Beware of the space dysentery!
Hyperspace Delivery Service is Oregon Trail in space. If that sentence made sense to you then you ought to have a pretty good feel for it. If that sounds interesting or if you have no idea what that means, read on to see how Hyperspace Delivery Service revisits a classic genre of the past and mixes it with some more modern elements.
Hyperspace Delivery Service puts you in command of a ship and a crew en route to the farthest reaches of known space. At the outset you’ll name your ship and every member of the crew, along with choosing their avatars. Each member of your crew has a specific job aboard your ship and will be called upon to complete various tasks as they arise on your journey. They each have both health and stamina bars that you’ll want to keep full. Losing stamina makes them less likely to successfully complete a task. Losing all of their health will result in their death and absence from your crew, making you that much less efficient.
Once your crew is assembled you’ll start your journey, planet by planet. At each planet you’ll have the opportunity to converse with other life forms, buy supplies, and take on additional jobs. In order to make it from one planet to another you’ll need three essential resources: fuel, oxygen, and food. The longer the trip the more of each of these you’ll need. You’ll also want to stock up on medical supplies for your crew in case of any accidents and ammo both for your ship and for your crew’s individual weapons. All of these things can be purchased at shops, harvested from planetary systems, or earned by completing jobs. Jobs generally take the form of transporting individuals or goods from one planet to another, and may come with their own risks. For example the person you’re transporting may turn out to be a wanted pirate who could attempt to take over your ship, or they might just eat all your food. Other jobs may require you to put down a robot uprising on the surface of a planet, via a Doom-like first person mode.
The two aforementioned examples demonstrate the two forms of challenge that Hyperspace Delivery Service presents to the player. The former is entirely random. A variable is introduced that you have no control over and it will either hurt or benefit you (usually hurt). The latter is active. In these instances the player takes direct control over the ship or a character to engage with the challenge. Your enjoyment of Hyperspace Delivery Service will rely entirely on your patience for this dichotomy and its weight towards random variables. Much like the games from which it draws inspiration, planning and skill will only get you so far. At some point it is simply luck of the draw.
This is, for me, where I found my love hate relationship with the experience. When I was handed direct control of my ship to explore an asteroid field to seek out a stranded vessel only to be attacked by pirates who I ultimately had to fight off in full 3D space combat, I had a great time. When my Security officer died due to a series of horrible dice rolls that seemed to specifically have it out for him, I found myself simply frustrated. At the same time, for many those random notices that a member of your crew injured himself will prove nostalgic for simpler times of gaming. This won't be for everyone, but if you’ve missed this era of video games, Hyperspace Delivery Service is a fairly fresh take on the genre.