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Author Topic: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games  (Read 10309 times)

Gothars

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Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« on: September 16, 2012, 11:47:25 AM »

This is an attempt to create a list of interesting tactical space games that did not get the attention they deserved. Actually, there are few tactical space games that got much attention, since it's a niche genre.
What I mean by "tactical" is that you have a small number (including "1") of ships and the game confronts you with situations in which you have to make intelligent use of all your ship's abilities to exploit enemy weaknesses and cover your own. So games that have a wide strategic approach like most 4x games, or games that a purely action-oriented shooters like Freelancer would probably not fit here.

If you want to suggest a game that might fit in the list please do so, part of why I'm doing this is to get to know new samples of this rare species. The other reason is to give fellow (soon-to-be) genre-fans a chance to discover some treasure they might have overlooked before or discuss the old ones.


Nexus - The Jupiter Incident
Spoiler


Nexus is a game from 2004 that will get a sequel this autumn. You navigate a hand full of ships via target markers trough the 3d space. Subsystem management and upgrading and clever use of weapons, special systems and fighter wings are at the core of the gameplay. The graphics are still very beautiful and it has a well really written and engaging story-line.
It's a bit hard to get into the game, because you have to get used to the indirect ship-movement control and the the tactical options are very limited at the beginning, making combat lengthy. But it get's better fast, and I have to say it's one of the best game experiences I had.


Availability: It's available on steam for 10€.

Videos:

Some gameplay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ0Ws3a8e1g&feature=relmfu

Cinematic trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VChQEwl2nMk

Game intro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=xlHashKnCLM

[close]


Flotilla
Spoiler


This is a peculiar little round-based game. It mixes unmatched precise ship-movement control and unforgiving difficulty with a silly cartoon-animal style. Between rounds you control the direction, orientation and facing of your ships, attempting to get hits on enemies vulnerable rear or underside while protecting your own. There is not much more to the gameplay, but those simple ingredients allow for a surprising range of tactical options and threats. The graphic is very simplistic, ships are unicolored and untextured, but it has a certain aesthetic to it and is not hard on the eyes.
The engagements are tied together by a simple journey from planet to planet, in which you have (sometimes hilarious) encounters with arrogant space-deer and one-legged flamingos. Truly unique in every aspect.

Availability: It's available on the creator's website ,  steam (and x-box live) for about 10$.

Videos:

Gameplay explanation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN5fJB0bo48

A let's play http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyO7t40CmMc&feature=related
[close]


FTL
Spoiler


Faster Than Light needs probably no introduction, as one of the first games that launched with the help of a successful kickstarter-campaign it does not really fit in the category "overlooked".  Still, the gameplay is so tactic-oriented that it has to be on the list. It's a space rogue-like where you have to manage and upgrade your crew and ship in order to flee from an pursuing enemy fleet. For more info look in the thread or on the game's website . Price is currently 10$.
[close]


Homeworld 1+2
Spoiler
1

2


These RTS games should be known to most space game interested PC-gamers. The scale of combat and the number of involved vessels makes it questionable if this is a tactical game as defined, but there are still a lot of tactic elements in it and the series is too important not to mention it.

The first game features an epic story, in which the player leads the people of Kharak in the search for their lost home world, which lies in the middle of an ancient hostile empire. Ships are produced on board a giant Mothership, which hyper jumps together with it's fleet from mission to mission. Homeworld introduced full 3-dimensional space, in which units can move up and down as well as to the sides, allowing for advanced tactics. Being from 1999, the game's graphics are quite dusty, as are the controls, but the aesthetics, atmosphere and superb narrative can still fascinate.

Homeworld 2 (2003) continues the story and gameplay of the first part. In my opinion, story and atmosphere are somewhat behind it's predecessor, but the graphics and controls are much more modern and easier to get accustomed to for a new player. Besides, it has a still active modding community, so by now you can fly ships of every sci-fi universe you fancy, be it Star Wars or BSG.

Homeworld 1's great intro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0_xM1uY6WY

Homeworld 2 trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odRUdN05q2c

Availability: As far as I know there are no digital versions available, so one would have to buy physical copies from amazon or ebay. Or find other ways. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
[close]

 
Starfarer
Spoiler
You did not really aspect a description here, did you? ;)  Well, the combat and the outfitting of the ships allow for involved tactics, so it definitely goes on the list.
[close]


Star Wolves
Spoiler


In this tactical action-rpg you lead a group of mercenaries in their struggle for wealth and glory in a galaxy ruled by mega-corporations and threatened by a unknown enemy. The Star Wolves operate from a carrier converted transporter that travels from system to system, doing trade and missions.
In combat every character pilots a fighter-sized craft and you have to make good use of various special abilities (and the smart-pause function) to win. As you progress through the semi-open story you upgrade the characters skills and buy new upgrades for their fighters. The graphics are nice but not too fancy, the same could be said about the story and the out-of-combat gameplay. The tactical fights and the rpg-progression are where the game is really fun, it reminded me a bit of a Baldur's Gate in space.
There was also a Star Wolves 2, but it felt more like a mission pack for the first part. I never tried part 3, but it has still the same engine as the first part.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lctIzr5Edo0

