Calling Astronaut: The Best a narrative management game doesn’t feel quite right. Just the word “management” conjures up images of something rather dry and heavy; something filled with boring charts, metrics and sheets of information to pour over. But Astronaut: The Best has none of that. What it does have is an incredibly incompetent staff of space explorers, an overbearing team of High Priests and more than a smattering of witchcraft.
Instantly, then, you know that Astronaut: The Best isn’t your typical management game. Sure, you are a manager, of sorts. And throughout the game you’ll be spending time trying to train your astronauts to be something better than they are and… well, if you’re anything like us, you’re going to fail a lot while doing it. With five in total, each chapter of Astronaut: The Best gives you a goal to work towards, with 10 days to train your crew in specific areas. Days also present you with various quandaries to decide upon, with your choices shaping how the High Priests feel about you. Having good favour with all five at once feels like an impossible task, so you’ll likely want to choose who’s more beneficial to have on your side.
It’s not just as simple as training your quirky space cadets in whichever areas are most beneficial, though. They also have various hidden personality quirks which will play a part in how things go. One of our crew had a hidden trait which made them so scared of being on TV that they simply died on the spot. We found this out by… putting them on TV. Boom: dead. And so we found ourselves one crew member down. Our best trained crew member, we should add. You just never know how things are going to turn out in Astronaut: The Best.
Training regularly can put a strain on your ‘nauts, and so you’ll need to watch their stress levels. You don’t want them to have a breakdown, after all. And so you’ll want to schedule in some rest time – or at the very least, cast a spell that’ll reduce their stress. There are spells for all kinds of things: for giving you more favour with the High Priests, and for manipulating your crew’s traits. Be careful, though. They don’t always work out how you’d hope.
Always entertaining and ridiculous, perhaps the best thing about Astronaut: The Best is that it’s going to be different every time you play. Events are randomly generated, and the choices you make can lead to thousands of different outcomes. You’ll never meet the same two astronauts, either, with each one having a unique combination of traits and skills. If you gel with its bizarre, comedic world – and if you’ve got a sense of humour, you will – you’re going to want to play through multiple times, and we’ve no doubt that each time will be just as much fun as the time before.
Astronaut: The Best is available now on PC.