What Are You Playing This Weekend?

What Are You Playing This Weekend?
Image: Spacebase Startopia

There are some developers that, for whatever reason, were just able to strike gold time after time. One of those was the British studio Bullfrog, famous for the Theme Park games, Syndicate, Magic Carpet, Populous and the Dungeon Keeper titles. But the studio was bought by EA, the culture completely collapsed, and by 2001 the studio eventually closed. However, some of those staffers founded up their own joint which has always held a special place in my heart.

That studio was Mucky Foot Productions, founded by four former Bullfrog developers. (Fun fact: one of those founders was Mike Diskett, who would go on to be the tech director at 5 Lives Studios, the Brisbane-based developer responsible for Satellite Reign and more recently, Windbound.)

Mucky Foot wasn’t around for long, and they ended up cancelling more projects than they released. But two of the games they did ship were absolute bangers: Urban Chaos, a third-person martial arts cop adventure, and Startopia.

Image: Startopia

Startopia is basically what you’d get if you said, “Hey, what if we took Bablyon 5 but made it less about high sci-fi drama and dressed it up as a management sim inside a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy parody?”

Yeah, you’re right, that does sound awesome. And all that experience making Theme Hospital, Theme Park and Dungeon Keeper was worth it. You had different levels of the spacedeck to manage. One was a straightforward industrial level, one was a “pleasure” level which was basically the social hub for all the aliens that would come onboard, and another was a biodeck that let you warp the climate, adjust the ecosystem, change the terrain, fauna and flora any way you want.

You could legitimately spend hours in the biodeck just fucking around. That level alone made Startopia worth it. There was also a weird, RTS-like expansion system where you hired security to go shoot your neighbours so you could expand your space deck, but it was a bit turd and not that much fun.

Still, Startopia was great. And it’s on my mind because Spacebase Startopia, a spiritual successor to the original, is getting released next week. I’ve got a review code, so I’ll definitely be spending some time with that.

I don’t like a curve that aggressive on my monitors, but I am down for it on my Deep Space Nine knock-off base.

So, I’ll be mucking around with that on the weekend. What about yourselves – what will you be playing?


  • I’ve been in the mining town Tom Price, Western Australia for about 10 days for work. A handful of free to air TV channels on a telly that’s so old it won’t connect to my Galaxy Tab.
    I’m driving back to Perth tomorrow – 15 hours or so – and Hades will be the first game I fire up.
    Why the bloody hell I didn’t bring the Switch for journey? I’m an idiot, of course!

  • Beer and cider festival on Saturday so Sunday is going to be spent playing a game where I don’t have to concentrate too much.

  • The complete Inquisitor: Martyr/Prophecy collection is on sale, dropped from over $90 down to $23 and I’ve been enjoying the hell out of that. There’s definitely a looming endgame grind ahead after the campaign, but they appear to have found a bunch of really interesting ways of presenting it, with sort of ‘create your own mission’ systems, a ‘choose your own adventure’ RPG-lite longer mini-campaign system, and a variety of co-op/horde/challenge modes presented in a number of other ways, with a method of being able to level up your modifiers for increased rewards. I’m looking forward to seeing how that endgame pans out.

  • Just unlocked Nioh 2 Newgame + but still enjoying it (plus the co-op multiplayer mode is fun)

    Pre-ordered Evil Genius 2 so just waiting until that unlocks really.

  • A bit of Sea of Thieves, check out the new patch.
    And some Myst: Exile with the missus.
    AND of course, some new Doom: Eternal DLC. I’m so excited, the first one set such a high bar, and it’s going to be the conclusion to the whole story (so far).

      • We’re really enjoying it so far. Myst was pretty good, straight forward enough. Riven had some painful puzzles we couldn’t work out, partially because we weren’t expecting some clues to be the way they were. But Exile seems to be back to Myst’s level of not-needing-a-walkthrough.

    • Yeeew Doom! 😀
      But I’m going away for a week so I’ll have to put it on hold.

      Also some Balloons TD6 coz it’s on sale. 😛

  • I’ve been pretty exhausted lately so sailing around in Windbound has been a nice break, but I started playing Dragon Quest XI from the beginning and if I can make up my mind about playing in 2D or 3D I think I’ll dig into that.

    • Just realise you mentioned 5 Lives/Windbound in the article. They’ve got a great little team there. I wish they’d team up with a board game company for a co-op Satellite Reign game similar to Imperial Assault.

  • Finishing up Yakuza Kiwami hopefully. Need to get back into Nioh at some point. but so many more Yakuza games to go!

  • Elder Scrolls Online has dropped a new expansion and reworked its endgame progression (champion point) system, so I’ll be trying to wrap my brain around that while respeccing.

  • I was super excited by Spacebase Startopia as a massive fan of the original since release. Unfortunately after playing the beta I was ultimately disappointed, spacebase Startopia brings some interesting ideas and new mechanics, but felt like it just didn’t capture the spirit or humour of the original.

    That said I’m sure others may find it enjoyable, especially those who have not experienced the original. Maybe one-day I’ll give it a go again, especially if it comes to gamepass.

  • Too many!
    Doom Eternal DLC’s
    Outer Worlds (I should really finish this game)
    Easter Event in Assassin Creed Valhalla
    Hitman 3
    Fallout 4 Modding

  • More than likely doing some base expansion in Satisfactory, now that I’ve upped my power production and the grid doesn’t keep tripping out every five minutes…

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!