We’ve said since the game’s launch you can, in theory, complete the entire game in the starting ship, often known as the Platypus or the Platy. One intrepid member of our early testing team and helpful Discord member Spaz decided that the challenge was irresistible – and completed the challenge recently! So we asked how this was accomplished…
I had been hearing so much discussion about how it was possible to complete the story in a Platypus, if one had enough skill. I know most players thought that it was impossible – myself included – at first. I wasn’t sure if I had the skill, but after my first run through the story, playing mostly in the Durston/Beluga, and finishing in the Coyote, I decided I’d give it a try. I played on Normal for this run, staying in third person for the entirety of it. (I have been legally blind all my life, so that additional perspective helped compensate for my inherent delayed reaction time).
The run took a total of 24 hours and two minutes to reach the end of the story, with a handful of companion missions and part of a mission chain intentionally left incomplete. I wasn’t trying to speed run the game, to be fair. It’s just that you can fully equip the Platypus relatively quickly, so you spend far less time acquiring credits to fully outfit the ship compared to the others.
I initially saved up for the cyclic afterburner first, because more than anything else, if you can’t defeat the opponent, you need the ability to bravely run away. Once I had that, I got my power plant, shields, and armor to their maximum allowed. I learned very early on that a repair droid was going to hurt my chances, so I didn’t keep it equipped. That energy would be better used on shields, so I would take less component damage. Dual autocannons and the EMP Javelin rounded out my loadout for almost the entirety of the run.
The most challenging mission was a late game story mission, in which I had over half a dozen fighters all gunning for me at once. While I did have a companion with me, my survival depended upon me putting most of my power into shields and engines, boosting and rolling like a madman, while my companion whittled down a target for me. As soon as I could see that target’s shields weaken, I would turn toward it, EMP it, and try to finish it off before boosting away. I had to repeat this process several times, but I walked away from that mission with only a 6k repair bill, and 1k in ordnance costs.
While it might be surprising to some, Warning Shot turned out to be easy for me. I completed it on the first try, and with only 5% armor damage. I was in a Durston when I’d completed it the first time through the story, and that was pre-launch.
I took a few side missions during the first three hours or so to get the run started, but I made most of my money during the run from free trading. Board quests that were likely to involve combat were avoided, simply because the risk often outweighed the reward. I did unlock Bountiful Vista, and continued its line up to the point where I acquired its equipment bay. I knew I didn’t need its shipyard, not for this run!
I was adamant about not switching ships during this run, and I stuck to that.
I stayed on the Commonwealth side, and didn’t gain a single wanted star during the run. I certainly offloaded contraband that just so happened to fall off the back of a pirate ship (or six,) but going full pirate wasn’t part of my plan. A pirate run in a Platypus is possible, but it is definitely a more difficult journey.
I created the paint job and ship name based purely on my love of puns. There’s a line from Battlestar Galactica, “Sometimes you just gotta roll the hard six.” Well, the Platypus is roughly six sided, and rolling it while dodging would keep me alive in tough fights. Thus its name “The Hard Six” was born. I gave it a white paint scheme, used red for the corresponding pips of the die, and emblazoned the Space Game Junkie logo on its sides and above the cockpit.
I learned quite a lot over the course of this run. I died fewer than a dozen times in total.
*The Platypus still gets interdicted by pirates just like any other ship, but it happens far less often for the humble Platypus, even in the late game.
*The EMP Javelin is invaluable for its disabling effect, and can be used again before its debuff expires. This is very helpful during reload times, and doubly so if you’re facing bombers and gunships. They can’t dodge if they can’t move!
*Dual autocannons will also carry you through the run, because you’ll need every bit of power available for shields and engines. Always dump power to shields whenever you need to.
*Turn and burn at the beginning of fights when possible, so fewer enemies are engaging you at once, especially if they have capital ship support. Take out all their fighters first, and you’ll find that capital ships are easy prey.
*Avoid the risky gates until you can afford to replace multiple components. You’ll spend more in total on replacements than on repairs after combat.
*Call in a companion for every major story and side mission battle, aside from Warning Shot.
*Ignore distress signals and most combat missions, as a general rule. While they’re not always bad, the RNG can have you in over your head quickly in a Platypus run.
A special thanks to Spaz for not only helping us test prior to the game’s release, but also successfully piloting a Platypus-only run!