Star Command Galaxies is only in the second stage of its alpha, more features are promised and the open dev plan keeps customers up to date. This preview is based on the current state of the game but it is liable to change as more is added.
The L.I.Y (Learn It Yourself) tutorial has grown in popularity in recent years, perhaps from a general apathy towards bland tutorial levels or simply because it takes too much effort. There are however genres that need tutorials. A space exploration game with crew and ship management is definitely one of those. Star Command Galaxies disagrees.
When I first started up Star Command Galaxies, we are given no backstory, no goal, not even a hint to our purpose. All that is made apparent is you are four dudes on a spaceship with a kitchen, teleporter and navigation equipment you can apparently use to make food. If Star Command was a television show, the first episode would go something like this;
Four dudes wake up on a ship and silently make breakfast. Perplexed by the bed, Butler sleeps on the floor.
After filling their stomachs, three of the intrepid adventurers set off down to the nearby alien planet.
The alien planet seems to be blocked out by peculiar darknesses, unsure of their purpose the crew steers clear of them.
An alien appears!
Thomas tries to make contact with it using his Texas bred diplomacy skills.
After the firefight, the intrepid adventurers are hungry and must return to the ship to eat.
Interestingly, Star Command Galaxies has a similar, but less appealing, art style to Habbo Hotel. Using that knowledge, it was possible to guess that the point of the game was to decorate the spaceship and use it to lure the aliens into “giving away their furni”. However, it doesn’t actually seem possible to take objects from the alien planet back up to the ship.
Then theres the combat, the only real mechanic in the game. After a few tries and eventually giving up on the game, I rushed around the map at triple speed, ignoring hunger and energy levels (which apparently don’t do anything as there was no noticeable difference). Don’t get into a firefight at triple speed, the noise is like an unwelcome caller in the night grating through your eardrums. Not to mention that no-one can hit anything at this speed. An entire day and night cycle passed without a single hit being made.
I would mention something about the music here but in few minutes between playing the game and writing this section, I’ve completely forgotten how it sounded. I think that is damning enough.
Star Command Galaxies is currently as empty as the space it attempts to emulate. Given a few more months of development we may see something decent come of this skeleton of a game, but until then I can’t recommend it. If I were to make a case for developers releasing alphas too early, Star Command Galaxies would be a prime example.