Thursday, 3 September 2009

Gratuitous Space Battles! Beta Arrives!

Well I've been waiting for this for months and months now.

Positech games have released the beta version of GSB which you can play if you pre-order now! To pre-order costs $20 (about £15) so how does the beta play hmm?

So far so good!

I was a bit bothered by a multitude of help boxes that appeared as I was getting to grips with it. I'm not one for reading stuff like that, I like to poke at controls until something works and rely on the manual if all else fails. So I managed to design a ship and place weapons and modules in different places (ala Ascendancy/Pioneer) and got a fairly good feel for what did what. I didn't realise I should have added shields to my huge starship however and very soon I was wondering why my brand new sparking cruiser was covered in explosions.

On my second run I got that right and ended up with a powerful, but expensive, cruiser. Knowing exactly what weapons are effective is going to be down to experience I think, the same with the large number of rocket/missile weaponry that's available. It then took a further 2 attempts to get the fleet layout to it's most efficient so that I could defeat the first level! After having watched the battle closely the first few times it dawned on me that I should be focusing my efforts on the centre of the enemy fleet and since they had 2 fairly powerful ships either side, flanking was not a simple possibility. So I put my two biggest ships dead centre and surrounded them with smaller cruisers. Then I used lower level cruisers each end to keep the enemy flanks occupied until the biggest ship had been dealt with. Once the biggun had been destroyed by larger cruiser mopped up the flanks.

It worked a treat and I ended up winning the round! After this you get honour points which allow you to obtain unlockable items to add to your ship designs. I'm saving up for the bigger ones I think...

I'm quite taken with it I have to admit. Not having any control during a battle is quite a change to the norm and you can feel a bit helpless. You have to watch quite closesly to see where the focus of the battle ends up so that next time (if you loose of course) you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

There were a few problems I noticed - overlapping help boxes (some appeared before they should do) and the Escape key seems to bring you out of any screen far too easily (did I miss something there?!) but otherwise this is definitely worth everyone's attention.

Once the first release version comes out I'll be doing a full review and certainly some strategy hints as I just can't resist!

Resistance is...well, you know...

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