Star Command ($2.99) by Star Command, LLC is the much-anticipated sci-fi simulation game that met its Kickstarter goal back in October 2011. After numerous delays in development, some of us thought we’d never see the game. But it’s finally here, and it was definitely worth the wait.
We told you that it was coming this week, and when I heard the news myself, I was ecstatic. I didn’t get a chance to back the project on Kickstarter when it was there, but the more I heard about it, the more I wanted it. And now we finally have it, and it’s just a delight to play. Please keep in mind that the game is definitely not the same as what the developers originally envisioned, as only about 30 percent of the game is what they first wanted.
The biggest drawing point of this game (to me, at least) were the graphics. There is major high definition pixelated goodness going on here, so if you grew up on old-school games, you’ll love the visuals here. In addition to being a throwback to the retro art style, everything is incredibly detailed. You can see all of the parts of your spaceship, your crew’s uniforms, the rooms that you will build as vital parts of your ship, and the enemies! You’ll see your foes in all of their pixelated glory as well, you know, before you annihilate them. The game’s soundtrack is also delightful, and will definitely get you amped up for the action of being in charge of a crew in space. When the visuals and music combine, it creates one amazing experience.
Even though this is a simulation game complete with battles, there is a bit of a story going on as well. You’ll be sent on missions from your higher-ups, and you will discover that there is a lot more to space than one would think. Aliens will be hostile towards your ship, old spaceships will have zombified crew members, and more.
The first thing you’ll do in the game is create your captain, which is completely customizable. Give them a name, choose male or female, and change the appearance to something you like. Then the next step is to pick your ship — there are four different styles to choose from, but you only have access to one in the beginning, and the other three are unlocked as you progress in the game. The ship can be renamed to whatever you like, and you can choose the color for it from a handful of colorful skins. Once these are both picked, the game will begin. There are three difficulty levels, but you can only pick the normal mode to start with, and the other ones will be unlocked when you clear Normal.
On your first time playing the game, I recommend having the tooltips on, as it will guide you through the basics of the game. Later on, when you create new games for harder difficulties, you can choose to not have the tooltips on.
Controls are very simple, involving only tapping on game menus and telling your crew where to go. When you are in battle, you will have to wait until the weapons are charged and ready, and these will bring up a separate screen for attacking. There are different screens, depending on the weapon type that you pick. Make sure your shields don’t get destroyed either, because then you’ll be taking more damage.
Basically, the gist of the game involves you hiring crew members while you’re at the home planet of Earth, and then assign them to various rooms on the ship. There are three types of rooms, and after you assign them to a room for a while, they will change in their specialty. There is technical (red), engineering (orange), and science (blue). Technical is basically for your ship’s weapons, engineering is for engines and the like, and science helps with heals. You can change your crew member’s assignments as you see fit, but they will retain the color of their original assignment.
Sometimes, alien life forms will invade your ship. You will have to have your crew fend them off with blasters and heal at the same time so you don’t die. If the captain of the ship dies, it’s an automatic game over. Crew members who die can be revived, if you have the proper skill or room. Your crew will also earn experience and level up with more kills, so they will become stronger.
You will have to venture out to different planets in the system, and eventually go out to different galaxies! You can only go out to certain planets when you are given permission to from the higher-ups, but once you clear that part of the story, you can revisit it and fight more enemies for experience and tokens.
Tokens are earned from victories, and they are quite important. You will need tokens for building rooms, hiring crew members, and even for firing your special lasers and cannons. There are different colored tokens, and sometimes you will need specific colors to build rooms, so be careful of how you spend them.
Even though the game is actually quite technical (there’s a lot to it and plenty of micro management), it’s still a lot of fun. It definitely has a learning curve, but if you’re a fan of sci-fi, then this game was made for you. The best thing about it? No in-app purchases — you pay for the game once, and that’s it. No skipping ahead with real cash either, as the game will rely purely on your skill.
I’m still trying to get a hang of the game myself, but it was definitely worth the wait. If you’re a fan of sci-fi and love simulation games, then beam yourself over to the App Store and download this universal app for $2.99.