Monday, April 11, 2016

Startopia - 10/20 hours

The campaign is still in extended tutorial mode, but as the mechanics get more and more involved, I've come to the conclusion that the paucity of the game's information presentation is not just a flaw, but a fatal flaw. The last couple of missions have been fairly open-ended in their goals. Mission 6 introduced the biodeck and required me to expand my colony to four station segments and mission 7 is the first combat mission and requires me to eliminate the AI residents of the station.

Straightforward enough, but all I can think about is how I don't know whether my station is capable of growth, what kind of population I can support, whether or not particular buildings are profitable, whether or not I have enough maintenance and security bots. It's just a mess. I'm kind of dreading finishing the campaign and having to go into sandbox mode. Without a concrete goal, I'm not sure I can handle managing a station in such complete ignorance.

Which is a shame, because at its core, Startopia is a charming game. The aliens are cute, the tech tree has a logical progression, the curved environment of the space station is both unique and visually appealing. There's a lot to like about it, and I suppose if one played enough to gain a reflexive intuition for the life of the station, it wouldn't be so bad, but I can't help but think that it would be so much better if the management aspect of the game weren't pure guesswork.

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