Tag Archives: Space combat

Haven Review: Everspace

Everspace to put it simply, it’s amazing but if I ended a game review with a simple sentence I’d probably never get to review another title again. The game takes a page from other great space combat games most notably Star Fox in its combat, not counting do a barrel roll though. The controls for combat are very fluid with a option to increase the sensitivity to make things easier on both veterans of the genre and new comers.

One of the best features of the game is the ability to change the difficulty before you begin a play-through. So if you are having issues you can set it too easy which just decreases the amount of credits you get as you play through, but this can be rectified by putting all the credits you do own into the perk which enables you to find more credits which leads to increasing your threshold of money but keeping it on a easier mode.

Speaking of perks found in most RPG’s or ARPG’s are skill tree’s and although this is definitely NOT a Role-Playing game it does carry over that element, with the ability to perk out one of three ships so you can progress through the game easier and accomplish the mission you sent out to do.  Now you expect that after you die you would re-spawn back at your base of operations and in this instance you are not far from the truth.

However, the game does play off the fact that you did indeed die and one of the main focus points of this game is that you are the clone of the man who created you. So every time you die a new clone of yourself takes over and you got to start your adventure all over again venturing into space straight from sector one, much like the Star Fox games of old on the Super Nintendo and the Nintendo 64, the game is not very forgiving in this respect.

Not to mention its not very forgiving either when it comes to equipping your ship with better equipment. Although you can pick up blue prints and new colors as well as you are venturing through the game, not to mention finding better weapons. You never get to keep the weapons you equip and find only the blue prints and color schemes. Which is all well and good but all the items you can make or store are only found in stages and you only build better weapons or equipment during a stage and not launch into battle with them.

This is quite tedious as you got to mine materials during stages, hopefully while you are not being attacked and then proceed to the crafting screen to make your new equipment, not to mention that while you are crafting you got to ensure you also have enough materials left just in case a crucial function of your craft goes out.

Finding materials to keep your ship going is crucial to the game-play, and on one particular run my life support went out and with it failing and not being able to get the materials in time I spun out and blew up ending my current run. So knowing and having a balance between materials, and items you want to craft is crucial if you want to go for long runs.

However though the biggest issue I tend to encounter is getting fuel for my ship to make jumping easier between sectors and stages. You can attack the neutral NPC’s to get fuel but then for the entire sector they will all come after you making getting to the end game much harder for yourself, so you really got to choose your battles. Because they will occasionally aid you in fighting the various enemies you will encounter as you play through.

All this together helps make Everspace though one of the best action / space combat games I have ever played. With the opportunities to make my ship how I want, a selection of various enemies I can fight and countless ways I can customize my ship for combat. All while adding a reason to explore all the sectors you visit and adding anomalies to make the space combat even more thrilling, such as lightning storms, in space!

The great soundtrack, compiled with the well driven story and beautifully drawn cut-scenes makes Everspace a game I can’t put down. I hope whatever the studio is doing right now involves a sequel and fixing the occasional crashing bug on the Xbox One. All in all, even with that bug this is a game I would recommend to everyone. Regardless if you are a new to the genre or a veteran of the genre this is a game everyone can enjoy.

-Daniel Clatworthy

Haven Review: Battlestation: Harbinger

HarbingerTitleFirst up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Battlestation: Harbinger, developed and published by Bugbyte, Ltd., is not your typical space combat simulator. Yes, there’s strategy and tactics. Yes, you must periodically repair your base and upgrade your ships’ weapons and armor. Yes, you’re able to add ships to your fleet for extra firepower in your journey across the star sectors. What sets this game apart however is its sense of “portability”. The game is so intuitive that it plays equally well on both PC and mobile platforms.

