Turn-based exploration/exploitation of an asteroid field around a binary star. Supports up to 40 players over TCP/IP who wish to spend 1 hour per turn in order to move a scout ship.

I am so pathetic… I desperately keep wishing that games will cease to suck, even one game. In desperation, I went to Electronics Boutique on one of my patented lunch eons and saw this sucker sitting at the front of the store. Turn-based. Looks complex. Guys at the store have no idea how it is. I’ll take it! Up the ass, that is, as I found out after installation. I suppose the word BETA by the version number on the splash screen should have tipped me off.

This game is really sad in many ways. It shows all the signs of being the work of a coding team who have been locked in a sealed room for months designing this game, having lost all connection to reality, figuring that since their insane selves are able to work with the interface, that anyone else can. Wrong… remember how to move a scout ship to a star system in MOO2? Click on fleet, select scout, click on destination, see the ETA in turns, confirm. Malkari version: click on several different views to find your home system, none of which are labeled clearly. Find the little splotch of grey that looks more like a scout ship than the other blotches of grey. Try to click on it. Run through 3 popup menus in an attempt to find the "scan" function. Now try to click out to the universe home are view map without losing the scan function. Check out the neighboring unoccupied asteroids, which are in true 3D so you have no idea how far away they are relative to your scout ship-shaped blob. Attempt to select one. Congratulations… now, if you don’t mess up and do something totally incongruous which cancels your scan order, the scout ship will eventually move to the asteroid and send you a message about it which is in a tiny chat window with 500 other messages so you’ll be sure to miss it.

After you lose track of where your scout ship-blob went because it’s hidden in this humongous field of other blobs which might get in the way, you may wish to build another scout-shaped blob. After staring at the screen until you find the ship design menu (it looks like all of the other buttons, except it seems to have a piece of 80mm film stenciled into it for some reason), you get to view of your designs, none of which have names that indicate what they do, a vast number of confusing accessories which also lack any sort of descriptive information, and similar abstract shaped that insure you will forget which ships are which by the next turn, requiring you to go through this process again.

If all of this seems complex, that’s ok. There’s a tutorial in the game, rife with misspellings, where the favorite bit of advice is "Refer to our 150-page badly edited manual.)

As for the planetary maps and their graphical sophistication, which I was sure would make up for the grey blob view of the star system…

Mu Rating: 3/10. It really does look like there’s a game in there somewhere, which nobody will ever see. Currently my copy of Malkari is at Shadwolf’s house, since I know he sometimes likes complex games no one else cares about. I think it’s currently in the living room, absorbing a Dr. Pepper spill I made there last week.

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