Alpha Review: Starfarer
As some of you may have noticed, I have been busy attempting to write my own game. This has lead to a decrease in productivity from illiterategames.com, something I will be rectifying, by not being a lazy ass…
On a side note, I have found an amazing little alpha of a game currently in development, by a group called fractalsoftworks. They are currently in the process of creating a tactical top down space shooter (something I’m also working on). Infact the more I look at Starfarer (thats the name of the FractalSoftworks Game, not mine) the more, I wish I had started sooner.
So anyway, Starfarer, as previously commented, is a top-down space shooter. Currently the main meat of the game, the open sandbox environment isnt included, but what is currently there is an engaging tactical shooter.
The basic premise is as follows, you command a fleet of ships, the make-up of which changes based on the mission you are currently playing, against an AI controlled fleet, and you battle to capture control points. The control points are important, as they provide your side with “Re-enforcement Points” and “Command Points”, as well as boosts to ship speed, weapons and sensor range. Re-enforcement Points allow you to call in additional ships, that maybe you didnt deploy at the start of the battle, and Command Points, allow you to issue orders to your fleet.
During the battles, you manually control one ship, normally the flagship, which tends to be the biggest ship in the fleet. WSAD control forward, back, and rotation, with the mouse preforming the aiming, the left mouse button controls the shooty bits. Most ships come equipped with multiple weapons grouped into different firing groups, the game allows you to set these groups to auto fire, meaning you can concentrate on dealing death with your “anti-matter Cannons” whilst the AI, concentrates on intercepting incoming missiles with the point defence lasers.
Added to those controls, you also have shields, controlled by the right mouse button. Shields, work in the way you would expect, any damage the shield absorbs, pushes a bar labels flux up, but the amount of damage the impacting weapon deals, once the flux bar reaches its max, the shield drops, but not only that, you weapons systems are also disabled whilst the flux dissipates, these leads to some strategic thinking, as you balance doing damage to the enemy (firing weapons increases flux), and keeping your shields up. Sometimes, you just have to drop the shields, and take damage on the hull, just so you can keep firing.
When it comes to commanding the rest of your fleet, things take a slight change from the norm, in most games of this nature, you either have full control over your AI counterparts, via classic RTS controls, or you have no control. Starfarer on the other hand allows you to create objectives, which your AI buddies will then attempt to complete, each time you create an objective, or you manually assign an objective to one of your AI buddies, you loose a command point, once you are out of those, you can no longer create new objectives, or assign objectives to your wingmen.
Starfarer has the opertunity to become a great game, its currently very good, but some items need polish. The developer looks set to release v0.5 soon, which will flesh out some of the missing functions, and if the current quality is any indication, push this game forward to new heights.
The game is currently available to purchase from fractalsoftworks.com for $10, which gives you access to the current build, and all future builds, including the finished game.
Personally, even if the developer abandons now, for the cost of a starbucks coffee, the game as it stands now is worth it.
Game Play Video