Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Star Command ($2.99, Universal) is a mission-based space game where you are responsible for the safety and well-being of your ship and its crew. However, as captain, your primary objective is to stay alive. This is a game where the ship goes down with its captain.
From the very start, you spend a series of colored tokens to add different types rooms and crew members to your ship. The more rooms you have, the more crew you will need to operate these rooms. Each colored token represents a different capability. Red represents tactical for your weapons room and security team. Next is blue; it represents science, this is for your medical team. Finally there is yellow, which represents engineering. Striking a balance between the three is essential as the game progresses. With no in-app purchases to bankroll a fully manned ship, you must earn your tokens as you travel through the galaxy by completing a series of missions.
The ship you start with is basically empty. You need to add weapons, engineering, and medical rooms. Each room will cost you three tokens. Hiring crew members is your responsibility as well. Crew members can only be added on earth and will cost you one token each. When it come to weapons on board the ship, each crew member wearing a red uniform is equipped with a standard issue laser pistol. Once your ship is built and your crew is on board, you are ready to take on your first mission.
Throughout the game you will encounter alien battles both in space with ship-versus-ship combat, as well as on the board with crew-to-crew combat. In ship-to-ship combat you can only use the weapons and defenses from rooms that have crew members assigned to them. You only fire your weapons when they are fully charged. Once charged, each weapon has its own mini game you need to play in order to get the weapon to fire and hit its target. These mini games only take a few seconds to play and look like something you would expect to see on the console of a weapon’s targeting system. As the battle progresses, your attention is focused on when the enemy is about to fire, what levels the enemy’s shields and hull integrity are at, and how long it takes your ship’s weapons to fully charge. There are enough things going on all at once to keep you on edge.
In crew-to-crew combat, enemy aliens teleport onto your ship and start tearing it apart from the inside. You will have to hunt them down and destroy them before they kill all of your crew. Situating your security team a safe distance from the intruders, you find that you are constantly adjusting their position to keep them from getting overrun. You also need to reposition your teams when more aliens teleport onto your ship. If you are fortunate enough to have a medical room staffed with the necessary personnel, you will also start rotating your security teams in and out of the infirmary as they get hurt. When moving your crew around to fight the alien invaders, be sure not to leave one of the ship’s critical weapons rooms understaffed, or else you will leave your ship more vulnerable to attack.
The rooms on your ship can be upgraded, as can the crew members. At the end of each victory, you will be awarded tokens, which can be used to hire more crew members, add new rooms, or upgrade existing rooms. Also at the end of each victorious battle, each crew member that played a role in the battle will earn experience points based on what action they took in the battle.
There is a lot going on with each battle. While you are managing each crew member individually, you are also keeping track of each weapon to see when they are fully charged and ready to fire. At the same time you are also need to pay attention to the enemy’s weapon system in order to try to dodge an attack at just the right time. Leaving a fully charged weapon sit idle too long, missing an opportunity to dodge an attack, or allowing just one crew member lose too many health points in a shootout could be the difference between winning or losing the battle. If you feel like you are up to the challenge this weekend then consider joining Star Command as captain of your own ship.