Kromaia Review

Title: Kromaia
Developer: Kraken Empire
Version tested: 1.0k
Purchase from: GOG.com and from Steam

I have been following been following Kromaia’s developer since 2010 and yes it has been a long time coming and a lot of game changes over the years but the small indie development team of Kraken Empire finally has a 1.0 release and it was worth the wait.

So what is Kromaia about?
From what I can gather from both the manual and Kromaia website is that you are a trapped soul that is inside a mechanical unit (a ship). From within this ship you must traverse the multiverse for some answers. You seem to have a voice that gives you information and helps guide you on your journey through the multiverse. I believe the lack of upfront story is intentional by the develoeprs so you can fly around and uncover the story and what you need to do for yourself.

You start each level (which there is currently four of them) having to locate and obtain 20 components to unlock the gate to the next stage/level. But this gate is protected by a boss creature that can be quite challenging.

Your only guide in the game is the waypoint markers on your radar to show you where the next component is. I don’t think the levels are timed, so take your time and discover everything. You will come across puzzles and vaults that need keys to unlock. These vaults could contain special abilities, shield recharges or trophies of some sort, so it’s worth your time.

The enemy elements in the game are easy at first but then they ramp up in difficulty and will give any one a good challenge to complete a level without dying. What makes the game challenging is the weapons and the way the enemy AI comes after you. You only have 3-4 shield points so be careful and don’t get too close. Shields don’t regenerate so you will either need to get extra points form loot drops or don’t get hit.

I preferred playing the Kromaia with the keyboard/mouse combination, I tried my logitech gamepad but I thought it was a lot less accurate to use in this game. The movement and speed of the game is great and I thought it helped set almost a tense feeling to the game because the combat is quick and you have to stay alert for what is around you or you will get hit. Luckily every time you obtain a component your game is saved automatically.

There is also a timed trial/stay alive as long as you can game mode. It gets very challenging, I made it to the first boss fight and just didn’t have enough shield points to make it past.

Kromaia is very interesting game and reminds me a lot of Descent or even a more recent game of Strike Suit Zero with its degree of ship movements. But what Kromaia has on those games is speed and the shear destructibility of objects in the game. The game can be modded as well but I didn’t see many instructions on doing this and I hope some get created, would be nice to add structures and change the game a round a bit because the flight mechanics are great.

Now to some pros/cons of Kromaia:

Pros:

  • The game is very different from the normal space shooters and in that it makes Kromaia a refreshing experience
  • Flight/combat mechanics are very smooth and respond very well in action
  • I liked the art style and level design
  • The addition of puzzles/vaults is great, because it adds a exploration element to the game
  • Kromaia played between 80-105FPS the entire time I played on my mid-level gaming rig (fast)

Cons:

  • Would be nice to have more visual options available in the configuration
  • I would have liked to see a stronger story element, because I really did like the exploration and unlocking the puzzles in the game. Maybe a more elaborate expansion of the game in the future to cover more secrets/puzzles/exploration?
  • Would have liked some solid modding materials or even an editor, maybe get steams workshop unlocked so people can upload mods.
  • If you are a hardcore player and don’t explore and play only to retrieve the components and fight the bosses. The initial game will be pretty short. But the game has multiple difficulty levels and ship types to help with re-playability.

Conclusion

If there is one thing I could say that describes Kromaia it is unique. This uniqueness has been a great experience and definitely keeps you engaged.

I only saw a few graphical (mainly collision) issues in the game with the AI enemies. Besides that the game played flawlessly for me and I had no problems. Kraken Empire did a great job on Kromaia and I hope I see this game expand and modders build more levels and hopefully build upon the story. Feel free to comment on this post here or in the forum area for Kromaia where Kraken Empire does visit and respond. So give them your feedback and your support because this game is worth a try.

So where does Kromaia rank?
I would have to say 84% out of a 100%.

Do checkout the gameplay video below it will give you an idea of the gameplay in store for you in Kromaia:

Starpoint Gemini 2 Review

I have been following Starpoint Gemini series for some time now and did a review a few years back on SPG1. Both games are distributed by Iceberg Interactive. LGM Games has been focused on their series and you can see that LGM really took a lot of the player feedback and evolved the SPG2 into a very large open world game.

