Star Command is a spaceship battle simulator highlighted by pixelated graphics, riveting war scenarios against a grand inter-galactic background, as well as multiple well-crafted tasks. But it is flawed by an inadequate tutorial and a bit slow progression.
There are strange signals out there in the cosmos. Could they mean the existence of other intelligent lives? Or are they just bait from hostile species? As a spaceship commander, you are to take on multitudinous missions from commander of the Star Command Fleet, comb one planet after another, and brave whatever discovery (or rather nightmare) ahead to bring things into daylight. Hordes of bloodthirsty zombies, anti-human Antorians (alien robots), and extraterrestrial venomous birds etc all threaten your lonely existence in the vast cosmos, and to your panic you find there is nothing but your crew, ship and wisdom to fall upon. This one-way journey truly leaves your back against the wall and this is a place that some would call hopeless.
You will not think the word “hopeless” as an exaggeration once you see what havoc the alien monsters are doing there and how weak races groan and huddle together under the iron rule of merciless dominating ones. Rivaling forces like zombies, Antorians, desperate green-skinned Midorians and more never cease-fire against each other and are almost unanimously ill-intended toward human beings. During your unwelcome journey, crew members may die, ship may be grievously damaged and sometimes you yourself may be the only survivor having luckily escaped from the ruthless grasp of invading aliens.
Bleak as the prospect seems, there is still a beam of light at the end of the tunnel. With sound plans, some vision and good reflexes, you have a chance to survive and restore order to this deceptively tranquil universe. What lies in your hands at the outset is nothing more than an empty spaceship and some tokens, in-game currencies that enable you to build and upgrade all kinds of rooms like Bridge, Dodge Generator, Healing Room and Plasmr Torpedo, and recruit crews that can be trusted with different responsibilities later on to make them tacticians, engineers, and scientists. With the first few functional rooms ready and crew in place, you are to take on a series of missions from the commander of the star command fleet. Following these missions, you ship will travel far and wide in the space, orbiting planets like Mercury, Venus, Moon, and Mars etc. Successfully accomplished missions will reward you with more tokens. Don’t worry about the shortage of missions, because the cosmos is filled with problems and the fleet commander never loses his confidence in you, unlocking one planet after another for you.
Different planets set different rules to play and offer multiple possible scenarios, which is really a beauty of Star Command. For instance, when you are face to face with arrogant Antorians for the first time on Mercury, you can actually choose between negotiation and direct fire exchange as well as multiple dialogue choices, which gives you a sense that you are really a spaceship commander who has a hefty say in the fate of universe rather than an impotent puppet forced to battles. Even if you fail to reach a consensus at the negotiation with the aliens, you can be assured you are going to have a unique battle. If on Mercury you must tap on spinning dots that overlap three circles on a certain map to fire at enemy battleship, you have to assign more red-shirted tacticians and allocate them to appropriate positions to shoot zombies that has teleported to your ship on Mars. While some planets test your fighting mettle, others require you to be patient and hold as long as possible until the Star Command Fleet commander persuades alien races in question out of fire. Naturally, these innovative varieties will not fail to whet your curiosity to see what things are going to be like on the next planet.
However, variety of scenarios does not mean constant change of gameplay basics. As long as you bear in mind the function of each room and member, you are able to cope with almost all situations. Laser Cannon and Plasma Torpedo are main offensive facilities on your ship and enjoy increased recharge rate, token production rate and more once upgraded. Dodge Generator is a powerful facility to avoid incoming attacks. Battleship vs battleships will need skillful use of these facilities. But in case of man-to-alien fights, tactful use of crew is more important than anything. Crew members in red fire on any creatures boarding your ship, yellow ones can repair damaged rooms while blue one can heal injured members nearby.
Most of the time, deployment and strategy are only a matter of a few taps. But insufficient tutorial kind of forces you to learn them through series of trial and error. I died several times before fathoming what the spinning dots mentioned above were meant for and how dodge can be applied and suffered heavy losses when scrambling to reassign crew members. Painful lessons gradually shed lights on the controls of this game. Tap on a crew member, and you see an icon of reassignment, showed by a two concentric circles with one cross inside. For red-shirted ones, there is also a skill icon, tapping on which can upgrade their skills, but it takes time to recharge. During ranged fights between ships, useful icons of Dodge, Fire and more will be shown on the bottom, but they take time to recharge, making you realize how seconds count in these inter-galactic wars.
Despite a little hard-to-master controls, Star Command is a really entertaining spaceship simulator that offer rooms unique to aerospace industries to build, upgrade and repair, interesting crew members to hire, and most important of all a plethora of stars to explore with hundreds of aliens to conquer, annihilate and pacify.