Overall Score 88%
You're a plucky young commander eager for a challenge. You have a glamorous assistant, a mean and unpleasant boss, and the beautiful, rich and rather dense Princess Bethyni is hanging around you a lot. Hmmmm... A message comes in, and your boss packs you off on another assignment. Time to build another space station!
In each scenario, you take command of a space station. It's a tad spartan at first - your task is to build modules onto the station in order to make money and to please your visitors (a range of strange alien species). To complete each scenario, you'll need to complete additional objectives, such as to build specific modules or generate enough cash/power.
Building modules on your space station is not entirely straight-forward. Modules require power and money before you can build them. These modules include lemonade stands (for trade), solar wind turbines (for power), scientific buildings (for research) and many more. As you build some combinations of modules, others become available. Some modules are objectives for that scenario (such as Wally's House, for Bethyni's pet scrimshaw). Modules can be adjusted or sold, which may be necessary as you only have a limited number of slots!
Outpost Kaloki combines a cartoon style with full 3D graphics to produce a very good-looking game. You can even follow a ship around by clicking on its icon at the bottom of the screen for a close-up. While the character graphics are not quite up to the strength of the 3D images for your station and the visiting craft, they have plenty of charm. The modules look fun over functional (particularly the Radio!)
What about sound? All the characters talk - in a variety of alien languages! It's just gibberish to us so we get subtitles. There is a suitable range of sound effects for everything from menu clicks to spaceship engines to meteor impacts. My main concern in this area is the game music - I'm only aware of one track endlessly repeating. While it is a good tune and survives repeated listening fairly well, it is a little tedious! Different tracks for different scenarios would be better, changing to fit the mood of the challenge.
Outpost Kaloki is very playable - you can click on ships to select them, drag an empty spot of the screen to rotate the station, and when you hover over a module slot it is highlighted so you know which one you'll be building on. A series of bars on the right of the screen tells you which types of module are in demand (and hence will earn you money). Note that lots of modules will cost you a lot of money in station upkeep! You can sometimes get stuck with no money and no way to build anything to generate more, at which point a scenario restart is usually the only way.
What about the bad news...? It's very hard to find anything. The basic premise behind the game is simplistic - you only build and adjust modules, not construct warships or anything like that - but this can be quite a challenge. Sometimes it can be hard to see where your money is going and why your station is failing. That repeating music track is probably the biggest fault with the game!
Outpost Kaloki is a great game with a simple but fairly unusual premise; one that surprises you with how difficult it can be. A word of warning regarding the demo - that hour of play you get disappears VERY quickly!
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