So what is Starpoint Gemini 2 about?

It has been two years since the end of the second Gemini war, the situation in the war-torn system is further from resolution than ever. The collection of freedom fighters named Gemini League is now reduced to a small group, with no power or influence, after losing their leaders. The Empire meanwhile, has used the re-opened Starpoint to occupy the once renegade Gemini sector – and beyond.

A multitude of Imperial warship fleets and mammoth motherships have crushed every trace of opposition. The situation was looking bleak, when they suddenly halted their armada and re-shifted their focus on fortifying Starpoint with staggering numbers. Rumors soon spread that they were afraid of something coming after them through the T-gate, from what was supposed to be the core of the Empire. What are they running from that makes even the mighty Empire tremble?

So with knowing this, you set out as a Capt. Adrian Faulkner in Gemini’s open world concept and free roaming game to unlock these rumors and secrets.

Gameplay and in-game experiences

You start the game and a tutorial will help you through the first encounters and navigation while you accomplish your first mission. First thing you will notice over SPG1 is that movement axis, you now can move on X and Y axis. Combat is generally the same from the first game with some improvements. The boarding and ship capture component has been improved upon and can be difficult at times because other ships could be attacking or possibly destroy the ship your trying to capture (Note: LGM did recently patch an issue with this and I haven’t tested this out yet). Your galaxy map is a great resource and is constantly updating and it is also hooked into your reputation so it should show factions that are not on your good side. But all of your missions will show up on the map.

Best thing is the fact that there is no more load screens that I have seen, yeah there is the worm holes but they don’t count since they pop you out at different locations. But you can go from one end to the other with just your engines (may take a while) but you can do it. There is a lot of interesting equipment items and I haven’t seen all the ships yet in game. Though I do find it odd for you to run into a lvl7 npc that has a ship that costs millions or tens of millions of credits when compared to my ship.

There is two modes free play and campaign mode. I am playing campaign mode for this review, but you are not limited in playing the game at all. You can still treat the campaign mode like the free play mode. I have been taking my time and doing asteroid (love the Borehole torpedo) and gas mining. Only thing I don’t like so far that I was able to do in the first game was send crew over to search a derelict ship, now I have to use nanobots to do it and it gets a bit expansive and you cannot always find them at the stations.

The visuals and the music has been improved greatly over SPG1. Some people had issues with the voices from SPG1 (not me) but the voices in SPG2 so far have been good. I have noticed that combat sometimes drowns out the dialog sometimes and you will have to read the screen. Would have been nice for the game to lower the combat sounds while this dialog is being played.

Hacking has taken a larger role in the game as well and you can do a lot more of it and get some rewards (ie: xp and loot), but depending on what you do this on you could get attacked. So watch it.

Now to some gameplay thoughts both pros/cons:

Pros:

  • Free roaming, you actually feel like you are in a big universe.
  • A fair amount of upgrades (engines, thrusters, weapons, missiles, torpedo’s, scanners, grappler’s, tractor beam, mining tools, etc…) and these upgrades have class levels and you can add enhancements to them
  • Depending on how you level your skills and tactics can really come into play later on in the game and survival at crucial moments
  • SPG2 expands upon having crew members and you can hire wingmen to add to your fleet. You can also purchase different types of wingmen ships for ships that have hangers.
  • The LGM team has been putting out patches to fix issues on a regular basis
  • Gamepad support
  • Modding. The steam workshop is open and mods are being created for SPG2. I would like to know where there is a ‘How To’ doc for modding SPG2?

