Starcom


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Rating: 4.5/5 (146 votes)
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Starcom

JoshYou might not have picked up on the recent buzz surrounding Starcom, but it's a game that's been hotly-anticipated from Wx3 Labs within the developer community throughout the last couple months (and finally hitting Kongregate today). I was particularly stoked for Starcom's public launch ever since I played the pre-release last month. Having played tons of space shooters in the past, I wasn't expecting anything too different from the norm. But once I started playing, I didn't stop until two hours had gone by and I had finished the game from start to end. And I absolutely loved (almost) every minute of it.

StarcomStarcom is a top-down space shooter and strategy game, with subtle RPG elements like a well-paced story progression and "missions." Don't let the "top-down" label fool you though; this game takes the genre way past what you might expect. You're stationed aboard a Galactic Command Starbase (space station), playing the role of a space fighter pilot with a starting mission of fending off alien attacks. Use the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to control movement, use the mouse to aim and fire your primary weapon. Eventually you will arm yourself with missiles that can be fired by first locking on then pressing [space].

The first few missions serve as a tutorial, training you to use your ship so you can eventually zip around the galaxy with ease, fragging all those alien hostiles after your blood. After you've completed the first couple missions, you're thrown into the heart of the game. Sometimes you will be sent out for the obligatory run-and-gun mission, but about half of all the missions in Starcom feature some really fun and diverse tasks beyond the norm. Some involve stealth, some require speed, while others almost seem like suicide-missions. But they all progress well, and the story is actually above-par for a game like this.

And it doesn't even stop there; you'll find toys like the insanely-cool "Jump Drive" module that allows you to "hit warp speed" and basically teleport across large distances. All the little artifacts that you pick up can be traded in at your Starbase for new gear, and there's a ton of them. In fact, you'll eventually have to buy a "retrofit package" so you can pack more gear and weapons into your ship. Your commanders at the Starbase will periodically award you with money and gear, but always be on the look-out for items you can pick up that are floating in the debris of the alien ships you destroy.

An auto-save feature allows you to save every time you leave the starbase, which is advised since if you ever lose your ship under heavy warfare, it's game over.

Analysis: The unfolding story in Starcom is actually one of the best I've seen in an action-shooter game like this. Most of the time I don't even bother trying to immerse myself in the stories with these genres, because they either suck or are non-existent. Starcom really shines in this sense, revealing story elements at just the right moments, while incorporating it all into the gameplay progression.

But the story is just the tip of the iceberg. The main reasons why this game rocked so hard were the top-notch gameplay and polished graphics (the slew of upgrades and ship configurations didn't hurt, either). From the very first minute of gameplay, you can tell there's something special under the hood of this game. I know nothing about coding, but whatever methods the developer used to make this game produced a rock solid movement and physics engine. It's more precise-feeling than probably any top-down or arena shooter that I have ever played.

The control mechanics are well-implemented, and the physics, graphics and sound effects all work really well together, blending a bit of retro style with modern Flash tech. Your shields and power system are well-balanced, and the game progression is just perfect.

On the downside, it may be difficult for some to find your bearings and keep track of which wormhole goes where, although if you do get lost, you'll probably find your way back in just a minute or two. Making your way back to starbase to recharge or to save your progress can be a little tedious as well. Some people might not like how precise the aiming system is, but that's more of a preference thing. I actually liked the kinetically-realistic shooting system as opposed to the more "cartoonish" shooters.

And the game ends way too soon. It took me about two hours to beat, and I was having so much fun that it just wasn't enough. I wanted more. Lots more. I'm hoping the developer decides to release a few expansions or sequels, because this is way too good of a game to never see again, in some form or another.

Play Starcom

62 Comments

Commander Chewtoy June 12, 2009 1:55 AM

Completely stumped on the Frontlines mission. Found the friendly ship - the Prometheus - and killed all of the enemies on that level. Nothing's happened. Now what?

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Pretty fun game - just finished it up in an hour or two. I got lost for a while on "Eye of the Storm". A tip if you get lost - zoom way, way out on your radar.

