I have long been a fan of Space Strategy games: Over the years I have played Homeworld (I, II, and Cataclysm), Conquest: Frontier Wars, Starcraft (I and II) and Star Trek: Armada (I and II) — and have completed most of them. For me, the challenge of building a base, creating an economy and an infrastructure, and then turning out a large fleet of battlewagons with which to annihilate the enemy’s base is immensely satisfying.
It would be fair to say that Space Strategy is my of my two favorite Genres. It comes a close second to Flight Simulation, but since the latter requires specialized hardware to enjoy, it is the space sims that get the bulk of my screen time.
Surprisingly, I did not embrace any of the plethora of online Space Strategy Games that have come out in the past few years, such as Earth and Beyond, Project Entropia or EVE Online, This is partly because of the real-time nature of these games required a time commitment that I was not willing to give, but mostly because of the cost — most of these offerings require a regular subscription of some serious coin. Unsurprisingly, I do not own a Game console, and never have; partly because neither Flight Simulations nor Space Strategy games are popular on those platforms.
I had tried a couple of space strategy games for Android Phone and tablet, but found them wanting… until I discovered Vega Conflict last night.
This Android game, created by Kixeye, runs on most modern phones and tablets: if your hardware is less than two years old it should run well, though it does look better on a larger screen like my Second-Generation Nexus 7. It also runs nicely on my two-and-a-half year old Galaxy S3, though the small screen makes the fonts almost impossible for my wizardly eyes to discern.
Having said all that, I am seriously enamored with this game. One thing that should be noted is that it requires an Internet connection in order to play.
If you try to start the game without one, it gives you an error message and will go no further. If you lose your connection while playing the game, it will drop you. Also, a Social Media connection like FakesBook or Google+ is highly recommended. More on that later.
You start the game with a base installation called “The Bridge”. This is your command center, and the nexus of your operations. This unit can create mining units, tech, ship and arms research labs, ship factories, Fleet Bays and other other support and defence units, which are laid out on the predictable isometric grid that we all know and love. Units can be upgraded at various costs in both materials (which must be harvested) and time (which may be avoided by spending the gold coins). Units can also be moved at will, but unless they are placed close to other units they will not get any power and will cease to function.
The tutorials are fairly straightforward, and walk you through the process of getting a base up and running and leaning the basics of combat. However, I found the tutorial on “strafing” to be frustrating in the extreme, and it took at least a dozen attempts before I finally got it right and was able to move onwards. This game is so good that it kept me up until 3am this morning — something that hasn’t happened in many a year.
That’s all for now. I’ll post more on this most excellent game… later. Until then, you can find me on Planet 5101. See you there.