At Pax West 2019, we found ourselves playing an interesting and amusing pass-time in the form of Spacebase Startopia. Spacebase Startopia is part civilization/empire builder and part real time strategy. You must manage, expand and defend a spacebase populated by various alien races. You are in charge of station resources, alien wellbeing and entertainment, and station growth. While you immerse in this juggling act of management, you deal with on-base threats, randomly boarding space pirates, passer-by space traders and the game’s sarcastic AI, VAL, who both assists you and assaults you with comical quips.
The game sports a comical, cartoonish and quirky air to it, as VAL talks you through your first steps as the base’s commander. Of course, she does this while keeping your ego at bay with the ever-so-frequent put-downs and slams.
The base consists of three main decks.
The “Sub Deck” houses the core faculty functions and buildings for base vitality and maintenance.
The “Fun Deck” is exactly what it sounds like, a section devoted to the amusement and livelihood of the various alien races aboard the spacebase.
Lastly, the “Bio Deck” is the resource-harvesting level of the station.
The game at is a civilization-builder at its core, however the base “threats” are where the RTS components and combat kick in. So far, the game will house 10 single-player missions, 30 different rooms, 7 alien races (including one droid one and one mech unit), 4 players on multiplayer, and 3 different game modes. For multiplayer, Spacebase Startopia will sport cooperative and competitive modes. In the competitive mode, players will be placed randomly around the station, where base expansion can either be the key to success, or the beginning of a confrontation with an opponent on the other side of a wall. Last but not least, the game will also feature a configurable sandbox mode.
When we got our hands on Spacebase Startopia, we truly did not know what to expect. What we were treated to was a strangely engaging game that almost made us late for our next meeting. The game has a very campy appearance to it, with bouncy alien beings just roaming about and VAL’s comments keeping things amusing along the way. No matter how closely we followed her instructions, us carbon-based life forms simply could not impress her. You do not simply drop pre-designed buildings on a grid. You can make the buildings as big as you like and fill that building with the amenities that you see fit. Despite how early the build we played was, we had fun and saw plenty of promise in this upcoming title.
Definitely keep an eye out for Spacebase Startopia, developed by Realmforge Studios. It has a planned release of Fall 2020. It will be available for PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.