While playing Vega Conflict, I saw an ad for another game – the oddly-named “Astronest: The Beginning“. That was before the brains behind Vega Conflict stopped offering coins in return for watching ads.. but that is another story.
I gave the game a whirl, and was delightfully surprised. While the initial concept looks similar to Vega Conflict, the execution is far different. For one thing, building ships and research are instantaneous, but use up a number of turns (called Access Points or AP), which accumulate over time. The player’s AP limit depends on the level of their “nation”.
Your Nation is a collection of colonized planets, Heroes (people that you recruit) and fleets. Each planet has facilities that generate Gold, Minerals, Research, Energy, Fleet Production and Cosments. Each facility can be upgraded for the requisite amounts of AP, Gold and Minerals. Upgrades are instantaneous, but AP takes time to accumulate, which amounts to the same thing. There is also one other currency – crystals – that cannot be mined, but may be received as a reward for missions or purchased.
Each planet may have a Minister – one of your heroes whose Governing skill gives the planet a bonus. Other heroes can be assigned to fleets (Destroyers, Cruisers, Battleships or Motherships). A planet can be operated without a Minister, but a fleet cannot go into battle without a commander. All heroes level up with experience.
The Good: Compliments
- Boots fast – under twenty seconds, far quicker than Vega Conflict or Star trek timelines.
- Runs on lower-end hardware than VC, and does not require a persistent internet connection.
The Bad: Criticisms
- The game does a good job of explaining the basics of combat, but leaves the player floundering when it comes to Trons, training, LDs, cosments, colonizing other planets and lots of other stuff.
- All of the female heroes (heroines?) are slim and pretty. I am not sure how I feel about this. I despise political correctness as much as anyone, but when you say “female head of a planetary government”, I think Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel or Madelaine Albright, not some gorgeous Blonde babe. Having said that, I do not want to see old, unattractive women introduced to the game for the sake of political correctness, but at the same time I don’t want to see people who don’t look the part. There are some who may consider that attitude sexist; I don’t care – and that will be reflected in my purchasing decisions.
- On a similar note, half of the men look effeminate or gay. These are the less experienced officers. The other half, the most experienced S-class heroes – have the mature, grizzled look that one would normally associate with experienced fleet commanders.
The Ugly: Errors, mistakes, and Bugs
- Poor Grammar: e.g.: when fitting out a fleet, it says “Equipping” instead of “Equipped”.
- Spelling errors: Nuff said:
- In the Heroes screen, a Planetary Governor is erroneously described as a Fleet Commander.
Bottom line: A highly enjoyable game that I will continue playing, at least for the foreseeable future. Whether it will supplant Vega Conflict is yet to be seen.