So upon loading up this game I get a little menu that pops up. I decide to click on input and see what the controls are:
Well it turns out they are blank…. this probably won’t go well.
Next on the list of OMFG THIS GAME SUCKS I get to see this:
How could I be so foolish, you ask. How could I not know this game was created by the single worst publisher on the face of the Earth, Paradox Interactive.
Paradox has their army of Euro nerds constantly defending them because some of their games are playable. My response is Sword of the Stars 2, Gettysburg: Armored Warfare,
But this game is developed by Pisces Interactive, a studio I have never heard about. So maybe I’ll give them one shot and then never play again. They also made a pretty sexy trailer for this game.
So after getting past this I get to a user login screen…
Now maybe someone can explain why a $10 game needs a user login screen to me. On top of that they want to register my email so they can send it off to all the hackers. More than likely it is for future Paradox product information that I have no interest in. AND they want me to confirm with a validation code. There is no copy and paste feature here so I have to alt tab constantly in order to get this thing inserted.
Okay so none of this has to do with core gameplay, it has to do with dodgey DRM related practices that make this whole process as obtuse for gamers as humanly possible, thanks Paradox.
You start off being prompted do you wish to play the tutorial, the answer for this kind of game is always, NO, I don’t… but I will anyway… in case it’s actually complicated… but it won’t be.
So upon clicking on tutorial it leads me to this screen:
Unfortunately all the buttons are greyed out and nothing can be selected…. I restart the game hoping I’ll actually get to play. So I load it up and it gets stuck on here:
And it gets stuck here. Yes Paradox we are aware you make shitty games.
So 30 minutes into gameplay and I haven’t played a game yet. It continues to freeze up at various phases.
So after this is all done I can finally play the game, yay.
So you control a fleet (one ship is a fleet!) of ships. Each ship when you click on it will display it weapons. Each weapon has an aiming direction. So the portside guns can only fire portside, the broadside guns only fire broadside, the forward guns only fire forward and the aft (rear) guns only fire behind you. This means that in combat you will need to rotate your ship around a bit to fire off multiple guns. Alternatively if your opponent moves around you, you will fire off guns.
The guns do fire off automatically and the only point in choosing what to fire upon might be so that you hit one ship over another. But since you are fire to a region instead of at a ship you are most likely almost always going to miss because except for AI, no one just sits in position… unless their rotor is down.
For funzies you’ve been given a force field you can deploy on one of the four flanks of your ship. It lasts one turn and can soak all the damage. It has a cooldown and can be used about every three turns, once again for funzies.
Other funzie features include invisible mines and stealth.
Navigation is controlled by dragging a green arrow to go forward or a orange arrow to go backwards.
Both players do their turns simultaneously. This can be compared to a turn based game like Civilization in which both players go one after the other. This format wouldn’t work well because it would mean whoever goes first gains a serious advantage… except they don’t since guns all fire automatically anyway. The downside is that the actual strategic elements of turn based combat get ruined and truthfully this game could have just been done in real time combat.
So the game has a 3 mission tutorial in which you go through the painstakingly simple gameplay and a 9-mission campaign.
The 9-mission campaign is really hard. I mean really really hard.
Turn based games are known for having insanely hard campaigns, but this one is super hard. It almost feels like you need a second player there because of how hard it is. Which you can do, co-op campaigns. Unfortunately just not enough people play this game to do this.
On the plus side the game is cross-platform between iOS, cellphones, and PC. On the downside the games actually take too long to be a very good iOS game. The multiplayer lobby must be confusing on the iOS side because any time I get in one I sit there with Ready clicked for about 30 minutes and then nothing ever happens.
There’s also something REALLY weird about the actual lobbies. I was able to start up no less than 14 lobbies simultaneously until I realized that I had to individually “Discard” each game. Once again I think this is something for the app side but it just doesn’t make sense on the PC side of things.
I think this is another terrible Paradox Interactive game and no one should buy it on the PC.
As for the tablet and smartphone.
I wanted to see if this game was available on Blackberry and it is in fact not. Overwhelmingly smart phone and tablet apps are super expensive for what you get. Angry Pigs (that’s all Blackberry has) cost about $10.
Unfortunately one of the odd features of the game is an always on DRM. This normally doesn’t have any effect on me because I have great Internet but I could see how this might be a problem for tablet and cellphone owners who pay tooth and nail for bandwidth.
But like I said, had I not had great Internet… I wouldn’t have noticed it.
So one day my Internet was particularly slow, my provider was doing an upgrade on my service and strapped me with low quality Internet. Boy was it ever noticeable. Everything was slow. Turns took forever because they had to be recorded online first (in single player). Shields seem to work forever or never. There was even a weird glitch in which shields would block all four sides.
So I’m playing the campaign and suddenly this pops up:
So no I do not recommend this game for PC, and I suspect it won’t work that much better on a tablet.
THE PARADOX BOYCOTT IS STILL ON!!!