Published on April 22nd, 2014 | by JC Richardson2
Starship Traveller Review
Back in the dark ages, by which I mean The Eighties, role playing gamers had a bit of a rough ride. RPG video games were all clunky, flickering text and packed with obtuse puzzles and insta-kills. The only alternative was table top games, which needed at least one friend. Damn.
Luckily two renegade British RPG lovers, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, were busy creating the Fighting Fantasy gamebook – a book in which YOU are the hero, making decisions and rolling dice to progress through the story. It was a brilliant marriage of fantasy prose and role-playing, and its mass appeal led to a whole series of titles.
Starship Traveller was one such title, standing out at the time due to its shiny futuristic setting, previous entries having been set in a Tolkien-esque universe. This gamebook put you in charge of a spaceship lost in a strange universe, making tricky diplomatic choices and fighting dice-based battles to get you and your crew home again.
Tin Man Games have used their well-established engine to really bring Traveller to life here, and I felt a genuine buzz of nostalgic enjoyment playing again after all these years. Traveller definitely lives up to the standard set by Tin Man’s other releases, which is undeniably high. Its modern presentation is full of neat touches, from the minimalist soundtrack to the vibrant new artwork, and it’s clear that each of these books has been a labour of love to reproduce.
As with the original, replay value is huge here, as many of the decisions you make will lead you and your crew to an icy doom, and the dice-rolling battle system is as brutal as the paper version. Adding an achievement system to the gamebooks has been a pleasing enhancement – some of the achievements are hilarious, by the way, like the ‘Dammit Jim’ award for Kirkian levels of recklessness…
Considering its age, Starship Traveller still feels incredibly fresh and newcomers are going to love Jackson and Livingstone’s universe, with its richly-cultured aliens and startling discoveries. Combined with Tin Man’s highly polished re-packaging, this makes for a top-class fantasy adventure you will keep coming back to.
Summary: Once again, Tin Man Games have faithfully re-created the whole gamebook experience, and Starship Traveller's high sci-fi will leave you engrossed for hours.