Someday, instead of kids playing Oregon Trail to see how easy it was to die of dysentery back in the day, or playing Organ Trail to learn how easy it was to die from a zombie bite, they'll be playing Orion Trail, a prototype of a game currently being Kickstarted by Schell Games, to learn how easy it was to die because your ship ran out of fuel during early intergalactic travel. In this fun resource management choose your own adventure simulation, there are four resources you need to keep track of... food, fuel, crew members, and hull damage. If you run out of any of these, it's game over. Plan on that happening a lot. Start by selecting a mission you'd like to undertake, which involves getting to the end of the trail with high numbers of one of the resources. Next you'll go through a selection process where you chose a captain, a ship, and three officers. Each come with a skill set that will be added to your overall effectiveness in one of five categories indicated on the bottom of the screen.
As you boldly go where no one has gone before, random encounters pop up, each with three choices on what to do next. Next to each choice is the symbol of which stat will be used along with a die roll to determine what will happen, along with any resource cost or benefit. A higher number gives you a better chance for a positive outcome, but you can start with a seven and roll a one so there are no guarantees, and sometimes you'll have to choose a lower stat to try to get a needed resource. Just because you've seen an encounter on a previous play through doesn't mean the choices presented to you each time will be the same. And even if you do choose the same thing you've done before, it doesn't mean the outcome will be the same. Points are awarded based on your stats and whether or not you made it to the end of the trail. It would be great to have a high score board to compete with your friends or just to keep track of how well you've done yourself. The enjoyable comedic writing and lovely pixel art immediately brought to mind the original Space Quest series. While what we have here is a good start, it is only a prototype of what could be if the team's Kickstarter gets off the ground. Besides more art and encounters, some of the planned upgrades include dynamic decisions, where your choices somewhat affect future encounters, and away team mini-games. So if you liked playing this, consider donating to get a full version of Orion Trail off the ground. In the meantime, try not to let your crew starve to death.