Shiny.

Only complaint was

I felt like I spent a lot of time sitting around waiting for shields to recharge.

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Markonite2 Author Profile Page June 12, 2009 2:13 AM

Has anybody ever played Armada?
Because this sounds like a point for point copy of that game.

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The game is fun but sadly it has it's bugs.
I would like to see more of a sandbox area so you can boost your ship. It reminds me of starfighter.

A little note for people who are having trouble.
Frontline mission

you have to kill all of the aliens in the sector with the disabled ship, check both planets.

Store bug

I came across this bug when i was buying armor. i got a message saying "could not remove blahblahblah" and the armor was gone, the best way to get it back is to load your game save.

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That was a great little game! I want MOAR!
-blarg

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01101110110110 June 12, 2009 4:22 AM

This review is borderline fiction at best. "Starcom is a top-down space shooter and strategy game, with subtle RPG elements like a well-paced story progression and "missions." "
strategy & RPG elements ? The reviewer obviously has no clue what those mean. There is no real strategy involved and there is hardly any RPG elements here. The gameplay is good for a flash game but hardly original.

"The unfolding story in Starcom is actually one of the best I've seen " wtf ? There is barely a storyline in this game beyond the linear mission introductions which are hardly creative. I don't see how this is like starscape at all. While the game itself is rather good for a flash game I don't see why the review needs to be misleading rather than just reporting the game's merits.

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Taylor B. Author Profile Page June 12, 2009 5:01 AM

Okay I've already done that on the Front Lines mission...it still doesn't register as complete...????

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I accidentally voted a 1 on this. =( I meant to vote a 5. I'm sure there will be enough 5's to offset it in a day or two, though.

That being said, this is a pretty fantastic game! As mentioned in the review, the firing system is great. I love games with customizable upgrades, too. I do wish that you could buy missiles.

Anyone with an hour or two to kill should definitely play this!

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Okay this is good, but it's not "way past what you might expect." I got lost, I completed 3 missions that were never registered as complete (I still can't find anymore enemies on the Prometheus mission), I don't want to start over and lose everything I "worked" for (it shouldn't feel like work, should it?), and then getting back and forth to star base is always annoying.

When I set out to play this, I was expecting something like EV Override. No dice, this is just... underdone. Still needs a lot of work, if you ask me.

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I'll have to chime in on the criticism bandwagon: I am on the Frontlines mission and am pretty certain I've killed all the enemies, and I played Starscape all the way through and this game is *not* like that; Starscape was more polished, had much more storyline than "there are aliens trying to kill us, go hunt them down and oh yeah, upgrade your stuff", looked prettier, and did not have bugs. This game is fun (game-halting bugs aside) but the review is misleading.

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Oh god, I think I have a theory on the Frontlines mission bug: It may well be that for some reason if you kill an enemy offscreen that it doesn't 'count' as destroyed for the purposes of the mission expectations. It didn't matter on any of the other maps because no other map expected you to kill all enemies, just to survive and pick up the upgrade.

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01101110110110 June 12, 2009 8:30 AM

Well if my comment seemed like a personal attack that was not my intention and I apologise if that was the case. But my main problem with your review is it overhyped the game. I went in expecting something as grand as starscape with a similar strategy aspect and a big storyline and this was hardly close. Being a sequel or a "reboot" does mean it shares alot of similarities with its original which it does not beyond the top-down combat in space with weapon upgrades.

"It's rare to find a game in that genre that has such a well-structured storyline (played out through missions) as this one"
I did play the game to the end and there wasn't much of a storyline beyond mission introductions and the infrequent mission update. To quote BDR it pretty much sounded like "there are aliens trying to kill us, go hunt them down and oh yeah, upgrade your stuff". Granted the missions weren't random but rather followed a strict linear progression but again thats simply doesn't make "great storyline". The missions are well structured (bugs aside), they simply lacked the depth which you claimed that you were able to immerse yourself in. There is little explanation to who you are or who these aliens are or any backstory other than we're being attacked.

