Grab the Ouija board For Our Astronaut: The Best Review

Space faring sims are ten a parsec, but after you’ve led a Space Crew and travelled FTL, you might want to try Astronaut: The Best. Thaks to indie developer Universal Happymaker, you could join Flaustria’s burgeoning space program and bring glory to your nation. Alternatively, a rabble of recruits could be too much trouble and end up hexed into a crash landing. If the idea of a Kerbals come occult sim sounds silly, it is. The mix of angled edges and contorted modernist illustration immdeiatly give this away, and initial impressions are that you’re about to witness some sort of Jetsons from the dark side.

Mixing roguelike management sim concepts and a bit of the dark arts, Astronaut: The Best is possibly one of the quirkiest game’s I’ve had the bemusement to play. Players picking up this outlandish creation will find themselves in the role of Space Director. Sat behind a luxurious oak desk, with a fancy telephone and a finely appointed set of furniture, things might seem pretty sweet for the head of a high-tech agency. Unfortunately, you’re there because the previous director didn’t survive the pressures and is probably somewhere in purgatory. Too late, however, you’re now in the gainful employment of five High Priests of Flaustria. These oddly etched villains are your bosses. You’ll need to bring them glory by building a successful space program from whatever recruits they dredge up. Don’t worry, though, if your people management skills aren’t up to scratch then there are other ways of getting to the stars.


Like any great people management role, you’ll be burdened with underqualified and incapable staff. Fresh recruits from the Flaustrian population are admitted to the Space race with the click of a button and come with a wealth of prescribed attributes. Almost all of these will need to be improved to stray beyond the atmosphere. Piloting, Intelligence, Fitness, Charm, and Beauty are all crucial. Some are more obvious than others in a rocket, but all help in one way or another. Each of these can be built on by training. Self-improvement, however, costs money. It is also time consuming. With a limited amount of training per day, a lean government budget, astronaut stress levels, and a countdown until launch, it is very apparent that being in charge of a space wing isn’t easy.

Astronaut: The Best charnm traiing

Alongside these very obvious stats, you’ll notice a few extra additions. Talismans, spells, and other character traits unlock as the game progresses. Each have their own impact to character capabilities, from pill popping focus to increased intelligence. Not every one of these is a net positive, so be careful. While the presentation of these aspects provides plenty of quirky point and click to adventures, it’s the ridiculous demands of the unorthodox priests and the left field events that keep things from going smoothly. It’s also one of the elements that makes the entire experience stand out. Sure, the unique 1920s modernist comic art are worlds away from the competition, and the personalities of all the characters involved are wildly out there, but threading in a game of chance is kind of genius.

With tight time schedules in place, it seems ridiculous for potential pilots to head off to entertainment shows or to just go AWOL and like a tramp. Whether its pretending to be a vagrant or crumbling to pieces on TV, there are a ton of ways to lose stat points or roster spots. That’s all before the High priests get involved. They’ll stick their noses in intermittently and their ideas might work out. Alternatively, your choices might just put the program in the bad books. Remember it’s your neck on the line.

Astronaut: The Best charm training random events - failed after spinning the wheel

Like a runaway rocket, you’ve got no control over these events, which are largely a facet of luck. Spinning a wheel on a randomized event is both frustrating and incredibly exciting. Many of the potential scenarios and individual crew reactions ridiculous, but the high of holding onto a few well-earned stat points is worth the risk. That’s what Astronaut: The Best is all about. There’s a silly front and lots of witty ideas thrown into aid the oddball writing, but it’s largely a case of managing people and rolling the dice to see what happens. Functionally Astronaut: The Best is a lot of decision making and mouse clicking. Strategically, you’ll need to decide if you want to hedge your bets or cross those fingers and hope nobody gets booted by the High Priests. Then, it’s all down to launch day and a whole new set of stat weighted dice rolls. Even after take off, these events occur. If you’re lucky mission control will survive, the team won’t take a left run, and won’t end up exploding or making a put stop at Denny’s.

Astronaut: The Best is delightfully odd and defies expectations. Medling strategic management with occult imagery makes it initially interesting. Strapping it to a game of chance and painting the whole thing under some zany presentation seems to work. It won’t challenge you in the same way a true game of skill will, but it’s endearing in a weird sort of way. Certainly, it’s not Kerbals, that’s for sure.

  • Unusual and witty writing
  • Always surprising
  • Lots of chance involved at early runs
  • Aesthetic might not be for everyone
Written by
For those of you who I’ve not met yet, my name is Ed. After an early indoctrination into PC gaming, years adrift on the unwashed internet, running a successful guild, and testing video games, I turned my hand to writing about them. Now, you will find me squawking across a multitude of sites and even getting to play games now and then

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