Destination Ares is a short but unforgiving resource management simulator. The player acts as the AI for a spaceship tasked with maintaining the happiness and healthiness of its inhabitants. As the crew attempt to escape a futuristic Earth, in favour of Ares, their chosen colonisation world.
Destination Ares’ gameplay is rather simplistic. The main form of resource management is very binary, whether this machine should be on or off. Learning to manage these effectively is a much more difficult task. Keeping a system on for too long will damage it, making its output decrease or reduce its durability. However, the risks of turning specific systems off for too long come with their own issues. Not only this, but the AI must also maintain the correct course and speed so as not to become stranded in the depths of space. Each of the resources have their uses and it’s important to keep enough for unexpected circumstances that require them.
Each of the systems and crew of the ship also have to be carefully looked after. The systems all have a specific function and quality, with the quality tending to decline as the game progresses. As such, it is key to ensure these systems are kept in working order. The crew themselves also have unique qualities and moods. Some are trained as engineers, pilots or psychologists, each of these roles has a bonus when performing their relevant jobs. For example an engineer is more likely to fix a broken system, than any other. The moods of the crew also change over time, and affect how well they perform any actions.To make matters harder, the game is filled with a number of events that regularly pop. Whilst some of these events may be beneficial, for example finding a number of parts for repairs. Some are more negative, such as a sudden virus running rampant aboard the ship. All of these events come with a number of options that the AI can choose from. Each of these options have their own unique consequence, and difficulty. More beneficial options tend to have higher difficulty levels (easy, medium and hard). The success of these options is dependent on a simple mini-game resembling Minesweeper. This mini-game is perhaps the most tedious part of the game and is in no way enjoyable.One of the most fun things about Destination Ares is the fact that you can fully customise your own ship. The layout, the name, the crew, all of this can be changed before a game. This is a feature I’m glad is included, players will try harder to make sure their ship succeeds. Nonetheless it is very difficult to know what is needed, and it will probably take a few tries for a customised ship to succeed.Overall I found Destination Ares to be a really enjoyable game. The game isn’t too exciting visually, but the music in the game is very good. It is very short sadly, each run can take around twenty minutes, and doesn’t have much to draw you back once you succeed a few times. However, this game is still in early access so a lot can still change. Destination Ares be found on Steam for £9.99.