Cons:

  • No weapon system comparisons at the stations when your trying to figure out what to buy, would be helpful
  • Need more informative descriptions on the system and enhancement tabs when looking through goods at the stations
  • When buying components/equipment for you ship the interface could be more useful. In that when you mouse-over an object to buy it will popup a info screen showing the comparable differences or show the top 5 closest prices trading in that good.
  • Seeing some glitches during combat with close proximity firing (under 100m) and I have seen issues where my ship is firing right at the target but a impact is not being seen or counted
  • Not really understanding the whole ‘enhancement’ tab, because I don’t really see any real enhancements to any of the systems I apply them too. Maybe changing the values to a percent of improvement or describe what the player is getting when it is applied.
  • I would have liked to see more npc’s doing mining, grappling, salvaging of derelicts and ship-to-ship trade activity
  • Would like to see the achievements in-game

Conclusion

LGM has done an excellent job with their sequel to SPG2 and the game has been getting some really nice user comments. It just shows that when developers listen to their player base that if they can deliver on some of those suggestions that a game will do well and surpass its previous work. LGM has a task now on how to improve upon SPG universe? Which they may not need to do depending on what can be accomplished in mods. Would like to see more player created structures in the game like stations, turrets and mining rigs. I will definitely keep playing SPG2 to complete this campaign and to see how big of a fleet I can amass and wreck havoc on everything that I can and I want to play the pirate role as well. I know you will get many hours and pleasure from playing SPG2 and with LGM patching the game on a consistent basis it only gets better. I am unsure if any DLC will be created, there was some for SPG1 so it is highly possible. So pick it up and enjoy it and do let us know what you think in the SPG2 area of the forums.

So where does Starpoint Gemini rank?
I would have to say 90% out of a 100%. Would give 100% if the developers add a SSC faction to the game and give us a station at the far edges of gemini space.

Do checkout the gameplay video below it will give you an idea of the gameplay in store for you in Starpoint Gemini 2:

Strike Suit Zero Review

Finally got to sit down and do a little game playing and the next game on my list was Strike Suit Zero from Born Ready Games. What a great twitched based shooter this game is, if you like fast paced action this game will be for you. I like the combat a lot and it is very challenging especially when you are trying to attain completion medals (I have yet to get a gold), so definitely not a cake walk here.

So what is Strike Suit Zero about?

In the year 2299, an interstellar war rages on. In a bid to save Earth from destruction, you must take control of the Strike Suit – a revolutionary fighter craft with the ability to transform into a lethal suit of space armor. Immerse yourself in massive fleet battles where your dog-fighting skills will directly affect the fate of the cosmos.

Here is the game trailer:

You will play out this action packed adventure over 13 missions, yeah I know what your saying… only 13 missions. But they are long missions with a good narrative, and you might just have to redo some missions like me when you want to get the completion medals or you missed the objectives to get the ship upgrades.

Besides the dog-fighting there is capitol ships, frigates, supply platforms, guard turrets, torpedoes and much more you have to take out during your missions. Not always knowing what you will face in your missions can really work on your resources, I found out a few times that I should have conserved missiles better or chose my load-outs better.

So there is definitely some planning and trial and error to successfully completing all of the missions to Strike Suit Zero.

I haven’t completed the game just yet, but I will and I think I have enough of the game under my belt to rate it and here is a few pros/cons that I have seen during my play time:

Pros:

  • Visuals are top notch. I played with all options to max and then I was a few missions in to the game and then my gfx card couldn’t handle the visuals. I had to bump the specs down because of all the stuff and action on the screen. So for those visual effect lovers out there if you have the hardware TURN IT UP you won’t be disappointed.
  • Audio and music tracks were solid and they were not annoying as in some games.
  • Mission structure was engaging and told the story well, especially with the in-game cutscenes during mission.
  • Lastly the combat was great and you can tell Born Ready Games spent a lot of time refining it. It is a bit arcade action, but it works well here and wouldn’t want to add any simulation type flight mechanics to this game.

Cons:

  • I would say I am near the minimum specs with my HD4890 and 4GB of Mem. And when the action is really heavy the game this might become unplayable in spots for you depending on your system specs. Not really a huge con against the game, but I think the minimum specs should actually be a bit higher to be able to play with good framerates.
  • Would be nice to know what you have to accomplish to attain either the bronze, silver or gold medals before you start the mission.
  • Would have liked to be able to issue wingman commands to help with attacking targets.

