Spiral Drive takes its notes from the heyday of games like Starcraft and Alpha Centauri, blending space-based sci-fi action and a thoughtful, accessible control scheme. This real-time strategy game by Nico Tuason puts you in charge of a fleet of beautifully rendered ships, having you maneuver, combine and separate them to defeat an array of evolving foes. Hardcore strategy fans will find the game somewhat quaint. There's only one ship type for the main campaign and units build automatically. On the other hand, this allows you to focus your attention on the various flanking and capturing tactics you'll need to seize victory from the jaws of defeat. Simply select a contingent of ships with the mouse and move them to each space station, capturing them (and frequently losing and recapturing them) and choosing the best time to strike. Think of it like real-time space checkers with an awesome look and great soundtrack, perfect for any strategy aficionado wanting to conquer the universe during a few lunch breaks.
Spiral Drive has a slow movement speed that might feel constrictive for the first few levels. But rest assured, the challenge ramps up steadily, and around the midway point you'll be begging for the earlier levels where you had more time to plot out each move. The enemies' tactics and units are always evolving while you're stuck with your basic ships, watching yourself gradually get outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and outgunned. It's player skill that makes or breaks you here, not economics or hotkey wizardry. As said, this might be best for casual strategy fans, but the later levels will get you sweating, guaranteed. Add to all that a fantastic Starcraft-esque soundtrack (available for download, by the way) and some sharp, lag-free isometric visuals and you've got a fiendishly addictive and satisfying experience. Divide, combine and conquer. Spiral Drive lets you do it all.