Some gameplay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-Gq3rpuY_Q&feature=relmfu


Availability: It's 10€ on steam.
[close]
« Last Edit: September 16, 2012, 03:09:04 PM by Gothars »
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Upgradecap

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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2012, 11:51:56 AM »

Flotilla looks good to me, but i don't know..

I have been craving for a such game, but i don't know, what does the game feel like/handle like? :D
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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2012, 11:53:02 AM »

You forgot Battleships Forever, maybe Captain Forever too. Played all of these though, hated Flotilla, pity too it was quite promising. Kind of the same with Nexus, everything about the game apart from the gameplay was awesome, it was just far far to slow and boring, something along the lines of Starfarers campaign would have worked wonders for it. And Homeworld, oh how I love Homeworld.

Just stopped playing FTL now, great game, so hard.

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Gothars

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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2012, 12:06:35 PM »

Flotilla looks good to me, but i don't know..

I have been craving for a such game, but i don't know, what does the game feel like/handle like? :D

There's a demo here: http://blendogames.com/flotilla/

If you like it you love it, if not...well, try it for yourself. I had great fun with it, but it's a small game so don't expect something epic.

You forgot Battleships Forever, maybe Captain Forever too. Played all of these though, hated Flotilla, pity too it was quite promising.
Kind of the same with Nexus, everything about the game apart from the gameplay was awesome, it was just far far to slow and boring, something along the lines of Starfarers campaign would have worked wonders for it.

BSF was never finished, was it? As I remember there are only some tacky missions and the rest is a grand spaceship building kit. Which is fun by itself, but no tactic game.
Did you finish Nexus? I started it 3 times, got bored, and only at my last attempt I pulled through and discovered how great a game it becomes once you leave sol. I'm quite exited for the sequel, just discovered it.
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Uomoz

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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2012, 12:32:42 PM »

Nice little thread! You should consider adding SPAZ maybe.
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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2012, 12:34:35 PM »

SPAZ is hardly tactical....
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Gothars

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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2012, 12:39:11 PM »

Nice little thread! You should consider adding SPAZ maybe.

Thanks! I thought about SPAZ, but it's more an action game I think. Actually, I wasn't sure so I googled "spaz tactic" vs "spaz arcade", it came out ~200K to ~2700K results :)
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Uomoz

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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2012, 12:42:22 PM »

Nice little thread! You should consider adding SPAZ maybe.

Thanks! I thought about SPAZ, but it's more an action game I think. Actually, I wasn't sure so I googled "spaz tactic" vs "spaz arcade", it came out ~200K to ~2700K results :)

That's a clever way to evaluate games characteristics xD.
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Gothars

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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2012, 01:46:02 PM »

Added Star Wolves to the list.


That's a clever way to evaluate games characteristics xD.

It's the Watson way ;D (The IBM computer, not the detective-sidekick)
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Catra

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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2012, 06:56:45 PM »

there's a few things i found wrong with star wolves:

- missiles: most of the time, they're not worth putting on, particularly the LRMs since they go WAY beyond sensor range, and havin a single dude go out and scout  out the enemy can be a bigger hassle than just having your carrier + fighter blob go over there and steam roll them. plus the super limited quantity you can actually have aboard a missile boat is crippling, it can get one volley out and then has to reload, and IMO most of the time the volley is wasted. the SRM and MRM are meh unless you spent points in them early so the enemy AMS or AAMS doesn't intercept them.

- passive systems: most passive systems are just weak. the remote repair and on-board repair just don't save you unless they're both top end and you're in a fairly sturdy craft(no, super high maneuvering doesn't help, since it obviously isn't working if they're plinking at your hull), in which case you might just die anyway, and the remote repair takes one of your ships out of the fight making victory less certain if you actually need to use it, plus it's obsolete endgame where weapons can one salvo you if youre not properly prepared, in which case these become redundant. the different levels of AMS and AAMS are redundant, enemies don't have skills for their missiles so you can run with the lowest quality missile defense and no MD perks and be just fine. so that really just leaves shields, engines and maneuver jets as options ( and RoF at end-game ).

- end game fights: end game just comes down to particle accelerator / plasma  / laser spam and made missiles even more obsolete. get one of the anti - energy systems and you can just roll through end - game easy. and sometimes enemy crafts don't have said defense, so it's even super easier.

