The Long Journey Home is a game with one clear purpose, to return to Earth. Whilst it may seem like an easy goal, you’ll encounter many obstacles in the form of friends, enemies and limitations.
To begin with, you can choose your crew from a select list of characters. Each character has their pros and cons and their role amongst the crew. These roles and characteristics will influence the decisions they can make later in the game.
Once you’ve selected your crew you then choose your ship and lander. The ship is what you will use to travel most of space and as you would expect, some are more durable and some are more efficient.
Depending on how you want to play the game or how experienced you are, you might choose a different ship but as a newbie, I picked something with an even spread, The ISS Ulysses.
When you go through the introduction you’ll learn how to fly your ship and land your lander. As easy as this might sound, the controls are not easy to master. To fly your ship to a planet, you need to aim for the planet and enter its orbit. Once you’re in orbit your ship’s computer will tell you whether or not it is safe to land. If it is safe to land you can deploy your lander and go on a scavenger mission.
In my opinion, controlling the lander is the worst part of The Long Journey Home. You only have the thrusters and the ability to tilt left and right and I’m gonna be honest, I spent a lot of time upside down.
Whilst it may just seem like a small frustration trying to turn yourself upright, it can actually cause problems for your crew: crash hard enough and they can break bones, or fly around like a maniac and they will get anxiety. Whilst these are all curable it’s best to stay away as five conditions equal death.
The aim of a lander mission is to collect resources and even though your mini-map will tell you exactly where you need to go, actually getting there is a whole different problem.
Even once you have reached your goal, you might find that it’s some sort of volcanic mountain over which you must hover whilst you drill for materials and resources which makes the whole process a lot harder. How can you drill when you’re hovering over a material source but not when you’ve actually landed directly on it?
Another aspect in The Long Journey Home which you will eventually encounter is other species. Whilst some species will want to be your friend, you will also encounter others that just want to fight. When you encounter these enemies they will always seem to have the advantage.
Your ship is only capable of firing from the sides and even still, it takes time to charge up all your guns. Once you understand the mechanics of fighting, it becomes easier and eventually, you will find it easier to rein champion across all species.
All in all, I feel The Long Journey Home could be a great game if the navigation mechanics were improved. Whilst the story is quite simple, it is fun moving between planets to collect resources whilst maintaining your ship and crew, and the occasional battle with an enemy or weird alien getting in three sentences before he needs to take a nap adds some welcomed variety and surprise to each galaxy.
If you are willing to take the time to perfect the navigation then you’ll definitely enjoy The Long Journey Home but if like me the controls play a huge part on how quickly you take to a game, you’ll need to push through to find real enjoyment in your long journey.