Meeple Station is a game about constructing an area station and protecting its residents alive, a activity made all of the more difficult by these residents having every been cursed with simulated emotional states, which may turn out to be so fraught that they’ll hurl themselves out of an airlock quite than face one other second dwelling aboard your creation. So, extra precisely, Meeple Station is a game about convincing little pixel folks to not fatally catapult themselves into the void.
Anyone who’s performed Dwarf Fortress will know what’s happening right here. This is a colony simulator, besides quite than digging down into the filth, you’re establishing store among the many isometric stars. You assemble sleeping quarters for the crew, a eating space with sufficient seats for all of the area bums, life help and energy modules, photo voltaic panels and cabling to attach all of it up. You construct fancier bedrooms for the capricious rating officers, furnished with such unimaginable luxuries as plant pots and desks, to maintain them from flying right into a rage and demanding that random bits of the station be disassembled. It’s a system that might be achingly acquainted to anybody who’s ever needed to indulge the whims of dwarven lords.
Each meeple (merson?) has a character that determines how suited they’re for every of the station’s roles, and the way effectively they’ll get on with different meeples they work with. Meeples are unwitting slaves to the unchangeable motivations they’re seemingly born with, which is both a intelligent reference to the philosophy of Sigmund Freud, or only a affordable limitation of the AI on this present model.
So a meeple who’s shy or awkward round others is finest assigned to a peaceable lifetime of mining asteroids by themselves. Violent meeples shouldn’t be given weapons, lest they get bored and go on a rampage. A meeple with the ‘clumsy’ attribute will repeatedly journey over cables and so ought to be refrained from helpful elements of the station, just like the bits that produce oxygen for respiration. In area, similar to within the gaps behind TV cupboards, energy cables are unfastened and draped across the place like horrible black spaghetti.
The factor is, with no actual option to mitigate someone’s worst traits, it makes extra sense to right away do away with dangerous eggs and watch for a greater candidate to return alongside (which additionally occurred to be my Tinder bio for some time). Some of those meeples have a phobia of area itself and refuse to pop exterior the station on duties with out having a panic assault, which makes you suppose they should have misinterpret a job utility someplace within the course of. (It’s presently the one phobia that exists within the game too. You’d at the least count on a number of arachnophobes in search of asylum within the farthest reaches of deep area, the one place spiders haven’t but colonised.)
Other meeples simply bicker continuously at any time when they’re in the identical room, regularly chipping away at each other’s psyche till at some point, bam, there’s a grinning, frozen corpse zooming out of the airlock. Even once they’re asleep, some meeples can’t assist however be annoying. There’s a ‘loud snoring’ trait that appears to be about as welcome on an area station as a crack in a window. This game is much less about exploring the cosmos and reaping its materials bounty, and extra about cranky astronauts being made to dwell in very shut proximity to 1 one other.
Meeple Station continues to be very rudimentary in Early Access, and whereas a set of options are presently in place, they don’t but give rise to any unusual or fascinating occasions. If extra complicated colony simulators like Rimworld are made from methods constructed upon methods, that work together and interlock in sudden methods, then Meeple Station continues to be a fundamental jigsaw puzzle with predictable outcomes. Hungry meeples eat, unhappy meeples complain, janitor meeples clear up area muck, commerce ships present up each few seconds with the supplies you should construct the elements of the station you need. If you run low on meals you construct a number of extra fish tanks, in case you want extra vitality you pop a number of extra photo voltaic panels down. If a dirtbag meeple is irritating his colleagues, there’s little use in appeasing him, simply give him his area P45 and ship him on his approach.
Where Dwarf Fortress makes use of a relentless inflow of recent migrants to forestall your rising colony ever reaching some extent of equilibrium, there’s no such forwards stress in Meeple Station. New meeples arrive because the fame of your station will increase, however by no means in droves, and solely if you’ve obtained the beds to maintain them in. The broader problem is available in gathering the assets required to progress alongside a tech tree and construct a large engine room that, as soon as strapped to the aspect of your station, can ship you scooting throughout the galaxy map in the hunt for much more assets. You additionally have to defend your rising station from pirates and meteorite impacts, utilizing guard meeples and deflector shields, however these hazards are simply prevented by steering your station-ship away from the extra perilous (and helpfully signposted) elements of the galaxy. At the second there’s no purpose to move into hazard aside from to look at your fastidiously constructed group be obliterated via your personal incompetence.
An entire host of fascinating options are promised, chief amongst them a co-operative multiplayer mode that can enable two gamers to command the identical station. Developer Vox Games reckons this Early Access launch represents solely 20 % of what Meeple Station has to supply, with the roadmap together with away missions, a full marketing campaign and usually hundreds extra stuff. In its present, rattling, barebones state? Meeple Station is stuffless. It desires for stuff. It is a stuff-shaped gap the place stuff ought to be. It is the very vacancy into which its personal unhappy meeples eject themselves.