Space Crew is the latest title from the team at Runner Duck, famous for another little title called Bomber Crew. Does two make the crew or is it too much too soon?.
What is Space Crew, well it’s a space ship/crew management simulation which plays in real time or to put it in even simpler terms, its Sci-Fi Bomber Crew.
Space Crew features a vibrant and minimalistic art design, everything looks similar to PlayMobile and gives you that sense of wonder and imagination you had back as a kid, watching Star Trek and reinacting your favourite episodes.
The audio isn’t really a standout here, it does a good enough job for ambience but nothing like Oscar worthy voice acting or War of the Worlds style music. It passes and it does a good enough job.
Now when I say Space Crew is a management sim, I mean it. You are given your default ship & crew, each crew member has a role and through completion of missions will level up and develop further roles.
When piloting your ship, naturally you need a Captain, you also need a trust engineer for the inevitable engine/gun/o2 failure. What about if Aliens try to board your ship, well you’ll need a security officer & someone is going to have to man the scanners!. Your crew is fully customizable and the game does make a point of making sure all the essential roles are filled before you start.
Naturally your ship needs equipping too, shields, reactors, fire extinguishers and first aid kits are a must!. You’ll pick a mission from command and then off you go to earn some coin and research points to help you expand your load out and allow you to take on more missions.
Generally the flow of the game is as such, leave the station, scan the first way point, arrive in a sector, all hell descends then you may or may not experience several more bouts of pressure until mission fail or success.
The enemies in this game will attack you fairly often and this hits you hard, especially after you fall straight out of the tutorial. As this is a management sim, you need to make sure that your team are in the right places, at the right time, all the time and even then something is bound to set on fire or radiation will leak.
You command your crew to perform actions, this means you’ll be directing them to and fro while targeting stuff for them to shoot and activating the bonus abilities they gain through rank whenever possible. As is the nature of this genre, things go wrong all the time and your ability to deal with it/luck plays a massive part in seeing Mission Success rather than dealing with a load of deaths and a wrecked ship.
There is no feeling quite like clawing everything back from the jaws of defeat and reaping in that well earned reward only to deck your ship out and continue along this simple but addictive gameplay loop. It’s succeeding in moments of total chaos which truly bring out the absolute best in Space Crew.
Now this hands off approach may not appeal to everyone, leaving that degree of luck out there can always present issues but if you like the chaos of managing a space craft and crew through missions of varying danger, Space Crew might just be for you, that is if you can tackle the controls.
Now with it being a management sim, naturally it would feel very at home on Computer, the Switch with Joycons on the other hand it presents its self as an intimidating sim at first with fairly awkward controls. Now an hour into playing I felt fairly confident with the controls but god bless the slow down button, playing button gymnastics while my space ship folds under alien fire was the wrong kind of pressure I wanted from the game. I was hoping it would make use of the Switch touch screen but sadly not, it did make use of the gyro controls to aim the scanner though so there was that.
I enjoyed and will continue to enjoy my exploits in space, the tense gameplay and addictive loop will hook players and returning playing from Bomber Crew will know exactly what they are walking into. The slightly naff controls are a blemish on the title though and it’s a shame I never truly felt I was in total control, rather fighting with an unwieldy control panel in the depths of space.
Reaches for the stars but unfortunately, the controls have a tendency to steer you wrong when you need it the most.
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