For all its charm and ambition, Redshirt can't even come close to realising that goal, and inevitably ends up as a fairly flat and repetitive exercise in meaningless random text and mindless icon clicking. In that sense, it's arguably a perfect simulation of real-life social media, but it unfortunately doesn't make for an edifying game experience.
Redshirt is deeper than its Star Trek parody presentation might appear, but it's not quite deep enough.
I couldn't pull myself away from the addictive nature of Spacebook.
While Redshirt is a funny and clever sim that allows for interesting relationships, it can occasionally be as mindless as the social networks it parodies.
I liked the idea. I wanted to like the game. Instead I'll treat it as I do most of my annoying friends on Facebook, and press Ignore.
These are all the worst bits, of myself and of Facebook: the push towards less privacy, towards superficial relationships and walls of meaningless birthday greetings. Redshirt is a version of social media without, you know, the social part. It is the ultimate form of solipsism. If most life sims are imperfect reflections of life, Redshirt is, instead, an imperfect reflection of Facebook, itself an imperfect reflection of life. I am in a hall of mirrors and all I see is myself.
The less-than-riveting selection helps to remind us that the important people you see on your favorite Sci-Fi series had to pass through a lot of terrible jobs to get where they are.
Redshirt isn't going to appeal to everyone, but those who like the balancing act and resource management that go with management sims will find this is a solid game. There will be feelings of repetitiveness during the all too brief periods when you've managed to juggle everything into going well, and you'll find yourself just going through the motions to advance time until your next social or career crisis. Whilst you'll need to be a sci-fi fan to get a lot of the humour, this will actually be less important to your enjoyment of the game than a jaded view of the inanity appearing on your Facebook wall on a daily basis. To fans of turn-based management sims this is an entertaining insight into a future in which social networking rules every aspect of our lives rather than being a place just to quote song lyrics. Although, in Redshirt's vision of the future, people are still spending a lot of their time doing just that as well.
Definitely worth a play if you like the idea of a Star Trek/Facebook parody game, but don't expect any longevity from it. Now, make it online and fill the game with real people then you might just draw me back….
Even if you really invest in the digital people you're interacting with, there just isn't enough variety in the gameplay to have a truly enjoyable experience. This is an interesting experimental game, and also an acute demonstration of human manipulation. If nothing else, Redshirt will make you appreciate the power of your online actions.