Sid Meier’s Star­ships

Tac­ti­cal in­ter­plan­e­tary bat­tles

Mac Format - - CONTENTS - Matt Bolton

£10.99 De­vel­oper 2K, 2k.com

Works with iPad, iOS 7 or higher

Deep down, we all just want to build our own ga­lac­tic fed­er­a­tion of plan­ets, don’t we? Star­ships prom­ises to let you do just that. It comes across as Civ­i­liza­tion (also by Sid Meier) among the stars. But this idea is also its pit­fall.

You are one of sev­eral nascent civil­i­sa­tions in the galaxy and you win by be­com­ing the largest or most ad­vanced. You win over un­claimed plan­ets by gain­ing in­flu­ence over them – which means help­ing them in com­bat mis­sions, spend­ing time there with your fleet, or sim­ply buy­ing them off.

Sadly, while this might sug­gest in­ter­est­ing in­ter-fed­er­a­tion pol­i­tick­ing to win over com­peti­tors’ plan­ets, it’s re­ally just a throw­away sys­tem. In­flu­ence only counts on un­claimed plan­ets, so the early game is a rush to grab as many as pos­si­ble. Af­ter that, if you want more, you’ll pretty much have to in­vade. It sorely lacks in good peace­ful/ trad­ing play or more un­der­handed tac­tics. In­stead, your op­tions are to fight or hang around.

For­tu­nately, com­bat is the best part of Star­ships. When you get into a fight or mission, you com­mand a fleet of ships on a small-scale map. Ships can spe­cialise in dif­fer­ent ar­eas, and great ideas such as shields that only work at the front mix with tools like cloak­ing to of­fer the po­ten­tial for some sat­is­fy­ing tac­ti­cal play.

That said, the AI is not all that smart, so it can be­come just a ba­sic laser-fest.

Easy to play in bursts

Fun space bat­tling

Light on strat­egy out­side com­bat

The AI isn’t par­tic­u­larly smart

Too light in too many places, but it still of­fers fun tac­ti­cal ac­tion when the game is at its best.

The smell of na­palm in the MacFor­mat lunch hour. Right then, who shall we cheek­ily go and in­vade next?

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