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Neat sci-fi adventure
For a decent spin on the whole Elite/Freelancer/Wing Commander style of space exploration, gamers could do worse that check out this low budget affair. It's far from being perfect and lacks the visual flair and polish of the best sci-fi game, but it remains an engaging enough little title. You take on the role of tough mercenary Jake Stone and must wander around the galaxy, looking for different ways to make ends meet. This might involve smuggling or trading, while there are also pirates to do battle with and a galaxy spanning conspiracy to uncover. It's all fairly simple stuff with an easy to pick up control system and intuitive interface that makes the whole thing a breeze. The story, while somewhat unoriginal, is quite enjoyable in a twisty turn-y, pulp sci-fi sort of way, with some colourful characters and a few surprises along the way. The visuals are quite strong for what is fairly obviously a low budget affair and in their simplicity lies a certain sort of old-school charm. Likewise for the sound effects and music which do a decent job of rounding out the atmosphere and while add somewhat to the game's appeal. Combat is particularly fun and is made reasonably challenging by the well structured enemy AI which puts up a good fight, while the range of activities on display is also sufficient to provide some good variety. In fact, the only real major drawback to Solar Winds is its rather brief running time, with most gamers probably able to complete it in a matter of hours or even less. Should you do so though, you can take comfort in the fact that the equally enjoyable Solar Winds 2 continues the story and which is also worth spending some time with.
2d scroller arcade with some 4X strategy elements
The game takes place in an alien infested space environment in which you control your ship in a 2D side scroller environment. However, you don't engage in fights exclusively, you can also engage in commerce and in diplomatic activities. In its own way, the game is a simplified 4X like strategy game to a point similar to Elite, but much of the gameplay is arcade inspired. You play as a certain Jake Stone and during your adventures you will encounter many different alien races, some with which you can engage in non-combat activities, but also some which won't stand for negotiations and whom will attack on sight. During your adventures you will be able to increase the fire power of your ship, find wormholes that will direct you to other distinct instance like areas of the universe, but, the game will mostly play in the same manner regardless of your weaponry or area of the general map. If you'd like o warm up to a game such as Star Control but don't want that level of simulation complexity, Solar Winds is a very good alternative, and an overall well polished game.