All-in-all Strike Suit Zero is a solid performer and its been a while since I played a game that is this full of action and the missions are nicely scripted too. Yeah there was some things I had hoped would be in the game like, being able to take suit form and land on the hulls of ships and engage them up close and more destructible ships with debris everywhere. I don’t think you would regret picking up this game and I would rate this a solid 87 out of 100.

I will definitely have to update my gaming rig to witness Strike Suit Zero on a three monitor setup or in very high resolution like in this video:

Have fun with it and please do support the devs and get this game and make sure you discuss your experiences in the forums.

Star Conflict OBT Review

Star Conflict is a space combat action MMO game from Star Gem Inc. It is currently in OBT right now so you can signup and give this game a spin. If I need to compare Star Conflict to something I would say it is Moon Breakers feel with a lot of World of Tanks elements. The base hanger screen is useful and similar to WoT in that you have eveything right there (store, warehouse, skill tree and ship stats). In Star Conflict you fight in PvP or Missions and build up your experience and your factions standing in the game world. You can use this EXP to spend on skills and unlock ship tiers. The stores have items you can buy with the credits you earn while playing missions or PvP action. There is some store items and ships that you cannot buy with credits and you have to use either real money to purchase special currency called ‘Galactic Standards’ or you can use the credit conversion in the store. Just like in WoT there is a Credit-to-Gold and Gold-to-Credit exchange system in place.

Unlike when I played the now defunct Black Prophecy I was very surprised about how there was no lag during my several game sessions, which is essential for any twitch based space combat game. Nothing is more frustrating than dying to lag and not your own doing. This isn’t the case in Star Conflict, never once had any lag during many hours of gameplay.

There is a few different activities you can do to build experience and earn credits and they are:

– [Fight] Arcade – (Players are divided into two teams and you have to destroy the other teams ‘Captain’)
– [Fight] Players – (This is the same as ‘Practice with Players’ except you earn exp and credits.)
– [Mission] Shipyard Defense – (Player only battle, where your team faces four stages of enemies that get tougher until the boss battle)
– [Practice] With Players – (This is same as Solo, but the match system tries to fill all bot slots with real players.)
– [Practice] Solo – (You play solo on a team of bots where your goal is to capture three enemy beacons.)

So what is the Pros and Cons of Star Conflict? Do remember this is a review of the current status of Star Conflict, keep in mind that this game is still in open beta and features and playability are bound to change before release.

Pros:

  • Graphics and sfx are really well done and smooth.
  • If you have more than one ship if you die they will let you use your other ship, so your not totally dead until you have exhausted all ships. But just remember you have to pay for repairs and ammo for them all as well.
  • Game ran smooth with no lag and the combat was fun
  • The skill tree is fairly large with a lot of options to build up skills and enhancements and resistances.

Cons:

  • I thought the store and warehouse interface was a bit clunky and could be better done. I accidentally sold and bought some things, which isn’t good. There should be a ‘undo’ button until you confirm your transaction.
  • In various PvP matches I played it I was so under powered. I think there needs to be a better system to create games that keep the ship/level of the players close. I mean I was getting killed in 2-3sec sometimes and that is way to quick when your supposed to have armor and shields.
  • There was only one mission scenario (PvE based) and it used the same map every time. Would like to see more maps and missions, because they are fun.
  • Would have like to see the environment take damage.

Conclusion

I really like playing Star Conflict and it seems to get updated fairly often (updated yesterday actually). Star Gem looks to be building a really good clan system, that I haven’t checked out yet but the foundation seems solid and the stats you can see on the clans are good. Star Conflict is a twitch based shooter so it is fast paced, and there is times where there is many enemies on the screen and your getting hammered from all sides and your just trying to get to some cover. So good stuff and I hope they keep up the challenging missions, I do prefer the PvE a bit more, because right now a newbie is a bit of a meat shield to the larger ships. So until you unlock a few ship tiers or Star Gem tweaks the match making system better. I haven’t read too much on the particulars, but I ‘think’ Star Conflict will be F2P when it comes out because of its cash shop. As of right now I only see a download for a windows client, maybe we will see more platforms or maybe see it in GooglePlay like Moon Breakers.

