A new simulation strategy game from developer Realmforge studios makes its way to PS5 this month in the form of Spacebase Startopia. Published by kalypso media, the game lands on March 26th for £49.99 on the PS store, so let’s take a look at this space station management sim and see if it shoots for the stars!
Story wise Starbase Startopia sees you take on the role of the commander of startopia, who has the responsibility of managing the station and accomplishing various objectives – including everything from trash collection up to running the party central fun deck for your guests. All this is done with the aid, or rather snarky input, of your AI companion.
Depending on the individual mission you’ll find yourself with a clear cut goal to work towards, in the earlier tutorial missions these missions seem to hyper focus on teaching you a given objective rather than managing the whole base. By the time you are able to run each section of the station you should be quite adept at setting the place up for it to be at least mostly autonomous.
Visually the game has some interesting character designs, and floating around the donut shaped space stations 3 decks was a new experience that took a little getting used to. Most of the visuals are surprisingly well done and have neat little details, such as the guests outfits or factories and other buildings having animations that make the place feel more alive. Early on in my time with the title I encountered a fair few issues with visual bugs that hindered game play ,this however seemed to have been rectified with a patch and no longer poses an issue, at least in my experience.
The titles sound, while not all that note worthy in terms of uniqueness, saw each area of the sound design do what it needed to when it was needed. This made the station feel more lived in thanks to small details, like sick residents coughing in the hallways, or the sounds of the disco and other buildings. The best part of all this for me was the voiced AI companion, whose sole aim seems to be to berate you for doing exactly what you were told to.
Gameplay as mentioned above sees you managing the station and accomplishing various tasks inside, this is no small feat as for starters each of the 3 decks have there own use, with each of those decks being comprised of multiple sections. All of this won’t be accessible from the start however, as you progress the station will become a sprawling galactic hub of travel and fun.
From the start you will have access to the base level of startopia. This area will be comprised of a large number of facilities, ranging from recycling plants to police stations, and will also be where your inhabitants use the berth to to eat bathe and sleep. This area will also house places such as the Medbay where your guests will be treated for illness. Overall it’s a key location with a lot of verity and a key part of ensuring life on startopia runs smoothly
On top of this you also have the bio deck and the fun deck, the former is mostly self explanatory. It’s where the biomes that house plants and other resource generating items are cultivated and thrive. while the latter is home to the floating city’s nightlife and entertainment centre that will swiftly become a source of income to continue expanding and developing the station. This area is home to a number of activities and distractions for your guests, such as discos or the gravity drop among others
Having all 3 areas working in unison while maintaining the needs of your guests, and dealing with things such as criminals and bomb loving maniacs, are all part of the title and make for some interesting and fun gameplay. Once you get to grips with each area of the game, it’s very easy to lose yourself in and wonder where the time went.
Another area of gameplay also exists in the form of combat. This area of gameplay sees you defending your station from hostile threats, with the aid of mechs of different designs and skill sets. I honestly found this to be a fun addition, if not quite as fleshed out as I would have liked. Another thing of note here is the fact you need a security station per mech, making it a little time consuming to construct a decent fighting force to stand against the likes of the bosses. These mechs can also be a little janky to order around and manage well, with one of my mechs outright refusing to do anything but stand in the middle of my station despite any actions I took.
Overall the title is rather enjoyable. Since the patch I’ve encountered almost zero issues and found the game a more relaxing base construction and management sim with enough of a challenge to keep me invested, without overwhelming me. The combat is a little lacklustre on its own, but in combination with the games other aspects helps to maintain the fun factor. A fun diversion for fans of the genre and worth a try for others looking for something enjoyable & relaxing to play.
Relax among the stars in this enjoyable starbase management sim.