Let’s take a look at the tutorial. Simply click the “Training” tab atop the “Select difficulty” page. The center section allows you to choose a ship for the mission (only one ship is available at the start), as well as a training phase (three are listed down the middle). Select Phase 1 and you’re ready to go.
HarbingerTrainingAs with all missions in the game, the first thing you’ll see is a strategic map. To help explain the process, I’ve added numeric labels next to certain items in the following screen shot:
HarbingerPrepThe white orb labeled “1” shows your starting position. A large green orb (not shown) resides at the end of a dotted pathway and represents your ultimate goal. Along the way there are many yellow orbs which denote stopping points along the path. These stopping points usually (but not always) involve some sort of combat or mini-mission. Go ahead and single-click the yellow orb marked “1a”. A tactical sub-map, marked “2” will appear. By default, whenever your ship arrives at a stopping point it will position itself in the center of the map. In the above screen shot however, this locale is dangerously close to a group of enemy ships (red triangles). You may want to select the grid square in the top-right corner to put some distance between you and the enemy. When you’re ready, double-click the yellow orb (marked “3”). After a brief “warp” animation, you arrive at the stopping point.
Harbinger2The above screen shot shows your ship at the new location, firing its default weapons at nearby enemies, while absorbing hits with its default shields. After defeating foes, you can collect the spoils of war. Cash and special engineering parts are your rewards. Before embarking on the next leg of your journey, be sure to visit the store to upgrade your ship. Simply drag and drop items from the store’s inventory directly onto the red and green nodes on your hull. There you are; instant upgrades!
HarbingerHullEventually you’ll earn enough to purchase companion ships for your fleet. You can take up to two of these companions with you on any mission.

Believe it or not, that’s the game. As you work your way along the dotted path toward the final green orb, your sub-missions get more complex and a bit tougher. Each yellow stopping point asks more of you than the last, but you’ll have all that upgraded weaponry and companion ships to help you.

So is Battlestation: Harbinger worthwhile? Yes it is. Priced on Steam at $10 (USD), the title is a good value. Add its 17 Steam achievements and you have a great value! The only problem as of this writing is a known crash/instability issue with the PC version of the game. The current remedy offered on Steam is to disable your antivirus. Interestingly enough, the above screen shots were taken before the final micro-patch; the game ran fine. But now it refuses to run with my antivirus enabled. I’m sure Bugbyte will soon take a bite out of those bugs!

HarbingerScale-Chris Roberts-

Early Access: Empires of Creation

EoCFirst up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Empires of Creation is an upcoming combat strategy game from Bundle of Sticks Studios. The title is currently in early access, and by that I mean really early. The game features neither tutorial nor instructional documentation. The developer offers a 3-page “Guidance Document“, but it’s merely a rundown of backstory, game objective and key-mappings.

The first thing you’ll see when you’re ready to play is the Galaxy Generator. Here you will create a spiral galaxy consisting of 2 to 5 arms. Each arm can have between 40 and 80 stars. You must then choose to populate your new galaxy with 1 to 5 enemy empires.

EoCGalaxyMapEoCSkullAs you fly around the galaxy you’ll run across individual stars…some with a skull-and-crossbones icon next to them. This indicates the presence of an opposing AI fleet (the game currently lacks multiplayer). Each time I maneuvered one of my fleets to engage the enemy, I saw that I was grossly outnumbered. The idea apparently is to get several of your fleets in position before diving in. Upon entering combat, the screen switches from the galactic map to a tactical arena with the local star and planets prominently in the center.
EoCBattleCloseupBy pressing TAB, you can take over one of the individual ships in your fleet and fire a red laser at an enemy ship. The idea is to line up the shot billiards style, with the laser acting as a pool cue, and the targeted ship as the cue ball. Blast the opponent just right and it will careen into one of its teammates, doing damage to both ships. This amounts to the only direct combat control available in the game, as of this writing.EoCPool1Ultimately, the goal is to take over the entire galaxy through an eventual balance of strategy and tactics…including a crafting & upgrade system, as well as negotiating with enemy forces. For now, Empires of Creation remains a future recommendation from me, despite is reasonable cost on Steam. I will be keeping my eye on this title and writing more as updates become available.

-Chris Roberts-