The OBT is definitely helping Star Gem fix all the bugs and add and customize new content. I think once this hits v1.0 it will be a solid game worth having on your machine. So download the OBT client and give it a try and let us know your thoughts on the game.

Here is a nice video showing off gameplay:

Dangerous Review

Dangerous.
Website: http://whoisdangerous.com/index.html
Version Reviewed: 1.1.0 (PC)
Download size: 414MB
Purchase Game: http://whoisdangerous.com/buy.html

Dangerous was released earlier this year with versions for the IPod, Android and PC/MAC. This is the latest version 1.1.0 and the developer Binary Helix have given the game a major polish adding newer higher resolution backgrounds and planets along with a new radial interface similar to the one seen in Mass Effect and cloud saving as well as host of other tweaks to the game, detail can be found on the site.The game is a sand box space trading adventure game viewed in the 3rd persons, described by the developers as cross between the X games, Eve and Elite. Although I would say that it is closer to Elite in it sprite rather than the other too, as with this type of game you can indulge in the usual actives such as trading, mining, pirating flying different ship and upgrading them ect.

Checkout this gameplay trailer:

SpaceForce Constellations Review

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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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…

Salvation Prophecy Review

I have been watching Salvation Prophecy’s progress for a while now and it is nice to see that Firedance Games has finally brought this great game to the masses for everyone to enjoy. Salvation Prophecy has game play similarities to games like Parkan II and Precursors but with a small twist, there is some strategy components to the game that gives it that added extra layer of game play that you will enjoy. But that is really where the likenesses stop, because Salvation Prophecy is a great game in the sense that it has taken good in various space combat and strategy games of the past and put them into one game. The one thing that I liked about having all of these different game styles in one package is that Firedance Games managed to keep the game pace moving throughout, you never felt like there was a boring time in the game.

So what is the game about?
In Salvation Prophecy there is a war going on against four different factions (Salvation, Free Nations, Drone Unity and the Wyr). All of these races fight over supremacy of the galactic resources which are the planets in the systems. The player battles for position by engaging in both space and ground battles. These battles will reward you with medals and credits you can spend on person equipment, ship components and fleet/output assets. In the later ranks in the game you will get the opportunity to become a faction commander and then you will have the ability to choose what/where your next engagement will be. During this time you will also have visions and access uncharted worm holes which will lead you to places where you could attain powerful artifacts that will help you in the fight.

Now to the Pros/Cons of Salvation Prophecy.

Pros:

  • FPS, Space Combat, Bounty Hunting and Strategy (battle/war management) in one game. How can you not like that.
  • Conflict progression against the races are displayed in subtle ways in status boards on the stations and in battle updates live as they happen
  • The artist for Salvation Prophecy was kept busy creating some very different planet surfaces for the outpost battles. The graphics are not high end quality, but they are believable landscapes and not too much is over used from areas to area.
  • Ship and station combat is fun (really engaging on harder difficulty levels) and the effects are all the way around from engines trails to explosions to the spacescapes.
  • The game concept itself, not original, but it was done well. Playing one of four races all with there strengths and weaknesses.

Cons:

  • I noticed during my gameplay that on occasion I will see laser blasts or npc movements will sometimes ignore solid objects like rocks and will go through them.
  • As you progress through the ranks you will become a in which you are a commander of all the forces. I think you should be given the respect that is do to you. I think station communications should address your rank properly. Anything that can be done to show that the rank you have attained is important.
  • I would have liked the ability to stage a station and a outpost battle at the same time, so I could onslaught a whole planet with my forces.
  • I would have liked the ability to outfit my 20 soldiers with what I could afford for weapons and shielding. That and it would have been nice for you soldiers to visibly change to show promotions/ranks or battle wounds as the game progresses.
  • Need more of the small things like; medical bay for the wounded, see mechanics working on ships and other station maintenance, soldier barracks and officer quarters

Conclusion

After looking at my Pros/Cons. I don’t think there is really anything glaringly bad about Salvation Prophecy and it has been one of the best bug (no crashes) free games I have played recently. Most of my Cons I pointed out are really just suggestions to make the game even better. I think the biggest selling point of Salvation Prophecy is the audience it can please, with having game play elements in strategy, space combat and first person mode you are not locked into a certain play style and you don’t get bored either. I lost track of time while playing this game because the jump between space battles, ground battles and strategy elements are just about perfect. With all of that I give Salvation Prophecy a grade of 92%.

