The latest addition to Amazon Alexa's capabilities is that it can now run an audio adventure game for you, called 'Starfinder'. Set in space and full of aliens and weird locations, it's like a mix of a choose-your-own-adventure and a traditional role-playing game, where you'll decide what happens next and even what your character days by talking to Alexa.
You start by deciding what kind of approach you'd like to take to solving problems, and the game will give you a character to be who matches that preference. After that, you'll get more control in how the plot develops: at its simplest, you'll make binary decisions that might affect what you find or the outcome of situations – but it also lets you decide what to say to other characters, and what skills you'll try to employ.
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The more traditional gaming elements come into the fact that your character has an inventory of items, and that you can improve them over time and collect credits to use in the game. And when you attempt something that requires skill, there's even a dice roll – you can do this yourself and tell Alexa what you get, or you can just ask Alexa to roll dice for your automatically.
It means the outcome of a story is a mixture of your choices and a bit of luck, so you never know which of the branching storylines you'll end up at.
The voice work was handled by Alexa's Amazon colleagues at Audible, and required 125 hours of recording from a multitude of actors, including Castle and Firefly star Nathan Fillion, and Laura Bailey from The Last Of Us Part II.
The pilot of Starfinder is free to play, and you can give it a go by just saying to your Echo (or the Alexa app, of course): Alexa, open Starfinder. Each new story tells you roughly how long it will take to play before you get started, which is a nice touch – the pilot is around 30 minutes as a taster.
There are three episodes to play through so far, with three more coming in October. They cost £1.99 each, or you can get all six for £9.99.
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