Spinward is a popular video game -- and accompanying material -- released ten years ago in the Traverse by the Eloran Games Factory, and three years ago as a remastered version in Communal Space. It puts the player in the role of a spacefarer in a secluded region of space known as the Candleworlds, a cluster of brown dwarves suspended high above the galactic plane. In the world of Spinward, the geometry drive does not exist, and spaceship utilise instead a variant of the Alcubierre drive to bridge the gap between stars, while the compactness of local star systems makes space opera possible with simple fusion drives. Spaceships are small, often airliner or boat-sized, and their cockpits are reminiscent of 1980s space technology, merged with retrofuturistic elements harking back to the early interplanetary era and even the Low Age. The players enjoy a great freedom of movement, with various updates having added on-foot gameplay, EVA and a variety of underwater and atmospheric vehicles to travel the Candleworlds. Spinward encourages the players to design their own narrative within the setting's complex weave of characters, factions and environments.
Extracts from the game press:
"With rock-solid planetary and orbital mechanics meeting fantasy starships, Spinward is a great attempt at resurrecting the space sim genre in an age where interstellar travel has become commonplace. The way it manages to create a real sense of wonder with its sprawling but small-scale universe is nothing short of brilliant."
-- Eloran Game Reviewer.
"Spinward ships are a real joy to fly, whether you want to experience the thrill of full Newtonian flight or the direct simplicity of fully assisted flight. With their cockpits full of switches and knobs, they feel incredibly alive -- though the game relies a bit too much on trial and error during its first hours, its generous package is worth revisiting for those who missed the initial Eloran release."
"Spinward's world is complex but immediately understandable -- from mystical empires to ancient ruins under the red suns, from retro spaceships to interstellar communes, it manages to feel both familiar and alien at once, crafting quite the playground for space travellers. By hinting at a much larger world without quite elaborating on it, Spinward manages to be more evocative than a lot of productions with much bigger budgets."
--Phi Clio's Inquirer.
(Illustration: Elite Dangerous, screenshot by author).
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