Salvation Prophecy is available on GamersGate and Steam. I’m not sure what Firedance Games has in store for a sequel or expanding on to the current game universe. I do hope it does well enough for this to happen and I am sure once you try the game you will know why it is doing well in the player rankings. Jabberwocky is the creator and lead developer and frequently chats with the SSC community over the past several years and he has been very engaging and willing to respond to all comments from the SSC members.

Checkout the latest Salvation Prophecy trailer below:

Not sure if you want to buy the game just yet…. play the demo.

If you have any questions or comments on the game make sure you leave them here on this article or in the forums.

Lunar Flight Review

I know most of you remember the classic Lunar Lander game that came out over 30+ years ago well Shovsoft has created Lunar Flight which brings Lunar Lander into the realm of 3D and great physics. So if you remember Lunar Lander at all you should know that the basic concept of this game is to land safely at your destination and not damage or destroy the lunar module. Shovsoft has done an amazing job with the look & feel of Lunar Flight, put on a pair of noise canceling headphones on and play on full screen mode and you will start to get sucked in to Lunar Flight’s complex physics and lunar landscape.
What can you do in Lunar Flight?

Well you start on the surface of the moon and you can pick between a few mission types like transportation of cargo to other landing sites, moon surveying missions, finding lost cargo, timed trial challenges and achievements for accomplishing certain feats of expert piloting. Hey I earned a achievement really fast, I destroyed my first module in a matter of minutes. As you complete missions and challenge trials in the game you will acquire experience that will help you unlock items for purchase to help improve your survivability. There is three different types of maps that you unlock as you raise in rank and each map has a difficulty rating (Easy, Medium, Hard) assessed to it.

I played the game mostly with the keyboard since I don’t own a xbox controller and my joystick doesn’t have the ability to rotate on the x-axis. I’m sure the controls are a lot more refined with a controller, but the keys did a decent job in controlling the module in flight. There is a bit of a learning curve when you first start to fly the module, but what helps is that Shovsoft has created a bunch of video tutorials to help with quickly learning the game mechanics and controls. After watching a few videos I was lifting off and actually doing well on some missions, on those long missions you might have to refuel to get back, had a few missions where I ran out of fuel.

I have a list of the Pros/Cons of Lunar Flight from my experiences during a few days of playing and watching the tutorials.

Pros

  • The lunar module and the moon surfaces are just plain great looking, it is what I expected if I was there for it to look like.
  • The background astronaut chatter and music soundtrack really sets the mood of the game.
  • The interior switches and gauges work inside the lunar module.
  • No lengthy flight manual, just some nice tutorials to watch to get you going.
  • Achievements and leaderboards

Cons

  • Once you get behind with money and your in the negative you can reset your character to start over but you reset all progress/rank/achievements. Which isn’t a bad thing if your a veteran at playing Lunar Flight, but when you crash and burn a few times or run out of fuel you will get deeper in depth and soon it is hard to get out without a reset.
  • I would have liked more camera contol, because I found it to be more difficult to navigate/fly sometimes with the camera views supplied.
  • The Lunar Module seemed a little fragile, I like the realism but it bruises easy so watch the landings.
  • No demo, I think if more players could experience one mission that they would be enjoyed on how realistic the game is.

