|a game by||Wesson International|
|Editor Rating:||8/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Sometime in the first decades of the 21st century (the world's fragile economy notwithstanding), mankind is expected to establish its first permanent outposts on the moon. These moonbases will be the second leg of NASA's space-exploration triad — the first being a space station in near-Earth orbit, and the third a manned trip to Mars. A moonbase could contribute considerably not only to our understanding of outer space, but also to the advancement of high-tech industries.
Moonbase: Lunar Colony Simulator puts you in charge of establishing and developing a lunar colony under the auspices of NASA. Using a game display and a player interface quite similar to those found in Maxis Software's Sim City, you set up your colony for maximum utility and efficiency. For the first ten years of operation, the base is funded by NASA. After that, however, you're on your own.
The heart of Moonbase is the juggling act you must perform with your resources—both human and natural — and your base's output. You want to make the colony profitable as soon as possible, which usually means getting into the production of liquid oxygen. On the other hand, you can't afford to overlook power generation and thermal control. The latter is an especially tricky, but very essential, task to master. Once you've made the base profitable by industrial means, you may want to think about whether you should allow tourism or leave the colony a strictly scientific installation.
Some things, however, are beyond your control. Just when everything seems to be rolling along, a sudden disaster — such as a lander crash, a reactor meltdown, or a workers' strike — can put you right back where you started. If anything, Moonbase may be almost too realistic. It painstakingly demonstrates the trials of establishing and maintaining a colony in such a hostile environment, resulting in almost continual frustration.
Little of that frustration can be blamed on the game's design, however. Numerous pull-down menus and information windows make it easy to gather vital information and input your decisions. And the graphics are extremely detailed.
If you want to gaze at the probable future of space exploration, Moonbase: Lunar Colony Simulator may be the crystal ball for you.