And for the record I don't think this game is the worst ever, it is a decent game once I've lowered my expectations to what is normal for this genre, infact its probably one of the better ones out there. The game is certainly well above average for its genre but nowhere near the level of starscape which actually did have a deep level of strategy.

"(although I generally think feedback should be focused on the games we review more so than the reviewers)."
My critisism wasn't specifically aimed at you but rather the review itself which I considered misleading. We all have different tastes and you probably liked this game alot more than I did and perhaps you've unintentionally overhyped the game. But it seems I wasn't the only one who went in with significantly higher expectations and came out disappointed as a result.

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I'm in the middle of playing through this now, and so far it's been pretty fun. I would definitely say I'm enjoying myself.

As for 01101110110110's comments, I will say only this: disagree with the reviewers if you will. That is your right. But don't insult them. You can disagree with their opinions without making personal attacks.

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Gobsmacked June 12, 2009 11:16 AM

Okay, so you get to fly a BRICK, whose bullets barely move as fast as your targets.

THEY, on the other hand, get to fly 8x faster than you, with perfect, turn-inside-their-own-pixels maneuverability, and shoot missiles that eat up half your health in one hit.

Did I hit a difficulty slider wrong, or is this game just not fun?

[Edit: If you're looking for something easy, try a hidden object game. :) -Jay]

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PucKviruS Author Profile Page June 12, 2009 12:24 PM

Loved this game, took me about 30 minutes to play though. Love all aspects of the upgrades. I was so disappointed that it ended early thou,

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Some help for you Gobsmacked

Of course the small ships are going to be faster, it is common in most if not all games (fast little ships vs big slow ships).
For speed

if you upgrade your reactor you gain speed, and there is always the turbo thrusters.

a small tactic for missile combat

if you get the missiles to chase you then they will be less likely to hit you and they are easier to hit, along with a faster fire rate for your turret you should be able to survive.

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Bernard June 12, 2009 1:06 PM

Definitely one of the best shooting games I've played recently, so bad it's too short and a bit too easy. It's also a pity that you cannot go back and play a "sandbox mode", after you've got all those hard-earned upgrades, plus the powerful device you get after beating the boss, when there's no enemy left for you to beat.

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One of the things that cheesed me about this was that you're just -- as far as I can tell -- stuck in the final solar system after you finish the game.

In general, Starcom is not too shabby, but anyone that enjoys this should DEFINITELY play Transcendence, which has every single feature available in Starcom, plus a more responsive ship, no shield recharge wait time, dozens more types and AI styles of enemies, something like fifty different weapons, three different player ships...you get the idea. This game is like a Vespa, nice as far as it goes, and Transcendence is a hulking alien mothership made of nuclear cannons and win.

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Gobsmacked June 12, 2009 3:17 PM

Okay, apparently I earned some snark from Jay, but you've got to learn to have thick skin in this world...

(All I was saying was that how come there are so precious few games in the seemingly-unknown sweet spot of "fun and playable, yet not stupidly hard", that's all.)

Upon reflection, I can learn to play this game, especially once one gets shields, weak and short-lived as they are. And, of course, thank you Reaper for being nice as well as helpful.

That said, let's talk about Frontlines.

Obviously broken. I'm not having the problems mentioned above, though.

Beta Draconis is EMPTY, for me. No ships of any kind, anywhere. I've visually scanned every object and every corner of the system, and there's nobody there but me. WTH?

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I didn't think this game was stupidly hard at all, and I'm not that good with shooters -- don't usually play them, in fact, but I enjoyed Starcom very much.

Beta Draconis is the 2nd area you come to, through the very first nexus. Enemies won't show up in a long range scan, you have to actually come within range of the planet (within the blue circle) to see them. But once you can see them, they can see you, too, and start coming for you, so watch out. :)

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Gobsmacked June 12, 2009 4:16 PM

Okay, I finally got through Frontlines despite the deliberately confusing instructions, after realizing one must go through one of the wormholes IN Beta Draconis.