Overall I have had a fun time playing Lunar Flight and give it a score of 86, even in my frustrating moments where I was so close to the landing pad and run out of fuel (those are the most frustrating) I just jumped right back in and tried again. I tried to learn from these mistakes and tried harder to conserve fuel by utilizing the thrusters more efficiently and using the low gravity of the moon to my advantage. Shovsoft has done a great job on the whole landscape of the moon and making it feel lonely. There isn’t much I would change in Lunar Flight besides adding some more difficulty settings for the flight itself to help people that have difficulty grasping the no gravity flight laws. Do you need to be a hardcore space simulation fan to love Lunar Flight? No. I think it is a nice simulation that adds some nice features to old game concept from years ago. There has been a little talk in the SSC forums about possible sequels on other planets depending on how well Lunar Flight sells. This is the first game from indie developer Shovsoft and I hope more people find and play Lunar Flight because it definitely deserves a look. That is why I mentioned a demo as a ‘Con’, because I think if it had a demo there would be more people buying it. It’s tough to get a feel for this type of game through description or a video. So give Lunar Flight a try, I don’t think it will let you down and it should give you many hours of enjoyment.

So check out the video below and make sure you go and purchase Lunar Flight.

Here is a video of Lunar Flight in action:

Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Dawn Review

Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Dawn (WCS) is a fan project based on the Wing Commander Universe that has been under development for ten years now and is a standalone game that will be free to download and experience. Wing Commander Saga is based on the FSO (Freespace Open Engine) from Volition (creators of Freespace series). Do you need to have played any of the previous WC games to play WCS? No, not at all. But it would help if you did, because you would know the background of the story and some of the destinations, characters and ship types. I dabbled a bit in space games off and on in the 80’s and 90’s and when I got my hands on Wing Commander for the first time that is what really sucked me in to this genre of games and I have enjoyed them all ever since. Origin System was on top of the world of PC gaming back in the early 90’s with their WC and Privateer series of games and at that time Origin Systems was making the games with the largest budgets for that time period. The Wing Commander series of games really launched space/scifi gaming into the mainstream and Wing Commander Saga has done a great job in keeping the look & feel of the original games and really writing a great background story to work your way through and enjoy.

The references to sectors, ships and characters from previous Wing Commander games is a nice touch indeed and if you have played any of the particularly WC2 and WC3 games you will start to smile when you hear comm chatter and mission briefings referencing these. WCS takes place in the time period in-between WC2 and WC3. Currently WCS ships with two campaigns the ‘Prelude’, which sets the stage for the Darkest Dawn and the main campaign ‘Darkest Dawn’. You will be playing as 2LT David ‘Sandman’ Markham who is assigned to the Diamondback Squadron on the TCS Wellington in the Prelude and then you will be assigned to the TCS Hermes in The Darkest Dawn. I would recommend that during the prelude that you really read the stories in-between each mission because there is a nice story there that will set the stage for the game itself and you will get to know who you are and the wingmen in your squadron. Also during the install itself there is some nice background to the history of this time in the WC universe. I won’t dive to much into the story because I want everyone to be surprised.

Something that I did notice and haven’t dug to deep into was the modding ability and the multiplayer, I’m sure its in the docs that I didn’t have when reviewing the game but I will get the low down on these and update the review at a later date.

What I will talk about is my impressions (pros/cons) on playing both WCS Prelude and Darkest Dawn. And before I start, the version I played was release quality so it is the final version for the most part.

Pros:

  • I was very impressed with the FSO engine used for WCS and the visuals were really nice and enhanced the immersion of the game and combat for me.
  • The Confed and Kilrathi ship models were AMAZING looking and brought me right back to playing the originals, it was just nice to see them in this engine because they looked great.
  • Mission construction and briefings were well designed and constructed well. The mission animations and small videos added to the intensity of the situation and the objectives were easy to understand .
  • Voice acting was done wells, especially the mission briefings. The Kilrathi screams and taunts were classic and I don’t get tired of them listening to their dying in a scream as they explode.
  • Controls and settings. I thought the settings page was designed all and you have quite a few options to enhance your game play experience and configure your controls the way you like them.
  • Your wingmen are actually pretty good, not like the originals where you did the majority of the work. There will be times where you get mad because they steal your kill.
  • Last but not least, the Technical Database is amazing a lot of effort was put into this so make sure you check it out!

