Battlestation: First Contact Review

Battlestation: First Contact Review

Nov 19, 2014

Battlestation: First Contact Is an interesting mix of RTS and tower defence.

As commander of a large space station the player simply needs to survive by any means possible while wiping out the enemy. Gun turrets can be built in a number of slots on the station. These range from fast firing anti fighter lasers to slower heavy missile launchers for pounding the snot out of big ships. Having a good balance of weapons to combat different threats is as important here as it is in any tower defence.

Screenshot_2014-11-14-08-15-18As well as towers however the player can also construct Hangars. Once built these spit out fighter in a steady steam, providing mobile defence that can be sent to attack the enemy or cover the station as necessary. Fighter squadrons can be individually ordered about and while they cannot be moved directly, the player always feels like they have firm control over their pilots.

A shuttle bay can also be built that allows marines to be sent in troop carriers to opposing enemy ships to take them over and steal them from the enemy. Lastly, Earth can be contacted for reinforcements to bring in the big guns. This doesn’t come cheap however.

Screenshot_2014-11-14-08-37-08Of course all this fancy gear costs credits which are gained by destroying enemies and tapping on salvage. Marines and pilots are also a finite resource, so flippantly throwing away fighters or troops in futile combat will swiftly lead to disaster.

Battlestation: First Contact offers quite a few tactical options. Everything the player builds or uses can be customized like any good RTS. Turrents can have their targeting priority changed, while fighters can be more or less aggressive or dock with the station for upgrades. Shields can also be tweaked to either have more capacity or recharge faster. All of this makes a big difference depending on the situation.

Battlestation is a rougetype. This means when the player dies that saved game is deleted and they must start all over again from wave 1. It is very easy to lose it all very fast in Battlestation: First Contact if a tactical blunder is made. This makes the game tense but it is very aggravating being blown up after twenty minutes of gameplay. This is not helped by the repeated dialogue each game. Battlestation barely has a story to speak of and it is irritating to click though dry dialogue.

Battlestation: First Contact looks nice and minimalist. Its bright, simple graphics give it an inviting TRON like look with chaotic battles that are fun to watch. The sound is well done as well. A pumping techno track accompanies the action. The “pew pew pew” of combat gets the job done in a retro way, but a few more sounds would have been nice.

Battlestation: First Contact offers its first episode for free while additional episodes cost $3.50. If you’re good enough to reach the end of the first episode the later ones will likely be a good buy.

Battlestation: First Contact is a slick well-made game with a great meshing of styles its exciting tactical combat and fresh graphics make it a winner, even if it can be just a little too brutal sometimes.


bit Dungeon Review

bit Dungeon Review

Jun 4, 2013

I wanted to love bit Dungeon. A fast paced, 16-bit, rogue-like RPG, what’s not to like? Well, not much initially. The game dropped me straight into a randomized dungeon and I had to progress through it, clearing rooms of enemies and finding new loot until I reached the boss. After defeating him I went on to a new dungeon, with different enemies and better loot and it went on like that.

The graphics are great (if you’re not sick to death of 16-bit style games), the music and sound effects are suitably retro and there’s a good amount of variety in the enemies and the dungeons.

The controls are slick too, simply tap somewhere to move there or tap on an enemy to attack them, that’s about it. It’s really addictive in the early stages and it features perma-death (in other words, dying means starting the whole game again) so defeating a boss feels like a real achievement.

But bit Dungeon isn’t without its flaws. When I said that it dropped me straight into a dungeon I really meant it, there’s no story, beyond a vague mention on the Google Play page that the main character is trying to save his wife. The description on Google Play is also the only place where there’s any explanation of how to play. I missed that when I first started and was left guessing.
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There’s no character creation or choice of class either. The main character is always a warrior and while leveling up presents players with a choice of attributes to improve, the only options are ‘attack’, ‘critical’ or ‘health’, so there’s not really any scope to specialize in a different area, making subsequent playthroughs feel similar.

There is magic in the game, but only one spell can be had at once and the game seems to randomly choose a new one at the beginning of each dungeon, so it’s not possible to really play as a mage.

The game becomes quite repetitive too, with only one character to control and only two attacks (hitting things with a weapon or firing a spell) there’s not much tactical depth and while the dungeons look good they’re all laid out in roughly the same way- a 3×3 grid of rooms with randomly positioned doors linking them up. Every single room has enemies in it and they need to be defeated to advance. It goes on like that until the player dies or gives up.

Even the draw of shinier and better loot begins to dull after a while, particularly since the game doesn’t let me horde it to sell on later. It’s only possible to carry things that are equipped, so for example getting a new sword meant ditching that trusty axe that saved my skin more than once.

It’s not a bad game and for a while it’s really good fun, but with no real sense of change or progress the fun slowly slips away. Perhaps there’s a final boss and an ending where the silent protagonist is reunited with his wife, but if there is I haven’t found it, death always finds me first.