That said, anybody actually complete the last mission? No matter how much money I sink into shields, you can't even make 1/2 a high-speed pass at the "super-base" without your shields being INSTANTLY, and I do mean INSTANTLY, reduced to nothing (immediately followed by death).

Nice final boss there, guys. Oh, well, at least I got to see the rest of it. I hope there wasn't an elaborate ending, 'cause I'm never gonna see it.

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Wonderful game, but I have defeated every enemy on every planet in the mission 'Frontline', and the ally ship is still alive. Why on the mission log does it say I haven't completed the mission? This is getting frustrating.

~ Kevos

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01101110110110 June 13, 2009 3:20 AM

The mission log isn't very reliable, I completed the game with 2 missions incomplete (the last 2).

For frontlines

All I did was kill all the enemies and then approached the friendly ship and it gave me the havoc system. There were no instructions after that so I was alittle lost but I returned to base and the story continued, so perhaps you guys need to just return to base ?

For the final boss

You'll never defeat him in a single attack, what I did was do several attack runs. Basicly jump in close, fire everything you've got while charging the jump then jump out before the armour takes a serious hit. It might be wise to kill all other enemies first but not to take their drop-offs so that you can replenish armour/missiles between each attack run on the boss. Eventually you'll kill the boss.

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Vebyast Author Profile Page June 13, 2009 5:30 AM

I actually had a pretty easy time with the final boss. Didn't even have shields III (was running with armor IV and shields II). Key parts:

Get good at precision jumping. Even though I only had a mediocre shield, I could jump in, cut loose for a second or so, and jump just a little bit out, all without taking armor damage.

If you're really, really stuck, there's an upgrade out there called "chiralite warheads". Basically, it gives your missiles near-instagib damage. One missile will reduce the health of a boss module enough that you can finish it off with the gun in about four shots. Just farm the army around the bottom-most wormhole in the alpha draconis sector until you get the upgrade, and you'll win with ease.

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Kevos: Did you kill an enemy offscreen while on that map, say by either a lucky shot or a missile? I'm betting that's why.

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The review made me think this would be a game along the lines of EV Override or Nova at first, so I was a little disappointed when I first played it.

Once I got over that and got into the game properly, though, I found it to be a pretty solid space shooter. Would have been nice if it was a bit longer, and I encountered a couple of bugs while playing, but nothing truly game-breaking. For a flash game, this is definitely quite impressive and was worth the hour or two I spent on it.

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I can't figure out how to win the Defenses mission, and no enemies seem to be anywhere in any of the systems (Alpha through Delta).

I'd like the game more, but clearly it's too buggy to be playable at this stage.

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Gobsmacked June 13, 2009 2:32 PM

Okay, after my initial impression, having played enough now to have the benefit of experience, I can now officially pronounce this game "pretty terrible".

Aiming is just shy of impossible. I have no idea why the reviewer liked it, other than perhaps masochistic tendancies on his part.

I, however, do not play games in order to enjoy the experience of being abused.

Aside from the constant glitches and the fact that the only time any enemy ever seems to drop missiles is when you're full (try it; I got 7 MISSILE DROPS IN A ROW while full, and absolutely zero the rest of the game, as soon as I had fired a single one of 'em), the game has no parity at all. No game should be 100% stacked against the player.

You can't aim.
They can't miss.

You can't maneuver.
They can turn inside their own (tiny) length, even the big ships.

You can't seem to buy a gun big enough to dent anything until the final upgrade.
They all have weapons that reduce Sheild II and Armor IV to nothing in seconds (although this is entirely due to the fact that you are always outnumbered 20 or 30 to one, not because of firepower).

Why does everybody heap praise on games like this that are just frustrating and not fun? I know I'm going to get criticized ("go play a kid's game, then, noob", or whatever), but let's be real here. One does not play video games to constantly be frustrated. You wouldn't make a 3rd person shooter where there were 400 enemies per level, heavily armored, in complete communication with one another, who can't ever miss, have millisecond response time, and can see through walls, then give the player character a freakin' potato gun, now would you? Because that's what this game feels like, to me.