Cons:

  • Game would have been complete for me if we were able to move about the ship or converse with our shipmates like in the other WC games. Not a game killer at all just would have liked to have had it for nostalgia sake.
  • The collisions with the larger corvettes, destroyers and carriers could have been handled a bit better. Because at times I would see the insides of the ships or get caught up on something. Overall the collision damage was a nice addition and you can take other damage on a collision like to your sensors.
  • This might not be a negative, because I haven’t played all the way through the game to find out if you do have the ability to choose your own loadout. Right now I don’t have that ability and I have played about 15-20missions and all of the prelude.
  • For the reward/medal system, it would have been nice to mouse-over the ribbon and see a brief summary of how you acquired it (ie: mission name and stats to acquire medal).

WCS is one of the best fan projects that I have played to date and there is no doubt I will finish this game up soon, possibly before official release Thursday (3/22). The way the story missions flow are nice and the missions make sense for where you are in the conflict and are not just random filler missions to keep you occupied. I hope Chris Roberts actually finds the time to seek this game out and maybe playing it will be what he needs to spur him into action to revisit the Wing Commander Universe and make some new games. But playing WC Saga was more than just a game for me, it was more like a resurrection of sorts for a game franchise that I thought would never be seen again. The WCS team definitely needs to sit back and enjoy all the great comments that will definitely come their way when people get to sit down and play the final product. Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Dawn is a great fan project and I highly recommend you play this game, old veterans of the series will love this and new people to Wing Commander will get a taste as to what the original games were like, personally I like this HUD better in WCS than the original WC HUD.

So have fun everyone with Wing Commander Saga, it comes out in less than a week and SSC should also be a mirror for the download as well when it is available. Word to the wise when you play, listen to your wing commander and if they tell you to form up you might want to or they might leave you behind. And do take a look at the Technical Database there is a whole bunch of great info in there. And if you want to get the full immersion make sure you play Wing Commander I and II first.

Below is the latest trailer for Wing Commander Saga.

Solstice Review

I came across Solstice about two months ago, it has now been officially released on Android and Windows. Solstice is a real-time space conquest game in which you have to try and conquer/capture as many planets and hold them until the end of the game. Solstice is a nice game to have and play on your mobile device or your PC, because when you only have a few minutes to play something Solstice will fill the need for space time strategy. The max game session you can have is fifteen minutes and you can make your session easy or hard depending on the amount of planets you select to have in your sector or by adjusting the difficulty level.

Solstice was created by Deepseaweed with the Unity3D engine. Deepseaweed has been very responsive to feedback and is looking into adding more features to the game.

Since I don’t currently own a Android device I played the the windows version, my guess is that it probably plays better on Android than windows. For the most part the controls are very simple to understand and you will be playing in minutes. You use the mouse and buttons for all of the controls in the game, all you have to do is master the 3D camera view and then you will be able to move quickly through the game map. Deepseaweed is thinking about adding a few keyboard controls to the game to make it easier to switch from camera mode to combat/colonization mode. When you start off the game you can start colonizing all the planets right away if you want. But you might have a hard time holding them all so you might want to take a more less forward approach.

So what did I like about the game?
The concept and the ease of use. I also like the fact that it is on Android, Windows and MacOS. If I remember correctly I think Unity3D can make multi-platform games so maybe we might see a port to Linux and Apple IOS in the future. The framerates were good, I was always above 60fps while playing, so good job there. The items that I think need work are mainly cosmetic and music/sfx related. The planets themselves are different by class types so that is good so ship production is based on planet type. What i would like to see is better textures for these planets, some space combat style music and if possible some more pilot controls (like: patrol, retreat, defend). With Solstice having good framerates, more attention could be made to the visual aspects of Solstice to wow those gamers that only want visuals. Solstice has the basic real-time combat down, so I think it is a few enhancements away from being a really nice game to have on your Android device and/or PC/MacOS. So check it out and let us know your thoughts and comments on Solstice here in this posting or in the forums.

Deepseaweed is good about getting back to all questions and working on issues or just drop in to give this indie developer your support.

You can download the game for PC here: http://www.indiedb.c…stice/downloads or in the download area.

Or you can purchase the game for your Android device from here: Amazon App Store.

Here is a gameplay video of Solstice: