Got to spend some time with SpaceForce Constellations this weekend from Dreamatrix, and if you are familiar with SpaceForce Rogue Universe or Homeworld you will feel right at home playing this game because it is based around the same factions and game universe from the previous games (especially SpaceForce Rogue Universe).
Constellations is a turn-based grid strategy game where you play on the side of the EMD and your mission is to gather information on the activities in the galactic core. This will take you both through friendly and enemy space and you will have to do small skirmishes and home base battles on your way to the core. Skirmish battles are done on a grid and you take turns deciding your moves or whether to retreat. You have normal attacks, specials (uses resources) and defending tactics to get you through the battle. You will want to try to keep your units alive because they do gain rank and get more powerful as they go. On occasion you will have home base battles which are turn-based as well and you have have two bars, Armor and Shields. When the Armor bar runs out you or your opponent will be dead. So you will get random battle cards that you can use for battling and some have negative/positive effects for you during the battle.
All of these battles grant experience to you as well and you unlock more ship options and can increase the amount of ships you can have in your fleet. Most of the time when you win battles and you have cleared a sector you will get the ability to do some mining (gather crystals for use with special attacks) and searching for life which also rewards you with crystals, both of these are small mini-games.
I would say I am about half way through the game with about 38 sectors cleared. So I can give you a good idea on the Pros/Cons of the game.
- The battling system is pretty easy to figure out if you have ever played a turn-based game you should feel right at home. Save often because you will find yourself getting a good ship killed from time to time because of improper battle strategy.
- The music/sound effects are good.
- Like the fact that if you have played any previous SpaceForce title you will have an idea on the races and some background on then if it is not expanded upon in game.
- Unlocking medals/achievements
- Tooltips. It is much needed here with the interface and help immerse the player more into the game. It would have been nice to mouse over enemy ships and get some background on the ships and their factions attack strategies. Plus when you are on base there is really no instructions on how to do or use certain features of the game.
- Story. Where is it? I started the game and no intro and a very brief description on what I am doing, the strategy game play is good but coming from a person that likes to be involved in a game a story is a must. Little more story based pieces added to the game would be a huge plus.
- Would have liked the ability to upgrade the home base and each individual fighter with maybe the use of a tech tree or from resources found, would have added another layer to the game and it would have improved the depth a lot more and most turn-based strategy games do this.
- Would have liked the ability to either move my ships on the grid or have only a single ship retreat.
I think Constellations is a decent performer besides some of the negatives I posted, but these are fixable with a patch or DLC. Overall the game ran great and never had one issue to speak of. I am still playing it because it is fun and has some tough battles and you really have to think about your strategy and learn the enemy ships to be successful. I have always liked the SpaceForce titles from Dreamatrix and hopefully they will keep on pumping them out and supporting them. I would give Constellations a 80% it performs well it just needs a bit more polish to be a complete game. I personally think that this game and its interface would work nicely on a tablet and Dreamatrix should think about porting it to reach a wider audience.
You can pick-up SpaceForce Constellations on GamersGate and while your at it also checkout SpaceForce: Rogue Universe.
Here is the trailer for Constellations…