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I won't berate you for having a different opinion, gobsmacked, but not every game is going to appeal to everybody.

Sounds like this game is just not for you.

But that doesn't make it a terrible game.

If you're not having success with a game, most of the time it will be because you are not approaching the challenge in the correct way, or that you're not using a winning strategy. Try using a different weapon, or try some avoidance maneuvering while firing. Try a different upgrade priority (defensive vs. offensive). At the very least, try something different.

All too often I see people blaming a game for not fitting with their own abilities or due to their own inability to find a workable solution to the challenge. Why not just move along then to something more your style rather than trying to force the issue?

Constraints in games are often times included by design for they add to the 'puzzling' aspect of the challenge. But saying that "you can't aim" is just not true. Simply click the mouse where you want to aim, what could be more simple than that? Furthermore, missiles auto-target by pressing [space] when the blue crosshairs are displayed over top of the enemy.

Obviously, judging from the rating of the game, far more people found a very playable, worthwhile experience here, myself included — and as I mentioned before, I'm usually rubbish at shooters.

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page June 13, 2009 3:52 PM

Liked the game the hour or so that takes to finish it.

Well I agree on disagreeing to the reviewers game. First this is not a "top-down shooter", because its not top-down. Simple and obvious as that. Its a 2d-space-shooter. And this 2d-shooters are as old as computers, remember x-pilot? So there must be some strange thought-twist to grant this game to take "top-down" past "top-down".

Also this is not anything like a RPG; because there is no convincing role to play. Remember RPG was about role-playing? I don't remember when it started when people believed any item upgrade system would make a RPG.

The storyline is blunt too. Oh yes evil aliens without any motivation, personality, nothing, just evil ships coming here, and you standard super hero going to destroy them. Don't tell me its a great story line, because it isn't. Its old and the most unoriginal storyline one could make. That each mission upgrades your ship is nicer then a standard level design, but this hardly makes a story line.

After all, this is a nice casual game, but it also stays to be "just" a nice casual game, no need praise it to the skies when it just isn't that. I played better 2d shooters with more convicing stories in the DOS-Ages. (I just cant remember the name)

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Man. I was all hyped for this game because of the review and I'm like YES, a space shooter with a seemingly brilliant storyline. Plus the gameplay sounds amazing. My interest is piqued. Maybe it'll be like Freespace except 2D.

Then I play the game, and I admit, it's pretty decent, but there's no storyline to speak of. It's an RPG in the sense that you can beat guys up and take their floaty bits to buy stuff but like someone else mentioned, there's not really a role to play.

Plus, I don't like the music. Kinda gets repetitive.

Also some side thrusters on the ship wouldn't be so bad either. And maybe an aiming computer. And the ability to buy missiles.

And the fact that I pretty much gave up on frontlines. EFF THAT MISSION.

I'm disappointed.

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Taylor B. Author Profile Page June 13, 2009 7:01 PM

Despite not being able to figure out what else I must do to complete the Front Lines Mission, I think this game is stupendously awesome. There is room for improvement but that comes with any game...plus the creator of the games has already established the problem with the aforementioned mission. He says, "Thanks to some helpful feedback I believe I've identified the problem with the Prometheus mission. If you leave the star system that the Prometheus is in and then return to it, the game fails to register the mission complete. I'm working on a fix," on the Kongregate.com page for the game. So hopefully that will be a non-issue promptly.

Anyway, I enjoyed this game and I think with some work and expansion I would actually consider paying for a standalone version. It was one of the most enjoyable games I have played on a flash site in a while.

The only thing that kind of irked me a little was sometimes I couldn't sell stuff in order to earn money. What would happen was that I would push the, "sell" button and a message would come up which said something to the effect of, "not able to uninstall item" and I wouldn't be able to gain the money I need for other improvements. Besides that a few other problems it was/is a very solid game, and the fact that the author is willing to respond to player comments and make fixes is always a good thing. :)

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Gobsmacked Author Profile Page June 13, 2009 8:19 PM

Sigh.

