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Lords of the Black Sun | Officially release. Available now on Steam

Star Prospector – First Impressions

By on February 1st, 2012 8:55 am

Star Prospector has launched a week ago. Intrigued by this new sci-fi RTS I decided to take Star Prospector for a spin. Not to write a full-blown review yet but to get a taste of the game, and to let you guys know my first impressions playing it.

I played the first two missions (not the demo, the full game). But after finishing the second mission I realized “Hey, maybe I’ll just play one more!”. The article could almost end by now :) No, seriously, here are my first impressions of Star Prospector. Enjoy!

A smooth entry

First of all the intro is really nice. This is something you don’t see much these days and is surely a very important asset to set the right mood. I navigated very comfortably through all the menus. I choose my rig, its weapons and a first mission assignment, which was kind of a basic tutorial one.

With the help of the tutorial learning to play the game was very easy. The user interface is very accessible, which also helps a lot. Everything seems to be in the right place and feels right. There is enough information available (descriptions, damage inflicted by units, unit’s experience, power required for each building, etc).

There are several types of missions available to you, which I find particularly interesting. I could find already prospect, eliminate and archeologist missions. In the prospect missions you are assigned a task to assess if a particular planet is suitable for exploiting a particular resource. In the archaeologist missions you need to investigate some event or events, take necessary action and bring back a report. So, in a sense the archeologist and the prospect missions are kind of survey missions you undertake on the various systems and planets.

After every successful mission you’re rewarded with credits and experience. With those you can upgrade your rig with better weapons and defenses or decide to invest in unlocking new units or buildings (which is understood in the game as new “techs”). So, mission after mission you gradually upgrade your list of possibilities which is a nice thing that increases replayability and mitigates a bit mission repetitiveness. You know, build ore facility, build bot factory, build bot, extract ore, build fuel extractor, etc…. To mitigate this repetitive pattern I think some missions (some, not necessarily all) could start already a bit advanced (with the basic buildings and units) so that you don’t need to start every time everything from scratch.

One other very interesting aspect about Star Prospector is that every game you start is randomly generated. So, you will end up getting different missions every time you play a new game. This is a very important aspect because it increases game replayability. In my game session I completed 2 missions of a total of 101 for that game (2% accomplished in 1 hour or so of play). That’s a lot of play potential.

A pure RTS with a twist

Star Prospector is an RTS, a pure one in the sense that you need to use your workers (in this case bots) to collect resources nearby your base (which gladfully are finite). Then you need to bring that ore into an ore processing facility to be later used for constructing new buildings and new units. You have two types of resources available, ore and fuel. This is the game’s core mechanic, and there’s really nothing new here.

However, although Star Prospector is a pure RTS its pace may not satisfy all players at the start. The game has a kind of more calmer and leisure feel to it, certainly not the case of your typical RTS where everything happens instantly and you get to places very fast. Not in Star Prospector. Things don’t take that much time to build alright but units do take their time to move around, scout and reach a destination. Including your rig. So, don’t expect a full adrenaline rush coming out from this game but more of a casual and joyful experience, certainly a kind of a twist to traditional RTS games.

I have nothing against this calmer pace. Actually, for me the fast pace (sometimes even frenetic like in StarCraft) is something I don’t fancy that much. So, this game will be perfect for you guys that like RTS but like to take your time.

The music and sounds are very decent. I found the sounds particularly interesting by the way. The sounds of bot miners extracting ore or the sounds of lasers firing from laser bots and laser towers are particularly nice.

In terms of graphics Star Prospector doesn’t bring anything new really. There are no spectacular explosions (that I could experience in two games at least), no revolutionary camera moves or fully detailed models. But overall graphics are quite nice. Very clean and crisp. I have nothing to complain here.

Conclusion

Star Prospector seems like a very nice and decent sci-fi RTS game that every RTS gamer should have a look at. The experience evolves at a calm pace featuring a very interesting blend of RPG elements (progression, experience gain, level up, items purchase), strategy elements and action.

I found my first incursion into Star Prospector a very joyful and entertaining experience. The decision of including Star Prospector in the Space Sector’s sci-fi/space games list for 2012 was indeed a fortunate one. It was the first title of that list to come out, and it came out as a good surprise.

In case you missed it there’s a demo available. Try it for yourself and let me know your own impressions about the game.

Star Prospector is available on GamersGate and Impulse/GameStop for the Windows PC.

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Lords of the Black Sun | Officially release. Available now on Steam

10 Comments


  1. Zeraan says:

    This sounds like my kind of game! I loved KKnD and C&C because they had unique resource gathering mechanism. Unfortunately I have a new year’s resolution to not buy any new games until I’ve finished my backlog of games that I haven’t beaten yet, and I think there’s like 30 of them…

    But this will go on my “to-buy” list for sure!

  2. Claude says:

    The game is very popular on “Impulse”. I bought it the first day. Well done…
    :-)

  3. BiggTedd says:

    Awesome guys, thanks for the support, and please check out the Cryptstone forums, lots of cool updates and additions coming in the next patch!

  4. Damian Zyne says:

    there also is a complete walkthrough of the first two missions in the demo on youtube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba8yxLZsSdk

    In case you cant download it for whatever reason. it’s long but it shows how the game really plays like

  5. zigzag says:

    Hmm… not sure I agree with your comment concerning the pace.

    On the harder difficulties, enemies attack at about the same time as you produce your first military units. (Although I’m sure that I was using a somewhat sub-optimal build order.)

    • Adam Solo says:

      Yes, defending your base can be a bit more stressful at times (as in the normal RTS way) but the remaining features of the game (scouting, moving, attacking) are quite leisure paced. Well, at least that was my feeling playing the first 2 missions.

    • Wiz says:

      Yes, you need to goof build order to have a few combat units out when you have your first encounter (be it creature or enemies). Creature being solo is usually easy to deal with but the enemy at higher level can be a bit of a problem. A bot healing station is a must at that point and you need your rig with some decent armor and weapon to tank.

  6. Deadeye says:

    I bought it. Addicted now. Please tell my wife and kids I will see them soon :)

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