SpaceCom is a game that we’ve had a really hard time pigeonholing as a particular genre. This is because, at a glance, you could very easily make the connection between itself and a regular 4X game. However, after playing through the game, it is evident that SpaceCom is both more than your regular 4X game, but also a lot less. SpaceCom, we believe, is best described as a simple tactical-strategy game involving the raising of a galactic army to defeat an opposing galactic army across a 4X interface.
The first thing that you’ll notice about SpaceCom is the incredibly simple interface and graphics. If you’re used to having massive fleet battles comprising of 2 trillion ships like in Sins of a Solar Empire, coming to see this kind of presentation may seem like a huge step backwards. But really, once you start to play the game, you realise just how intuitive the simplicity actually is. What I mean here is that while you’re playing, you’re focused nearly entirely on the strategy and maneuvering of your units to achieve optimal supremacy, rather than being blown away by spectacular space battles and forgetting that your opponent is about to out-flank you and then drive 50 battleships into your home planet.
Of course, the beauty of SpaceCom is that it’s a hard game to just sit back and spam ships in. In order to be able to build more ships, or rather, battle fleets (as there are no singular units), you’ll actively need to go out and capture both neutral and hostile systems to build up your capacity for more fleets. If you’ve played StarCraft or WarCraft, you’ll recognise something similar as when you build more farms, you get more units. Only instead of building farms, it’s capitilising on space resources. There’re a few different types of planets and each do different things for your territory. For example, one planet might be used for mining in order to build more quickly, while others might be useful for their shipyards, to actively build more fleets.
The main idea in SpaceCom is to take your invading fleets and capture or destroy the enemies home world. Of course, your opponent is also sending fleets to do the same to yours, so it’s a battle of intergalactic proportions played in a strategic layer of awesome. To do this, you must utilise your invading or bombarding fleets against worlds in order to destroy or capture them to hinder your enemy and strengthen yourself so that you can gather enough manpower to break through and into their system. Or, like, sneak past an invading force by keeping your enemy pre-occupied on other fronts. Regardless, you must utilise different fleet types with different strengths to achieve your goals. You have three fleets to do this, Battle fleets, Invasion fleets and some other kind of fleet that’s good at razing planets. I didn’t use this fleet in my run because I think it’s more strategic to own as much as you can. Essentially, Battle fleets keep the battles going and are good at taking down the other two fleets, while the other two fleets are okay at combat, but better at their assigned role. So it’s almost like you’re playing transport with the Battle Fleets to keep your other fleets safe.
So that’s pretty much the gameplay in a nutshell. Going around, conquering the galaxy and capturing systems until someone controls their opponents home planet. And while it may seem basic, it does get pretty tactical, especially when you’re playing with a friend or against multiple opponents in a big map. And while it looks simple and you don’t have multiple-thousand unit battles going on, a lot can still be engaging enough to distract you from the big picture if you’re not careful. Not only that, due to the games interesting time-based combat, rather than real-time based combat, it gives you some interesting points to turn around an engagement by sending nearby reinforcements, or to take the attention of a large enemy force to buy time for your smaller forces to cut through and take some strategic resources. It’s amazing how much depth you can get from an at-a-glance simple game.
Overall I was quite impressed with SpaceCom and how well it has been developed so far. I really can’t wait for the full release of the game! Thanks to 11-bit launchpad (and their PR company) for passing along a preview code for SpaceCom! Be sure to check back when it launches for our review.
Check out our preview video below.