Review : Pixel Starships
Pixel Starships was released in January of 2016 and designed by Savy Soda. Originally a Kickstarter project, it was funded on June 25th, 2015. They asked for $20,000 and just squeaked by with $22,000.
From the Kickstarter offering you really get a great vibe. Take FTL, mash in the graphics of a NimbleBit game, and set it all in an MMO-like universe. That’s one hell of an offering right?
Initially I was sucked in by the marketing. If they really did take all of the best parts of FTL, EVE, Xcom, and manage to seamlessly blend it into one game… man, this would be one hell of an epic game. Unfortunately the sales pitch doesn’t match the product. In fact they sold a Corvette and delivered a chrome coated pedal bike with square tires that you have to put money into to get anywhere. It’s a bumpy ride that looks good, feels like shit, and leaves you wondering why you’re out for a bike ride.
The graphics immediately reminded me of a game done by Nimblebit. Those games are low effort, high-cuteness games, and they do a pretty good job of giving a nice casual gaming experience without crippling the game with in-app purchases. You feel like you can actually play, and enjoy, the game without dropping cash. Pixel Starships is not that sort of game.
Now to be totally up front, I’d rather pay money for a game. Give me a lite version, let me try it out, but I’d rather drop a few bucks then play a piece of crippleware.
Hurry Up and Wait
Pixel Starships is the worst sort of crippleware. Not only is the game designed to streamline you into paying for something, it does it in a way that makes the game virtually unplayable. Instead of a wide open universe to explore we instead have a few rails into the stars. Each of these paths lead to the same tired mechanics that we see with Clash of Clans or any other Farmville like game. A steady progression of resource collection tied to time, or real money, and fairly well independent of any real gameplay choices.
Shouldn’t we expect more by now?
The promise of exploration and away missions is non-existent. That could have been a vibrant mechanic to expand the game into something more than a shitty gimmick.
A Simple Question
Do you enjoy waiting to play your games?
If you like to see that constant up-tick like a bad feed from an IV… well give it a try. Otherwise stay clear from the troubled asteroid belts and boring starscapes that come from this cutesy, but inevitably dull, starship simulator.
Everything feels like a game where they expected to hit it big with the Kickstarter but instead it fell flat. Even the login screen has a tip that says “Tips are supposed to go here.” The combat is one dimensional, the progression feels pointless, even the upgrading of ships is just another tap and wait.
Savy had an opportunity to make something unique, to build upon where Starship Command failed. Instead they took a path paved with in-app purchases and meaningless decisions.
1 / 5