Okay, Jay, I'll let it go. I'm not going to argue semantics with you about aiming, when I was really trying to say that it was impossible to HIT what one aims at...

Look, I appreciate what you're trying to do here, but the reviews have seemed to start diverging from the experiences posted in the comments by wider and wider margins lately.

Are you guys directly sponsored by the creators or hosts of these games (Kongregate, et. al.)? Do you get paid to write these reviews by anybody besides your advertisers?

Because it seems to me that the "enjoyment factor" of a lot of these games is being grossly overstated by the reviewers (it doesn't seem to be just one, but most or all of them), in order to deliberately pump up traffic?

I mean, I get it. If you're constantly cutting games apart and mentioning that they're so-so or bad, who's going to come back? But it seems to me that the exaggeration is going very much the other way. Too much, in fact. It makes me spend way, WAYY to much time searching for the fun the reviewer swears is in there... and it makes me post irritated comments when I don't find it.

Oh,and the CAPTCHA IS BROKEN, AGAIN. Like, refresh-the-page-seven-times-and-it-won't-ever-come-back-even-after-restarting-the-browser broken. So I finally signed up for an account. Happy? Now you have another throwaway email address to sell (or MovableType does, or whoever). Maybe you should continue ignoring it, since it obviously got me to do what you wanted... ;P

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01101110110110 June 13, 2009 9:11 PM

I actually found the aiming to be interesting. The fact that inertia plays a role in a firing solution makes it quite tricky to hit small objects. You'd have to either stop dead so you can aim in which case you're an easy target, or keep moving and try to approximate your firing solution or probably balance between the two (I stood still alot).

The arrival of the havoc system (and its upgrades) relieves you of the burden of hunting down those little ships & missiles while in motion so you can focus on bigger ships that are easier to hit. And if you feel you're overwhelmed you can always jump away and re-engage as it'll be easier to hit them when they're scattered rather than surrounding you with concentrated fire.

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Asking for help again. Can anybody tell me how to beat the "Defenses" mission? Or, at least, to progress to another mission of any sort? There are no more enemies anywhere in the 4 systems I have access to. I've looked. I looked for over an hour.

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Never mind. I worked it out. I had to restart the game, and this time, they dropped a Shield, which they didn't do before. Problem solved.

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Sigh. This time I made it all the way to the Frontlines mission (and beat it too) before it gave up and once again fails to tell me what to do next. So I went and defeated everything and everybody, everywhere, including those 8 bases surrounding the new Nexus at the bottom of the first place (Alpha D-something). Nothing. No idea where to go or what to do now.

Seriously, this game is bad buggy.

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This game makes me want to play Escape Velocity again.

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That was a good game - especially the upgrades system. But I was expecting an immersive storyline from the review, and it didn't really happen. Why were we at war? Who were we fighting? I wasn't expecting Traffic Department 2192 levels of plot, but you could sooner immerse yourself in a puddle! :)

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fnord3125:

As soon as I lost interest in this game, I immediately booted up Nova. Now that's a good top-down space based shooter with RPG elements and well written story-lines. They might be old, but the EV series are still genre-defining games.

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Gobsmacked Author Profile Page June 14, 2009 1:51 PM

Okay, okay, I was asking, not accusing. I thought I'd written it so as to sound that way, but I guess not. I'm really quite eloquent in person, but a lot of people take my writing the wrong way.

Josh's willingness to put such a strong declaration of impartiality into writing, in public, says a lot for the site's credibility, I'll give you that. That's good enough for me, for now.

Maybe I'll try to remember to comment more on the games I do like, since, as you say, only the problems and criticisms show up.

I still think this is a relatively poor offering and very difficult to play, much less enjoy.

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Gobsmacked: We don't use or sell any email addresses used for accounts on any of our sites. Please take a look at our privacy policy. That's what it's there for.

Moreover, we do not accept payola for reviewing any game on this site. We spend hours evaluating games and choose games for review by committee.

