By Mento 5 Comments
15/05/12 - Game #14
The source: GB user(via 's giveaway). Thank you!
The pre-amble: Starscape is a shoot-em-up in space-sim packaging, similar to something like Star Control or WarpSpeed. Players need to balance their sim aspects, such as mining for ore, researching and developing new technology and outfitting their spacecraft and mothership while simultaneously mowing down hordes of hostile "Archnid" (though they're more Borg than spider aliens) ships.
The playthrough: I really didn't know what to expect of Starscape. From the first impressions, it looks budgety as hell. All the illustrations appear to have been done by the designer's DeviantArt user girlfriend, the text is rarely capitalized correctly, instructions are often poorly conveyed and the controls confusingly mapped and it's not really doing anything to set itself apart from the other, better-funded games in this recent wave of space-sim/shoot-em-ups. That said, it was an enjoyable enough diversion: The combat's relatively simple to get to grips with, without ever being too difficult unless you're foolish enough to let yourself get utterly overwhelmed; the new technologies are distributed at appropriate times to maintain a level of challenge and there's plenty of mining and side-stuff to do once the chores (taking out the enemy-generating mothership of each "zone") are done. Careful exploration nets all sorts of boons, such as recovering lost crew members and finding the friendly aliens who will share technology with you. It's not a deeply complex game, but it's enough to grab one's interest for a few hours.
But guess what? This game costs $10. The Ur-Quan Masters is a free download. And really, Star Control II blows this game out of the airlock and then some. Starscape's quite clearly an homage to the Toys for Bob classic, presumably from a place of "SCII was awesome, people should make more games like that. We should make more games like that." So in that respect, I'll give Starscape credit for trying to follow in the footsteps and put their own spin on a truly worthy game. But yeah, play Ur-Quan Masters instead if you never have before, and maybe only give this one a spin if you've played SCII to death and always thought it needed an art style straight from the Beginner's Guide to Drawing Manga.
The verdict: Probably not.
(I clearly have no business casting aspersions on someone else's artistic ability...)