Seedship

so I'm kind of on a small interactive fiction kick lately and I stumbled across Seedship, and it is so tiny and thoughtful and good that I really wanted to mention it here!

the basic concept: you are the AI of a spaceship which is carrying 1000 frozen humans through space after Earth's demise. your job is to check out the planets you come across and find the best one for them to land on and start a new colony. as you wait longer and scan more planets, you can slowly upgrade your scanners to find better options, but the ship will also be damaged over time due to random events – you might lose scanners, bits of the scientific or cultural databases onboard, or even some of your colonists if the wrong part of the ship gets damaged. so you want to wait a while instead of settling for the first planet you see and freezing/suffocating/exploding – but not too long, or the damage will fuck you over just as much as choosing a completely unsuitable planet would.

that's it, that's the whole game. once you've chosen humanity's new home, the game tells you how they got on and where their society ended up. so far I've been enslaved by hostile aliens, created an iron-age collectivist utopia and a whole bunch of stuff in between.

a lot of the reviews for the mobile app said things like 'it's boring after the first couple times' but I can't really agree; I spent about two straight hours replaying it just trying to get a happier ending for my frozen refugee friends. (each game only lasts about 5-10 minutes, so that was a good few playthroughs). after a while I imagine I'll have seen pretty much every variation of possible outcomes, but so far I'm still finding new stuff. anyway, it's free, the writing is good, and several hours of thoughtful evocative entertainment for £0 isn't exactly a bad deal.