Siberia. A frozen tundra, which in the minds of many only stirs thoughts of mammoths and a craving for hot chocolate. However, fledgling game development studio Snowforged Entertainment may be in line as a close third. They’re hoping to create an innovative and enticing game that straddles the line between RTS and Wargame, allowing players an impressive amount of customization while maintaining deep, strategic gameplay.
Their storyline is a bit chilling, in that it is all too inevitable. Earth, overcrowded with an exponential population, and poisoned after a lack of environmental concern, is decaying. Humanity flees to Ancora, the closest planet able to be “terramorphed” into something habitable, while the poor and unlucky are left behind on Earth. Humanity fractures into two factions, the Vanguard and the Eclipse. Soon, a conflict begins over alien cargo found on the planet Tartarus, and then the remnants of humanity from Earth take to the stars as the Deprived.
These three factions offer distinct visual styles that will no doubt relate to their ships when the game is launched. The Vanguard are seen as a Victorianesque aristocracy, favoring order and discipline. The Eclipse value intel and industry, having grown large from mining and espionage. The Deprived, who would feel at home in a Mad Max movie, are just thankful to be off of Earth, but also may seek a bit of revenge at those who left them behind.
Snowforged Entertainment seeks to make Starfall Tactics a bit more strategic than most RTS games.
Starfall Tactics is based mainly on three important features: Tactical combat, in-depth customization, and Galaxy Conquest mode.
Snowforged Entertainment seeks to make Starfall Tactics a bit more strategic than most RTS games. In their Kickstarter video, they show how most games conclude actions like hitting a target almost automatically, with visuals rendered after to give the player something to see. This results in situations like torpedoes traveling through asteroids to hit players and other unrealistic outcomes. In Starfall Tactics, these are legitimate strategies. Players will have time to alter the outcome, and flying behind an asteroid will completely block the shot. This makes players stay on their toes as they look for opportunities to exploit the environment during battle.
Ship module layouts are also important to take into account. An enemy ship attempting to disengage from the battle and regroup? Shoot out their engines, leaving them dead in the water. A battleship decimating your team with ion cannons? Fire on the hull of the ship where the cannons are, and there’s a chance of disabling them. These emerging situations guarantee tons of heart-pounding, intense action every battle.
Customization is going to be a huge feature in Starfall Tactics. Snowforged Entertainment has released a pre-alpha demo that allows players to customize their fleet and watch them take on other player’s fleets in automated battles. It should be noted that, being pre-alpha, the demo isn’t balanced or feature packed, but those testing it out will see the promise.
There are a large handful of ships to play with, and dozens of modules for weapons, shields, armor, engines, and special equipment. Each module takes up a different amount of space, so players will have to choose carefully what to make the focus of each ship. While you could make one ship filled with plasma beams, it will be decimated quickly without shields or armor. On the other hand, maybe investing in strong engines will make it swift enough to make that tradeoff work. Starfall Tactics already has more options for ship customization than full games like Sid Meier’s Starships, so it’s a safe bet even more will be crammed in before release.
Starfall Tactics already has more options for ship customization than full games like Sid Meier’s Starships
Galaxy Conquest Mode
Galaxy Conquest may prove to be the most interesting feature of Starfall Tactics. While there will be ranked and unranked matched for players to battle with their fleets, Galaxy Conquest mode aims to be something akin to EVE Online. Players will be able to interact in a persistent game world, where they can undertake missions with friends, fight off pirates, trade, discover new planets, and more.
Galaxy Conquest mode aims to be something akin to EVE Online
Players will also be able to join clans and take ownership of different sectors, mine asteroids for raw materials and trading, and establish outposts on various planets. While more information is scarce now, it’s enough to make any space game fan stick around to see how it turns out.
Starfall Tactics is shaping up to be a powerhouse of a game, and one that will appeal to many different players. Those looking for a tight RTS experience, a wargame simulator, a free-to-play version of EVE Online, or even those into trading card games.
The last two might need a bit of explaining. Starfall Tactics is planned to be a free-to-play game at launch, but before players collectively groan about pay-to-win, Snowforged Entertainment hopes to avoid that completely. At the beginning of the game, players will have their pick from a selection of blueprints that will help them build ships and modules. After that, players must unlock more blueprints by winning ranked matches, PvE missions, special events, and by buying booster packs. Each pack will have a handful of random blueprints, ensuring that there’s no easy way to buy your way to the top.
Snowforged Entertainment is shaping up to be an interesting young developer, and Starfall Tactics looks like it will be one hell of a first game. Open beta for Starfall Tactics is slated for early 2016, and as of this writing there are currently 7 days to go in their Kickstarter campaign to bolster their funds for development. They were also recently accepted by Steam Greenlight. For more information on the game and development team, you can check out their Kickstarter page or go directly to their website for Starfall Tactics.
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