Sid Meier’s Starships
Tactical interplanetary battles
£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?