Gameplay: This is a top-down scrolling spaceshooter and the core of the game is similar to the old 80s classic, Xenon II. You’re free to fly anywhere on the screen and you just need to survive through the levels. Of course, this isn’t actually an old game, and there are some big pieces which bring it up to date. These components include ship upgrade systems, level select screens and money earning mechanisms. We emphasise on these points because sometimes it’s easy to forget about how much effort goes into making games and many players nowadays just take these kinds of things for granted!
The enemies here have energy bars (so not all one shot kills), and generally the slower moving opponents will be beefier. As you amp up the difficulty level then the enemy energy levels will increase accordingly. To balance out this unfairness you have an upgradable spaceship where you can change your turrets mid-flight. There’s also this mining drill which can let you harvest money from special asteroids.
Interface: Relative touch is utilised, so once you’ve put your finger down, where you move relative to that point is where your ship will fly to. Though to be honest you’ll probably instinctively start off putting your finger over the ship… and in doing so you’ll spend a while thinking that you can’t see your own vessel!
When your finger is in contact with the screen then you’ll automatically shoot. Once you’ve upgraded your ship you’ll be able to swap your weapon setup by tapping icons at the bottom of the screen. Unfortunately, there’s no multi touch ability, which means you need to release your finger to tap on the bottom of the screen and then retouch the screen to resume control of your space ship. If we were being really optimistic then we’d say this is a natural challenge built into the game… but to be very honest it just seems like incomplete user interface programming…
Graphics: The images are realistic and detailed… unfortunately, they just didn’t really do it for us. We mentioned Xenon II at the beginning, and that 80s hit at least had some decent animations. In Starship Commander the ships are single orientation flat images that just float about. It took us a while to realise what was weird because the game itself seemed passable. The worst thing is that once you realise this problem you can’t keep playing because the lack of animation is just so jarring.
Music and Sound Effects: My friend overheard the music whilst I was play testing and said “I don’t like the music… it sounds like someone just got their mate to jam out a few random tunes to put in.”… this description is quite true and there doesn’t seem to be a strong positive vibe from many of the sounds in the game.
Good and bad points: Ok, not everything is bad here because we did spend a bit of time playing through a whole galaxy of planets. The reason for this is because we really liked the ship upgrade system – it was pretty addictive and the money seemed to be balanced just right to keep us eager to shoot through more enemies.
Rating: 2/5 Starship Commander is a decent playable game which is a good effort from an indie developer. Though it has some holes in it, not everyone will see them and those people who can see past this should find this a pretty good time killer. To be honest when I started writing this review I was bit more optimistic about the game, but as I started to analyse the core it just kind of fell apart.
Starship Commander Promotional Youtube Video
Starship Commander Tips from Android Games Review
- Each galaxy has their own shop which sells different upgrades. So although, the first galaxy doesn’t actually have any singularly amazing upgrade, you can combine components with addons from other shops to make your ultimate spaceship.
- If you find yourself losing to any levels then you can replay them at easier difficulty levels. Alternatively you can farm money in the easy levels.
- The enemy attack patterns are all pre-specified so if you play a level enough then you’ll remember where the enemies will be coming from.
- The mining drill works from great distances, so as soon as you see those weird asteroids then tap on the drill quickly.
- The three star grading system doesn’t actually seem like it contributes anything. However, you can earn more money on some of the hard levels.
Developers: Tubi Games