Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Turtle; its ten year mission, to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilisations... and plunder their riches in twenty minutes or less.
Strange Adventures In Infinite Space is still fondly regarded by many PC gamers as a masterpiece of random timewasting, and the iPad app proudly continues the tradition.
Digital Eel's classic adventure casts you as a space adventurer who's loaned a ship for ten years and cast off into the stars in search of discoveries, technology and artefacts to bring back to your master. The galaxy is randomly generated each time you play (featuring different races, enemies, black holes and nebulae), and just as importantly, each planet treats you to a randomly-generated stuff to do.
Maybe you'll find a new warp drive that makes your ship much faster, allowing you to explore more of the universe before the ten years are up? Bizarre animals to be sold for profit? Alien armadas who plan to obliterate you from the universe? Countless hilarious homages to classic Sci-Fi franchises? Regardless, once the ten year deadline expires (time only advances when you move between systems, giving you plenty of time to plan), you'll need to return to base to avoid massive financial penalties.
Just when you think you've seen it all, a terrifying star killer shows up and plots a course for your homeworld. An ancient assassin emerges from an innocuous bauble and grants you a wish. An omniscient trader race turns your starship into a monolithic powerhouse. Or maybe you'll fall into a black hole and embarrass yourself.
There's so much to see and so much to do that your iPad will likely erode from the sheer amount of play you'll put it through. Each game only lasts about 10-20 minutes, depending on whether you make it home or die in the attempt, and it's always a joy to head right back out into the wild black yonder.
Strange Adventures In Infinte Space is as great as it ever was, then, but it's clear that Turnabout Studios have done the bare minimum to bring it up to date. It's just the original source code crunched onto a tablet, with little thought for making larger accessible icons, bigger text for easy reading and any sort of visual update. Plus, a fast forward button would have been really useful.
SAIS deserved a full revamp rather than a quick and easy port, and many players will be put off by its primitive presentation. The more learned amongst you, however, will discover an entire universe of fantastic content.
- An entire galaxy to explore each time you play
- Deep yet quick and accessible
- Near-infinite replayability
- Crude and primitive port
- Visually unappealing
Summary: Strange Adventures In Infinite Space is a rough diamond, a functional port of a truly exceptional game. If you're looking for massive value and replayability, you should engage and make it so.
Developer: Turnabout Studios/Digital Eel
Compatibility: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
Price: £1.99 - App Store