Sunday, October 3, 2010

Control Good: Starscape

What's it like fighting a guerilla war against an enemy with a logistical base of nigh-infinite, self-replicating reinforcements?

This is a pretty tough question, but one Starscape, by sleeper-hit producing studio Moonpod Games, tries its damndest to answer.

This game's been in my virtual library for a while (I would have 'upgraded' to a CD, a very nice feature that I really wish more small publishers offered, but I'm not sure that they do that anymore.) So, to get familiar with the game, I picked the game up once again for another speedy playthrough.

It hasn't aged a bit. (Also; please pry it from my hard drive. I. Cannot. Put it. DOWN!)

Or; if it has aged, it's done so like fine wine. The game relies on a unique mash of Shoot-Em-Up and 4X (ie: Masters of Orion or Sins of a Solar Empire) mechanics to drive a narrative that grows and evolves over time, even pervading the game's justified tutorial quite nicely. These are all elements that can make a great game, and Starscape runs with all of them until each has achieved runner's high.

This game is built solidly on its SHMUP roots, with great, easy to learn gameplay that grows harder with new enemies at a furious pace. You'll be hunting vital enemy mining barges supplying reinforcements even as you're pursued by said reinforcements. So many, in fact, that the game can't handle them all at once and jumps them in as you destroy their vanguard units in full explodalicious fury.

And the addictive features only get piled on from there. In spite of the game's ruthless pacing, more discriminating players (and those who are less hand-eye-thrill-addicted, you know who you are, guys!) can upgrade their ships and their awesome mobile space station that follows them into battle (metal enough yet?) in order to soften the difficulty curve. Moonpod tends to make a policy of this feature in all of their other games, most notably; Mr. Robot.

Even though I had this game before I started College, I still believe it's worthy of anyone's buy. And if you don't believe me, why not follow the link above and go try the demo? It's not hard to do, and you won't regret it. And if you don't trust me, trust my plad suited cousin over here (just don't let him sell you any used cars.)

Anyway; the reasons above make this timeless sleeper hit very worthy of the (currently dubious) status of Control Good.

No comments:

Post a Comment