Starscape

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Starscape
Starscape covershoot.jpg
Developer: Moonpod
Publisher: Moonpod
Platforms: Windows, MacOS
Media: CD-ROM, Direct Download

Summary

Starscape is a 2D space combat shoot 'em up game developed by Moonpod games and published in 2003 as shareware. The plot provides a framework for the action: The player is the sole remaining fighter pilot on the space station Aegis after its warp drive is influenced by aliens, ripping it into another dimension. The objective is naturally to survive and to return.

Most of the game time is spent in a top-down view as the player's ship fights off attackers and collects resources from asteroids and from some of the destroyed enemy vessels. The setting is divided into areas of varying sizes, and the fighter can freely maneuver in one but not cross the boundaries.

While in essence quite simple, the addition of the space station enriches gameplay considerably. The Aegis is present in all non-boss battles and while it's quite durable, its destruction loses the game. Docking with it is necessary to unload resources, perform repairs on either the ship or the station and to travel between areas. In addition to the aforementioned repairs, the Aegis can spend acquired resources on both researching and constructing new tools and weaponry, which require allotments of the station's limited manpower that in turn can be increased by finding and rescuing rare survivors in the action sequences. The player also designs the fighters, balancing attack and defense with power, maneuverability, available size and costs. The station can maintain up to three craft, though only one can be flown at a time. Over time, the Aegis can be outfitted with turrets and a cannon, while the fighters go from - essentially - airtight bathtubs to pocket battleships.

Starscape also features a plotless skirmish mode and a difficulty level where save games are automatically updated to reflect the loss of ships. Though the asteroid mining has been criticized as too tedious and time-consuming, the battle sequences and graphics have received praise.

In Russian speaking territories, Starscape is named 'Космическая одиссея' (literal translation: 'Space Odyssey') and features Russian voice acting. It was published by Snowball.ru .


Critical Acclaim

  • Scored 80% in PC Gamer UK magazine.
  • 10/10 in Gametunnel's review and also won two awards in the end of year awards: Adventure Game of the Year, and Independent Game of the Year.
  • 9.2/10 Editor's Choice awarded at Netjak.
  • 9/10 and Editor's Choice awarded by Game Chronicles Magazine, who said it was "one of the best little known titles I’ve run across".
  • Starscape was inducted into the Home of the Underdogs hall of belated fame in June 2005.
  • Awarded 5/5 by FRAGtopia, with the comment that "I haven't been this entertained by a game in a long time."


Links

Developer Website