Many people spend the beginning of January reviewing the games that have come out in the previous year and looking forward to those on the horizon. I spent the beginning of January rewriting the whole of Sol Trader’s AI subsystems and so it’s taken until the end of January for to me to look back at what has gone before.
So before it’s too late: here are my top 5 space games released in the last 12 months.
This is a retro real time space-exploration sim and crew management game. You play the game by commanding a fleet of vessels wandering the galaxy, making tough decisions as you face hostile starships and interesting aliens.
The graphics are reminiscent of the classic game Starflight, and whilst the interface might take a little getting used to, the gameplay is solid and it’s worth a try.
#4: Rebel Galaxy
Space combat in Capital Ships in a randomly generated universe? That’s Rebel Galaxy. Like many games, the player makes their way across the galaxy collecting bounties and trading goods, but the emphasis on large scale ships is intriguing. The massive battles that you’ll occasionally run across are spectacular, and make the hard graft of upgrading your ship count for something.
I’m sneaking this one in here, as technically it’s an old game, but the Homeworld series is one you should definitely check out if you’ve not done so already. A remaster version was released last May, with updated graphics and remastered score completed with key members of the original development team. The game looks lovelier than ever, and still contains the wonderful strategic core game that made the original so much fun to play.
The follow up to the hugely successful Gratuitous Space Battles from Positech Games’ Cliff Harris sees upgraded ship visuals, better graphics and slow motion ship kills. The game “does away with all the base building and delays and gets straight to the meat and potatoes of science-fiction games” - namely colossal fights with stacks of ships and lasers. It’s great fun and is well worth picking up.
(Full disclaimer: I used to work at an AAA games company with Cliff several years ago: but his game is still awesome - go buy it! :)
This game is unlike any other on the list, and the novel idea is what makes it my favourite for the year. It features totally realistic space physics, with the player tasked with building a space program, starting with rocket that can take off without exploding. This requires the player to acquire a fundamental grasp of rocket science, which is as hard as it sounds. You’ll fail a lot, but keep coming back for more, and the thrill of actually launching your first ship successfully makes all the pain worthwhile.
Did I miss your favourite? Sound off in the comments.