters: Test Pilot – He is able to more easily control the lander and uses certain items in order to make repairs to it.

Miriam Wagner: Mission Planner – She is able to bond with animals as well as explain which alien race will buy items for the highest price.

Simon Castillo: Corporate Executive – He can determine the cost and value of certain items.

Siobhan Hartigan: Archaeologist – She excels as ruin exploration and finding artifacts.

Zoe Creed: Civilian Observer – She excels at collecting information and scanning planets for resources.

You’re only able to bring four of the above characters on your journey. It’s important to choose wisely because failing to do so will put you in a tough position later on. In this aspect, it’s easy to see the RPG components the game boasts. Any good RPG player knows you are only as good as your party’s functionality. It’s also nice to see some diversity among them.

Gameplay

This is where things take quite a bit of a dive. If you’ve ever played the old PC game Oregon Trail then you will be familiar with the basic concept of the Long Journey Home. As you go about your travels various events will take place such as crew members getting injured, your ship being attacked by hostile alien forces, or running out of resources.

The game starts out with you picking your crew and customizing which ship and lander you’d like to use. Each character and ship has their own stats, pros, and cons. The thing is that there’s no way to know what you’re going to need to survive your journey. The game can’t even guide you because each time it’s going to be different since the game is procedurally generated.

After an initial intro tutorial, the game gets right to it and your crew is stranded in space. You have to use the lander to gather materials in order to make fuel to make another lightspeed jump. Once you do you begin navigating your way back to Earth. You must collect materials, artifacts, and trade with alien races in order to do so. You immediately find yourself in debt after meeting an alien who offers to loan you credits to get you started. Of course, he expects you to pay him back with interest.

Difficulties abound

The problem is, aside from some initial explanation in the beginning the game doesn’t do much to show you how to get by. Even the help it does provide is difficult to understand, so it’s easy to burn through resources and damage your ship. Orbiting planets so you can land is wonky, and piloting the lander without damaging it was nearly impossible, at least on the Nintendo Switch’s Pro controller. By the time I explored my third planet the lander had been destroyed and no explanation on how to obtain another one was given. I had to start all over because I had no idea how I was supposed to land without a new one.

Soundtrack

I absolutely loved the music! It did a wonderful job making you feel like you were lost in space. It features both melancholy yet hopeful instrumentals that set the tone nicely.

Graphics

The visuals for the game can be summed up as simple yet effective. Everything is shown through character portraits and various screens while aboard the ship. There isn’t much animation, but everything is nicely detailed. While piloting the main ship it’s similar to other space games such as EVE online, just not as detailed and it’s done in a 2D scrolling sort of way. Except, you are able to move around freely within the system.

The landing ship segments are a bit disappointing as there’s not much to look at. There aren’t very many details and, aside from varying shadows and colors, each planet looks like the last, at least in my playthrough.

Final Thoughts

The Long Journey Home is really onto something with its concept of being lost in space and its procedurally generated maps. However, I still feel as though it falls short of achieving anything noteworthy or memorable. The difficult controls take away from the fun of exploring, and the lack of explanation really leaves you feeling like you’re just wandering around aimlessly in space.

You can get lost in your own space exploration journey by purchasing the Long Journey Home on Steam and Nintendo Switch.

System Requirements

MINIMUM:

OS: Win 7, 8, 10, 64-bit
Processor: 3 GHz Dual Core CPU
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 650 Ti / AMD Radeon HD 7790
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 16 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX 11 compatible sound card with latest drivers

RECOMMENDED:

OS: Win 7, 8, 10, 64-bit
Processor: 3GHz Quad Core CPU
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 970 / AMD Radeon R9 380
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 16 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX 11 compatible sound card with latest drivers

Good

  • Beautiful Visuals
  • Wonderful Soundtrack

Bad

  • Wonky Controls
  • Confusing Gameplay
7

Good

Story - 6
Characters - 7
Gameplay - 6
Soundtrack - 8
Graphics - 8
A writer, video game enthusiast, Halloween nerd, and an author of stories.
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