Interstellar Trader 2 is one of those games falling into a category I call “dangerous fillers”. You know the type…you’re not exactly sure what you want to play. You sit for a while staring at your dozens (or hundreds) of game titles, trying to see if anything sparks an interest for a quick gaming session to unwind before bed. Hmmm…not enough time to dive into that deep RPG…don’t want to start another session of that online RTS just now…ah, this’ll do. Let’s just fire up a little game of Interstellar Trader 2, then go to bed in 20 minutes.
And suddenly it’s 2:30 in the morning, and tomorrow becomes a very long day at work.
At first glance, there really isn’t all that much to IT2. The premise is quite simple…you’re a space-faring merchant traveling between 10 different planets, trying to make lots of money. Travel to a planet, buy goods at as low a price as possible, fly to another planet and try to sell those good for a profit. Rinse and repeat. But then things start to get a little deeper. Each planet has its own economic climate, determining prices for goods. These climates follow trends, allowing alert merchants to have an idea of which planets carry inexpensive goods, and which planets will pay dearly for them.
The game play is divided into turns, with each turn consisting of a visit to a planet. Once on the planet, merchants have quite a few choices at their disposal. There is the obvious visit to the trading center to purchase or sell off goods. Players can also visit upgrade and repair facilities for their spaceships, allowing for more cargo and passenger capacity, better weapons, and bigger fuel tanks. Those wanting to take a turn at investments can try their hand at the stock market or galactic bank. Like the economic climates for the planets, there is an overall galactic economic climate, which determines how well a particular stock or investment fund will turn a profit.
Once leaving a planet, the most random aspects of IT2 take place. One of the biggest obstacles to becoming a galactic merchant prince is the threat of pirate attack. Combat with these pirates is a fairly simple affair, resolved by a few clicks. Winning a battle can net some quick cash from the defeated pirates, while losing a battle can result in losing an entire cargo-hold full of goods. At first, these pirates can be quite a threat, but after a while of upgrading weapons and hiring escorts, even the most fearsome pirate would do well to stay out of your way.
There are other happenings that take place off planet, most of which allow you to gain a bit of extra money. These include playing a few casino-type games, meeting benevolent merchants, or simply receiving money from the galactic council. These little side-trips add a bit of variety to the game, and can really help out when you find yourself a bit strapped for cash and low on fuel.
Graphics and sound are really not at all impressive, but then this is one of those value games that relies on game play over technical achievement. The game takes place on about a dozen different 2D screens. From the planetary system (10 planets neatly lined up in 2 rows) to combat screens, everything is laid out cleanly and simply. Sound effects are passable, but after a while I turned the volume down and put on some music, and found it much more pleasant.
So is this an enjoyable game for all? That’s hard to say. IT2 is a game for those who like the “just one more turn” style of play, and for those who enjoy merchant/trade games. It’s a good game for killing time, and can be quite dangerous for people with a less-than-perfect internal clock. But it’s not a game that’ll appeal to everyone, certainly not those wanting a little more action in their play. Bottom line, if you’re looking for a good little value-priced trader sim, by all means give IT2 a shot.
A fun little value-priced trade sim. Certainly not for everyone, but for fans of the genre itâ€™s worth the price of admission.