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New games: Take the long way home in Shortest Trip to Earth

Imagine the mandate that Jim Kirk had – running a capital starship, handling Federation diplomacy, and making sure his friends stayed alive and in the appropriate dimension. Shortest Trip to Earth takes the FTL template and expands it out to the Starfleet level, giving you a universe to explore while managing the minutiae involved in being captain of a mothership.

It does look quite a bit like FTL, with its top-down tactical screen and the text-based decision points. But Shortest Trip to Earth has just as much Star Control II in its DNA, giving you the opportunity to explore the galaxy as you see fit, making friends and enemies along the way.

Battles happen in real time, and you’ll have to manage your ship’s weapons while simultaneously dealing with boarding parties and drones. When you’re not fighting or putting out fires, you’ll be meeting new alien species or exploring long-forgotten worlds.

It’s a pretty exciting proposition, especially if you found the constant forward pressure of each FTL run a bit exhausting after a while, like I did. Shortest Trip to Earth offers a new procedurally-generated universe each time you start a game, but you aren’t getting immediately hustled through. Instead, pressure will build based on your own choices.

For a taste of what it has in store, have a look at the trailer:

Shortest Trip to Earth will be available on Steam Early Access later this year, but it already has more than four years’ worth of development time behind it. By the time it’s in early access, we’ll probably be seeing a pretty well-established game.

Check out our list of the best new PC games of 2018 for more games to look out for this year.