Psi-5 Trading Company
Synopsis by Kyle Knight

Space travel is dangerous, especially if you're hauling valuable cargo. And that's exactly what you're doing in Psi 5 Trading Company, a strategy game played in real time. You must prepare yourself and your ship to survive raiders who are eager to blow your ship to bits and steal your cargo.

Fortunately, you're not defenseless since you have shields, weapons and a crew of five handpicked experts to help you. After selecting your crew and trading route, you must successfully take your cargo to its destination while fending off raiders.

As captain of the ship, you delegate responsibilities to your computer-controlled crewmembers with orders in the form of item priorities. For example, you might order your repair department to prioritize certain repairs over others or have the engineering department give priority to certain subsystems for energy usage. Your crew carries out the actual orders independently.

Before the game starts, you choose your crew for the trading mission by filling five posts: sensors, weapons, navigation, engineering and repair. Each post has six candidates of varying strengths and weaknesses and to be successful, you must take advantage of the former while compensating for the latter.

For example, you may have to deal with a brilliant but temperamental weapons specialist or an engineer who cracks under pressure. But, if you select a physically frail crewmember, you may actually lose him or her due to ship damage before the cargo run ends.

Gameplay in Psi 5 Trading Company is controlled with a joystick.

Roots & Influences

Psi 5 Trading Company integrates the strategy and space genres to create a unique management simulator experience.


The game manages to put a unique and remarkably complex strategy game into a very simple interface.


Psi 5 Trading Company makes impressive use of its limited resources by delivering a sense of traveling through space in real time with its simple but effective graphics. Furthermore, the game also manages to deliver complex strategy gaming that unfolds in real time.

The biggest failing of the game is its use of two separate executables. One lets you set up the game by choosing your cargo run and crew and the other allows you to actually play the game. There's no reason why these two functions couldn't have been done with one executable program.

Taking care in crew selection is important and you'd be well advised to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the choices. There are six candidates for each position and all have fairly significant flaws of some kind. One may react poorly to stress or may be a poor team player while another may excel at part of the job but be poor at another aspect. A third may be good in most respects but so frail you stand a good chance of losing him or her during battle.

There are no perfect candidates, so you must choose carefully and devise a strategy to overcome the individual weaknesses since during gameplay these strengths and weaknesses become apparent very quickly.

The game offers an impressive deep array of choices. Your navigator can set five different paths to your destination port ranging from the most to least direct. The most direct path gets you to the port in the shortest amount of time, potentially earning you a bonus for speedy delivery of cargo. But, it's also likely to be the most heavily infested by hostile units.

You can also call for a straight course or a more evasive course that makes it more difficult for enemies to target you but doing so comes at the expense of longer travel time. Through your engineer, you can prioritize different subsystems like weapons, shields and engines for energy usage. You can assign different priorities to enemy ships to your weapons expert and can also instruct him to use specific weapons if you know he excels at a certain weapon.

Although there are many options, the learning curve is relatively low because everything is done through choosing and prioritizing targets. You decide what to do but have to trust in your crew to actually accomplish the tasks. When things get rough and multiple enemies start taking shots at you, it can be quite intense trying to keep up with everything.

The game's display is laid out nicely with an image of your currently selected crewmember in the top right and a view of space in the top left. The bottom half of the screen is used to display any status information you've requested. Everything is laid out logically and is easily accessible.

The crewmember view is mostly useless and really only serves to let you know whether that particular person is alive or dead. The space view, on the other hand, is entirely useless but it's a nice touch nonetheless. The view changes to reflect your current navigation settings and will also show any space battles occurring around you.

Psi 5 Trading Company is an unusual game. The complex strategy gameplay is carried out in real time but with an impressively simple and easy to use interface. Unlike many strategy games, you cannot control every detail of what goes on; instead, you can only delegate orders and wait for them to be carried out effectively. This gives the game the feeling of a strong management simulation.

If you're intrigued by that idea, Psi 5 Trading Company is a polished and enjoyable game worth a look.


Easy to read graphics and pleasant layout with simple but effective space graphics.


No sound effects used.

Replay Value

You have five routes from which to choose with each replay a completely new experience. Furthermore, you have six crewmember choices for each job with each applicant having very different attributes.


Basic gameplay is covered adequately.

Extra Credits

Psi 5 Trading Company integrates the strategy and space genres to create a unique management simulator experience.