Game Review by Jeff Parsons
Game Rating = 4/5 Balls
Smugglers 4 makes a great first impression by claiming to allow you to choose your profession, outfit your spaceship and venture forth on dangerous missions throughout the vast galaxy. I was intrigued and gave it a try. I didn’t regret it.
The storyline is absolutely wonderful. There are just enough interesting words to keep it fast paced, but it’s also packed with creative details.
The gameplay initially reminded me of the classic Tai Pan trading game. I loved that game. Likewise, Smuggler’s trading process is fun, simple and realistic. It gets you thinking ahead and taking chances. Some of the trade items are illegal, so, if you’re careless, you might get into trouble.
You can also earn a living as a combat trader, mercenary, bounty hunter, smuggler or pirate. There are 60 different abilities that make each profession truly unique and powerful. You can become a master of one profession, or, you can blend your skills as a jack-of-all-trades.
The whole galaxy of 24 star systems waits you. Each system has unique planets, adventures and storylines. Artifact sites, ghost ships and pirate lairs also abound. The game has a nice aura of mystery, surprise and luck.
Getting places is quick.
You can go anywhere you’d like, but be warned, you’ll often have violent encounters. You’re not the only desperado out there, so it’s absolutely imperative to get the best ship possible. You start out with a one-man fighter, but there are also corvettes, freighters, destroyers, cruisers and battleships. I liked upgrading my ship’s energy beams and guidance systems. There are also missile, cargo, engine and electronic counter measure systems. The variety of systems requires some interesting decisions. For example, a powerful laser system causes more damage, but it often overheats. Over time, each ship becomes unique from your modifications. As usual, everything costs money. You get money and promotions from trading, fighting, exploring and completing missions.
Smugglers 4 has the same gameplay concepts as many star trading, travel and combat games since the 1980s, but it packages them together seamlessly into fun and enjoyable experience.
The gameplay experience was enhanced with the exciting space opera soundtrack and accompanying sound effects.
The graphics are beautifully sharp, detailed and interesting, but some advanced gamers might not like the indie-game look. For example, the head-to-head screen for spacecraft battle is well done, but it’s unrealistic. Personally, I’d like to see an entire battle area on the screen. Regardless, it’s still a lot of fun to play.
The $29.95 pricetag was higher that my expectation for an indie game, but I think I’ll buy it anyway.
Smugglers 4’s great storyline, engaging plot, wonderful graphics, ease of use, nonlinear gameplay and overall fun factor have convinced me to give it a 4 out of 5 score.
Niels Bauer Games created Smugglers 4.