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Patrick June 14, 2009 2:53 PM

I'm reasonably certain that the reason your ship is so unmaneuverable is because this is just the beginning of the full game, they intend to expand it further, and you'll be purchasing upgrades to make your ship more maneuverable as time goes by.

I base this on the achievements, and the way you can't accomplish them all yet. I may be wrong.

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zbeeblebrox Author Profile Page June 14, 2009 9:35 PM

I LOVE the loading screen. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

It really is a clever, well-made loading screen. Almost webtoy-esque. I'm surprised nobody's commented on it yet.

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I'll touch on a number of things in rather haphazard order in this comment.

Firstly I respect the authors of this site for responding to my complaints promptly and with substantial responses.

In response to Gobsmacked's comments, I completed this game, on a laptop with a touchpad, so no I don't think it's impossible.

Some of the games here I have complained about as being far too difficult for a touchpad, but this one was rather easy. I just stayed still and tried to pick off ships before they took too much damage. Shields help a lot. As does being careful when coming up on an enemy and not just going in blazing. It's nice to see a shooter that rewards a bit of thought and tactical play.

I liked the shortness of it, and the storyline was concise and OK.

For me, it was clear enough that when a mission is finished, you need to return to base for an update, as that was implied pretty heavily in the first few stages. I can see people's point that perhaps it should be even more clear.

I liked the realistic game mechanics in that manouvering is a little tricky - that's how it is in space, and hitting targets while moving at the same time is hard - again that's how it is. There's a simple solution - just stop moving if you want to make it easier to hit targets. You can buy high shields and armour so it's a feasible tactic.

Also I understood the need to manually manouvere back to base as helping to make it more immersive and continuous, but given the complainants, maybe an option would be to have either

- radio messages from base reminding you to come back or
- auto teleport back to base on mission complete
- or meet up with a merchant / supply tanker on mission completion.

There are some bugs yes, but given the price of the game, I ain't complaining.

- On the Eye of the Storm mission, I never got it completed, despite doing everything it asked. I didn't see the 'superweapon' it said I picked up either.

- On the final boss, there is a major gameplay design error - for me the only way to beat the final boss was to hang out 2 screens away, and just spend 15 minutes firing at random at it. The most boring boss fight I've ever seen.

Solution: prevent bullets from travelling off-screen for the boss fight, or think of some other way of encouraging the player to get in close with the boss. Maybe have some sort of skin design where the outer skin of the boss is invulnerable, and the player ship has to fly down a corridor to the heart of the boss?

Game-ending - the other comments are correct, it's a let down. It would be lovely to be able to get back to the base and report your victory and then be able to explore the star systems you've liberated.

I'd love to be able to go back to the Eye of the Storm system with my new upgrades and just have a go at blasting it out.

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Well I guess I'm in the minority opinion here, but I thought this was a fun, generally well-designed, and moderately challenging game. It certainly didn't reach the epic heights of Escape Velocity (one of my all-time favorites), but on the other hand it is both free and browser-based. So, y'kow, adjust your expectations accordingly.

I found the controls to be comfortable and the physics engine gave appropriate feelings of mass to the different ships. Aiming took a little more precision than in some games, but was not difficult. The enemy ships offered some variations in strategy: they were appropriately overpowered at the beginning (the opening dialogue makes it clear that the player is not piloting a top-line warship), so I had to adjust my tactics to outsmart each one; but by the end it was pretty easy to just rip into them with my turbo-charged Annihilator cannon before I took too much damage. My only major complaint was the uninspired final boss.

The graphics were pretty good for a game of this type - nothing mindboggling, but good enough to immerse myself in the game world. The enemy ships were well differentiated, so I could always tell right away who or what I was facing. I really appreciated some of the little touches, like how the Nexus Gates exerted a subtle gravitational pull on my ship, and the ripple effect when I entered them. The sound effects were good, but I wasn't such a fan of the music. I don't know if it would have changed to reflect the mood of different missions (that would have been really cool if it was done right), but right off the bat it was all "epic danger OMG orchestra stabs!!!" and I turned it off almost immediately.

