When you first load up Star Armada one is inclined to think that it is another typical real-time strategy game that happens to be spaced-based, however after spending five minutes reading the tutorial you will realize there is more than just meets the eye.
Kicking the AI tires
First released on the android operating system star Armada has finally come to your local iPad. The first tests I do for my reviews is to check how well the artificial intelligence is designed by playing my first game on the hardest setting the game offers. The first game played on the hardest setting will usually indicate how well designed the AI is.
I’m happy to report that my first game with Star Armada on brutal, was a real challenge. Granted you’re going to make mistakes when playing your first game, however I have enough years playing RTS games I know the basics. I sent out my forces to scout the local area for planets to harvest, however I ran into the enemy on my first discovery, and almost all of my forces were wiped out.
After beating a hasty retreat, I figure I would try to recover by finding my own planning and rebuilding my forces before the counterattack. Finally I find a planet that was empty, and I start to build my resource extractors. Keep in mind this is during my first use of the user interface so I’m still a little clumsy. However I’m catching up fast and I have a little base established with extractors and shipyards. Just as I believe that I will be able to catch up, the red forces came big with full force and retribution.
Beauty if more than skin deep
Settling down with star Armada, you begin to realize how deep the game is. Unfortunately you’re limited to just four units that you can build such as the Destroyer, Battle cruiser, and Dreadnought. However, do not let these limitations discourage you because with research you can upgrade each class of unit with a research facility. Each unit also has weapon hard points that you can customize the in the shipyard interface. Wait you mentioned four units? The Dreadnought has a special ability is that it can spawn up to four fighters out of a pool of 20. It can also self-repair itself.
Within the shipyard interface you can select one of four weapons for the various hardpoints. The four weapon types available to choose from are pulse cannons, lasers, missiles, and shock cannons. Furthermore all four of those weapon types can be upgraded via the weapon research building. All of these elements combine to give you interesting tactical decisions because each weapon has its strengths and weaknesses. For example the pulse cannon can fire rapidly but is weak and prone to missing. The laser beam can penetrate through shields but does less damage because of the shields, and has a slower reload time. You can mix and match each weapon type, or go dedicated one damage type and then focus on upgrading that particular weapon.
The other structures you can build around your planets are defensive structures that mirror the weapon types available to your ships. You have the standard resource collector, shipyard, and research structures. Beyond that you have a weapon research building, a portal facility, and a nuclear missile facility.
The weapon research building allows you to further improve the weapons available for placement on your ships. The portal facility allows you to teleport from one map location to a destination. The nuclear missile facility takes roughly 5 minutes to charge and then you can launch it at a wide area for mass destruction fun. There is a cost for this fun though, and 90,000 credits are very costly. The reason is resources are finite and each planet provides anywhere from 300,000 to roughly 400,000 resources.
Resources and your Strategy
The things to doing all of these wonderful weapons and ships come from your ability to exploit planetary resources that are limited. This means you cannot simply grab one planet and expects your resources to be unlimited, yet they continually expand and fight the enemy when you have an advantage. You reported for Wayne by earning more credits for destroying enemy ships as well so those are the two ways you can improve your units and weapons.
The developers even went further by allowing your units to gain experience, obviously the more experienced they have the more effective they will be. For example an experienced unit will do more damage and take less damage.
More for your dollar
On top of the RTS goodness, Star Armada comes with a tower defense mode. You start out with a planetary base, and 100,000 credits to spend on defenses. You can only build defenses, weapons research, and the nuclear missile facility. The only way to get credits it from the invading waves you destroyed. Your goal is to survive 20 waves. Cool! The waves will get progressively harder, and you will be faced with decisions like do you use your credits to repair, build, or research.
Overall I think that Star Armada finds a nice balance between depth and simplicity for the intended device it is developed for. While the graphics are something to be desired for, the basic gameplay and mechanics are very well thought out and enjoyable once you get past the generic feeling. You will find a very deep and rewarding game that will give you hours of enjoyment, not to mention the extra tower defense game.
Space Sector score:
– Great replayability, with two different game modes and randomly generated maps
– The difficulty levels are great, because I think a hard game is more rewarding
– The AI is challenging, and will attack you where you’re not well defended
– Very stable game. Not had a single crash
– The extra research, and customization features really add to the fun factor
– Graphics are something to be desired for
– Learning to play might be harsh for new comers because tutorial is only a manual
Kyle Rees “Lordxorn” has been a Space Sector contributor since May 2011. Kyle is a credited tester on games like Distant Worlds: Return of the Shakturi, and Panzer Corps, and an avid World of Tanks player. See all Kyle’s posts here.Subscribe RSS
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