ReviewsReview: Spacebase Startopia

Review: Spacebase Startopia

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Who wouldn’t want to live in a world of peace and harmony? A place where we learn from our previous errors, and everybody works towards a better, healthier future for all! Science Fiction portrays aliens as ultra-intelligent beings that can amaze and do unthinkable things. What would you say if they were as infallible as us? Spacebase Startopia’s whole philosophy revolves around this concept, and a desire to become rich.

Developed by Realmforge Studios and published by Kalypso Media, this business management base building simulator is out of this world and addictive as hell. Originally released on Early Access, I was fortunate enough to preview it. Now it has made it to version 1.0, I’ve revisited it to give it the score it deserves. Returning to play would never be a chore as I loved it the first time around, and I was intrigued to see if any changes had been made.

Keep your guests happy.

Spacebase Startopia works brilliantly on console.

If you have ever attempted to play a simulation or strategy game on console, then you know there is always a concern. Will its UI be too complicated? Will the game be too complex? Can the machine handle the demand? Luckily, Spacebase Startopia plays like a dream. There are a few niggles along the way, and I’ll cover these off, but it’s mostly an enjoyable experience no matter what game mode you play.

Single-player and multiplayer options are at your disposal. Whatever is available to the solo player is also available to groups. Love the campaign mode, but want some company? Call a friend to help. You want to create the space base of your dreams, but want to share the fun with another? Hit that invite button. Or maybe you fancy competing to see who can run the best alien base. You can do that as well.

It offers so many modes to choose from that it’s hard to decide. It’s not a bad problem to have, and this game will keep you playing for hours. If you stick to the campaign mode, you’ll be gently introduced to more complex scenarios. These will test your abilities to plan and overcome obstacles. Free play lets you go crazy in a sandbox environment. Whereas, challenging your friends and family to see who can build the best base gets messy quickly. Think Monopoly, rage, and gloating, this brings out the best and worst in people, you have been warned!

Get those Fuzzies working.

Happiness and energy make Spacebase Startopia tick. 

Some of the greatest wars have started because of a misunderstanding. Spacebase Startopia grabs this idea with both hands and runs with it. Fights between aliens were breaking out because of an inability to communicate. When one group handed a bouquet to a nature-loving species, they were deeply offended. A 400-year long war begins, and the universe decides these mistakes cannot be repeated. Technology advances and the space base program starts. The intention is to create a place where aliens can co-exist in a relaxing and happy environment. All it will cost them is their hard-earned energy.

Heartless and ruthless businessmen saw a gap in the market and plugged it with their doughnut-shaped space vessels. The aim for each base you own is simple; build on each of the 3 available decks, keep all your visitors happy and healthy, and rinse them for as much energy as possible. The gameplay is much more complex than the premise, but once you get your head around it, it’s a pleasure to play.

The Biodeck is a beautiful place to visit.

3 decks, resources and staff.

Every base you visit has the same layout. A welcome deck on top, an entertainment layer in the middle, and a nature section holding it all up. Each is managed separately, but they all demand equal attention. How one section does affects another, and this impacts the success or failure of the base.

The top layer.

Here is where you accommodate all your alien visitors. They will be provided with births, medical treatment and more to ensure they stay healthy while on board. You also place all the ship essentials here, such as; factories, security, comms, etc. This is the brains of the operation, and if you plan this segment correctly, the visiting aliens will stay happy, healthy, and will fill your energy banks up.

The entertainment deck.

No one wants to visit a dull station, so don’t let that happen. This is the real money-spinner where disco’s, cafés, lottery and other energy grabbing rooms are found. Give those aliens everything they want and take all the energy they possess. It’s a ruthless business, but someone’s got to do it, right?

The botanical segment.

Everyone loves nature, and here the aliens can come to; relax, swim in the water pools, and take a break away from their hectic lives. Increase the attractive qualities of your metal doughnut while growing resources for use of the upper deck. It’s a constant juggling act as you terraform parts to generate the items you need.

Arrive, spend money, live, and then leave.

Staff.

The space base would falter if the correct staff aren’t hired. A long list of aliens can join your vessel (for a price, of course), and many have different levels of experience. Certain rooms require a set species of alien, so you must hire the right creature for the job at hand.

Not all jobs are completed by aliens; cleaning, building and demolition require drone-like bots known as fuzzies. These battery-operated beings roll around in an automated fashion. Set them down and let them get to work.

Once you’ve got your head around that lot, there are just battles to fight, and deliberate acts of terrorism to overcome. Aliens are a terrible bunch, and they will do anything to upset one another. Keep your eyes peeled and remove any threats before they become a problem.

The entertainment deck is the place to waste energy.

Space looks so beautiful.

If space looks this beautiful in real life, get me a one-way ticket as I don’t want to return. The levels of detail are incredible, with each of the alien models looking unique from other species. The range of colours used throughout could have been dull and lifeless. Instead, the developers went all out to create a vivid scene that is wonderful to look at. The clean and easy to navigate UI alleviated my fears of an overly complicated game. Helpful tips and reminders appear regularly to ensure you stay on track, and all objectives are shown with a helpful checklist. Realmforge Studios has done a fantastic job with the visual presentation of their project.

If you like your games laced with comedy and a futuristic space funk soundtrack, then this will be right up your street. You are accompanied by your robot assistant VAL, this emotionless entity loves to highlight your inadequacies. Compliments sound like a putdown, and you are left chuckling at its unintentionally harsh words. As with the visuals, the audio breathes life into this wonderful simulation title. The music distracts you from the challenging tasks you face, and the accompanying sound effects are wonderfully Sci-Fi and match the theme.

Disco time.

The simple UI makes this easy to learn, but the camera control is still too sensitive.

The combination of a clean-cut UI and in-depth tutorial makes this easy to learn the fundamentals. It is complex and takes time to get used to, but once you have it nailed, it’s a pleasure to play. Yet, it would be easier to control with a mouse and keyboard. Moving the camera is a challenge and selecting objects can be fiddly. It’s not impossible and doesn’t ruin the game, but it’s something you have to account for.

I was more than happy to return to play this, and I’m glad I did because the finished product is a polished gem. The new achievement list adds extra challenges alongside each campaign scenario. The continued ability to play with others was a well thought out and I welcomed the decision. Spacebase Startopia has the potential to keep you playing for a long time and you’ll lose hours of your life to it. If the developers add more content in future DLC and potentially a new style of base to work on, this would only add more reasons to return.

Spacebase Startopia is worth every penny.

With Gamepass and PlayStation Plus ruling the roost, gamers now view buying games as a serious investment. I can comfortably say that this is money well spent. Spacebase Startopia will stop you from wanting to put the controller down and leaving your house. It’s super addictive and spectacular for the solo player and with friends. Once you break the back of its complexities, you’ll fall in love with everything it offers. For these reasons, I recommend you buy it here! Bring peace and harmony to your entertainment station in space. Ensure everyone is happy, healthy, and spending their hard-earned energy. 

SUMMARY

Spacebase Startopia is a fantastic simulation game that will entertain and challenge you. Complex mechanics are well explained with the help of the tutorial, on screen hints, and VAL your robot assistant. A pleasure to play with addictive solo and multiplayer gameplay.

+ Colourful graphics and excellent character models.
+ Playful and futuristic audio.
+ Simple to understand UI.
+ Lots of replay value.
- Sensitive camera function.
- Objects can be hard to select.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I've now found a new home to write my reviews, and get my opinion out to the masses. Still the lead admin for Xboxseriesfans on Facebook and Instagram. I love the gaming world, and writing about it. I can be contacted at [email protected] for gaming reviews.

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