The storyline was not particularly original, or deep, but I think what Josh was saying in the initial review is that the story is very well integrated into the mission structure *and* the gameplay. There was a persistent world that expanded as the game went on, rather than a series of independent areas with an upgrade screen as your only transition to them.

Starcom was fairly efficient with its locations, only creating as many areas as it needed and reusing them occasionally. It never took more than a minute or two to retrace my steps to the starbase. On the other hand, the various star systems all felt completely empty once the enemies were gone. I would have liked one or two outpost bases, perhaps with different upgrades from the main base; and the ability to land on at least some of the planets could have opened up a lot of new possibilities and greatly extended the game.

I had no trouble completing any of the missions (aside from dying a few times). In fact, I was able to finish all of them, and garner the full set of achievements (not a very long list, but still). I agree with many other commenters that the abrupt ending was a let-down.

However, I get the impression that the Starcom story is just beginning. For one thing, there was a "To be continued..." message that popped up after the final boss, so, I mean, that's kind of unmistakeable. But even before that I felt like - despite all the progress I had made - there was a lot left to do in the Starcom world that the game was clearly not going to let me do any time soon. For instance: there weren't enough credits available to buy every upgrade, but I felt like all of them were worth having (and not in a 'multiple strategies for replay value' kind of way). Also: even with most of the upgrades, my ship was still kind of a dinky piece of crap at the end. Turning speed in particular never got a boost, so the clunkiness that was expected of a beginning-of-the-game ship became an annoyance once I was piling on the weaponry and other bonuses. But if this is just the first chapter in a larger storyline, it makes sense to leave the player with room to grow in the next installment. If that's the case, though, why do I already have a laser cannon (called the Annihilator) that can tear apart a capital ship in 5 seconds? Hmm.

But anyway, I enjoyed Starcom for an hour or two and look forward to playing a sequel of some kind.

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Absolute belter of a game - loved everything about it - music was great too.

Please create some add ons - this thing deserves to live forever.

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I thought StarCom was very well done, and one of the best games of this level that I have played in quite a while. I found myself wanting more when I came to the end. I hope there is a sequel. Hopefully this one will be longer.

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raydster July 3, 2009 7:36 PM

I'm stuck on eye of the storm. What do I do?

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BTDGamer July 8, 2009 8:03 AM

Really liked it, but on the frontlines mission, I've defeated every enemy in the system, and the Prometheus won't give me the Havoc Module, The quest won't complete, and I can't move on. Help would be very much appreciated. Thanks.

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An okay game, but I'm thoroughly stuck on eye of the storm

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I need help REALLY bad on the frontlines mission. I destroyed all the enemies in the Alpha Hydra section and Prometheus just sits there, and the mission won't say complete.

PLEASE HELP!!!!

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Brilliant game considering it's flash, awesome amount of effort and work put into this to make it feel like a game I would've payed for.
Reminded me of Ares and the EV series, which were both great.
And I think that's what the creator was trying to achieve.
Worth the play.
9/10

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Commander112 July 13, 2009 3:01 PM

I'm stuck on the frontlines mission where u have to help the prometheus, i destroyed all the ships there already but what do i do now???

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Hey i'm stuck on the very first mission, my ship doesn't seem to fire at all, just freezes the other ships and uses reactor energy without doing anything. Help please?

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Hi don't worry, turned the music off and that fixed it. Thanx anyway

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BTDGamer July 20, 2009 12:28 AM

Ok, finished the frontlines mission, had to restart the entire game to complete it and I wasn't so happy...
Now I'm stuck on the "Superbase", and I absolutely suck at using the jump drive.
Advice please?

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dudaduda July 21, 2009 1:33 PM

Ribs, help me on the eye of the storm level. You said zoom out, but what area am I supposed to be in?

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I got the artifact for the Eye of the Storm mission, and there doesn't seem to be anything else left to kill on Prometheus' map, but the Frontlines mission won't end! I've gone back to base and even explored the Eye of the Storm location to no effect. Anyone know what I'm doing wrong?

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where I can find starcom2

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