iPad App Video Review: Star Command

May 9, 2013

Reviewer’s Log: Earth Date 05082013.

After being hyped up on a galactic scale for what seems like years, the long awaited Star Trek style simulator/role playing game Star Command is finally here. The game’s warp drive must have been busted or something to take so long. I’m happy to say that it was worth the wait, and that Star Command is one of the best and most unique games of its kind. Think the indie hit FTL as done by Kairosoft, but with an actual storyline. It’s that epic.

After creating your captain (I made mine look like Commander Riker, because his beard is powerful), choosing the first rooms of your ship, and hiring your first crew members, you are immediately sent out by Star Command to tackle mission after mission. The game is very linear at first, plotting you through the intro before this galaxy really opens up, though the early game comes with some crucial story choices to make. The main body of this game would definitely be the combat encounters, which are as long and tough as a good old fashioned Star Destroyer if you aren’t playing correctly.

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In any encounter, you’ll be dealing with firing upon the enemy ship, and more than likely, dealing with enemy crew members that board your ship. This is where it gets tricky. You need crew members to be manning your various weapon, shield, and dodge rooms in order to use those vital abilities. On top of that, not only will you have to charge the abilities up each encounter, you’ll also have to build ammo tokens for each ability usage. I can tell you right now, that if you don’t hire enough crew members, the ones you have will be too busy fighting off invaders to actually keep your ship fighting, and things can spiral out of control quickly. Focus more on a large crew than on superfluous upgrades to your ship.

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The three kinds of positions on your ship include tactical, science, and engineering. Tactical crewmen man the guns and also shoot down intruders. Scientists heal allies, and engineers put out fires and repair hull breaches. Having a good balance of all three, spread fairly evenly through your ship, should help you avoid getting cut off from that one gun that doesn’t require tokens to fire because of a hull breach near the door that sucks both friend and foe into the cold, unforgiving vacuum of space. Yes, that happened to me many times, and I’m bitter about it. Combat can be rather frustrating overall. I would have loved to be able to pause and give orders, and the token weapon firing mechanic is a bit much. The difficulty is definitely a bit much overall.

The visuals and sound here are excellent. There are plenty of creative alien races and cool looking ship designs to see, and all of it is in a style very similar to a Kairosoft simulator, such as Game Dev Story. The pixel art is colorful and well done, and there are extra difficulties plus three other starting ship designs to unlock for yourself. This game is seriously full of surprising events and encounters, and I couldn’t stand to spoil any here. I’ll just say that Star Command has one of the coolest uses of zombies in a game I’ve ever seen. The game is iOS universal, and currently available for three dollars. Unless you really hate slower paced games, I would not skip this one.

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Andrew Koziara

Andrew Koziara is a lifelong gamer and metal head. When he isn’t playing or reviewing games, he’s making them at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy. Check out his Twitter page here.

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