- mercenaries: waaaaaaaaaaaay too expensive, i don't see how ANY traders in the game can afford those prices for the ludicrous long range journeys they go on.

that said, it's easy to mod most of this stuff into a more "feel-right" state than what it comes with.

Quote
I never tried part 3,

part 3 isn't really part 3, it's actually what part 2 was supposed to be(RE: a continuation, not a "heres more stuff to do im the current state of the 'verse")
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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2012, 08:52:37 PM »

Does StarTrek online count
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Gothars

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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2012, 02:39:52 AM »

Does StarTrek online count

I don't know, never played it. From what I heard it well might on the higher difficulties. Do you care to write a few sentences about it?

there's a few things i found wrong with star wolves:


Quote
I never tried part 3,

part 3 isn't really part 3, it's actually what part 2 was supposed to be(RE: a continuation, not a "heres more stuff to do im the current state of the 'verse")

I don't remember the game well enough to talk about the balancing details, sry. I remember missiles to suck, though.
So, would you recommend part 3, is it any good?
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TJJ

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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2012, 05:24:46 AM »

- GSB (Gratuitous Space Battles). Demo available. Video Review.
- SFC (Star Fleet Command) 1, 2 & 3. Demos available.
- Space Rangers 1, 2/Reboot. Demos available.
- SAIS (Strange Adventures in Infinite Space). Now completely free (direct link)
- Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space (SAIS 2). Seems the download links on the publishers website are broken; you might have to hunt around for the demo.
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Gothars

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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2012, 02:40:36 PM »

- GSB (Gratuitous Space Battles). Demo available. Video Review.
- SFC (Star Fleet Command) 1, 2 & 3. Demos available.
- Space Rangers 1, 2/Reboot. Demos available.
- SAIS (Strange Adventures in Infinite Space). Now completely free (direct link)
- Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space (SAIS 2). Seems the download links on the publishers website are broken; you might have to hunt around for the demo.


I will add GSB to the List. I even own it, just forgot about it since i didn't like it.

Star Fleet Command sounds good, I missed that series completely. Can you tell me anything about it? Is the third the best part? Do you know if it will run on modern OS?

I played Weird Worlds, but it did not seem very tactical to me. A bit like FTL without the tactic combat.
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Re: Gothars' Gallery of Tactical Space Games
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2012, 11:51:47 PM »

there's a few things i found wrong with star wolves:

- missiles: most of the time, they're not worth putting on, particularly the LRMs since they go WAY beyond sensor range, and havin a single dude go out and scout  out the enemy can be a bigger hassle than just having your carrier + fighter blob go over there and steam roll them. plus the super limited quantity you can actually have aboard a missile boat is crippling, it can get one volley out and then has to reload, and IMO most of the time the volley is wasted. the SRM and MRM are meh unless you spent points in them early so the enemy AMS or AAMS doesn't intercept them.

- passive systems: most passive systems are just weak. the remote repair and on-board repair just don't save you unless they're both top end and you're in a fairly sturdy craft(no, super high maneuvering doesn't help, since it obviously isn't working if they're plinking at your hull), in which case you might just die anyway, and the remote repair takes one of your ships out of the fight making victory less certain if you actually need to use it, plus it's obsolete endgame where weapons can one salvo you if youre not properly prepared, in which case these become redundant. the different levels of AMS and AAMS are redundant, enemies don't have skills for their missiles so you can run with the lowest quality missile defense and no MD perks and be just fine. so that really just leaves shields, engines and maneuver jets as options ( and RoF at end-game ).

- end game fights: end game just comes down to particle accelerator / plasma  / laser spam and made missiles even more obsolete. get one of the anti - energy systems and you can just roll through end - game easy. and sometimes enemy crafts don't have said defense, so it's even super easier.

- mercenaries: waaaaaaaaaaaay too expensive, i don't see how ANY traders in the game can afford those prices for the ludicrous long range journeys they go on.

that said, it's easy to mod most of this stuff into a more "feel-right" state than what it comes with.

Quote
I never tried part 3,

part 3 isn't really part 3, it's actually what part 2 was supposed to be(RE: a continuation, not a "heres more stuff to do im the current state of the 'verse")
well the thing with missiles is that they are way more deadly than in starfarer if you have good missiles guy with a missile boat that has 4 missile slots he can just decimate whole wings if you give him some MIRVs and add torpedo or two and hes going to kill any capital with them or damage them so heavily you can just finish them off....that said they are also support weapon that give you advantage in bigger fights etc. and for that they are great

as for systems well repairs are not supposed to save you they are supposed to make docking unnecessary..i always had one support pilot with advanced sensor, remote rep and AMS plus cloak so he didnt get shot at too much and it worked like a charm


anyway good selection i hope the Nexus 2 will live up to its predecessors name as one of the best tactical space games
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