Sid Meier’s Starships Review (iOS)
If space is the final frontier, Sid Meier's Starships should truly reach for the stars. As a turn-based strategy adventure, the game traverses an inspired and diverse path only to be saddled with a few minor missteps.
The goal of Sid Meier's Starships is to spread your influence throughout the universe, with victory on your side once you control 51% of the environment. There are other explorers who will attempt to pry planets from your grasp, and whether it's through warfare or peace, the goal is to leave these competitors in their dust.
The plethora of options at your disposal is evident from the jump, as you will choose the leader as well as your squadron's philosophy (supremacy, harmony, purity) before embarking on your first mission. Successfully completing each mission will partially place the respective planet in your favor, and its fidelity will increase with each new city or technological advancement built on home ground.
A huge aspect science fiction's allure lies in the sheer joy of exploration and discovery, and Sid Meier's Starships has tons of avenues that should keep you glued to your device for hours. Thanks to his Civilization franchise, Sid Meier holds a heavy influence in the farming genre that has flourished within mobile and tablet gaming, and this game continues Meier's commitment to building worlds within an intellectual construct.
For example, different types of currency in Starships are needed to keep your squadron and your kingdoms running in an efficient manner. To build more starships, as well as upgrade a craft's shield and laser systems (or even repair your craft), energy resources must be expended. Science resources are employed for research technology while metals are utilized to upgrade conquered planets. If you're in need of a specific resource, you can visit the marketplace, sell some of your other accrued forms of currency, and buy whatever resource you need.
Whether it's improving the technology and living conditions of your planets or upgrading your ships, Starships offers a ton of gameplay even before the battle begins, giving farming fanatics enough bang for their bucks.
Unfortunately, it's the "bucks" that weigh down Starships, as its $14.99 price tag is simply ridiculous, even if the game is currently available for iPad and Steam users. Although the Sid Meier brand equates to an addictive, world-building experience, farming and turn-based strategy titles usually don't cost an arm and a leg to purchase. We live in a free-to-play age, where hours of gameplay can be had without spending a dime or even a more expensive app will cost several dollars to download.
For almost $15, I'd expect a visually dynamic, eye-catching experience which would have kept my eyes glued to the screen. Instead, the images are, at best, muted, as Starships' main focus is to offer us an endless supply of upgrade and building options.
It's hard to offer up anything innovate within a turn-based combat structure, and although you can position your ships to hide behind asteroids as well as send out fighter crafts from your ships, there's nothing innovative or even thrilling about these battles. App enthusiasts who have touched and tapped their way through combat should be fine with Sid Meier's Starships space fights, especially since the game's bread and butter centers on the building and upgrading of their respective universe.
Sid Meier's Starships is a highly diverting experience if collecting resources, managing upgrades, and strategically outwitting your adversary is your cup of tea. Although the price tag is much more reasonable than your average console title, $14.99 may lead other gamers in a different direction. That said, players who opt for a fiscally healthier expenditure will be missing out on a solid Sid Meier experience, since Starships is a space odyssey that’s definitely worth your time.
This review is based on a digital download of Sid Meier's Starships provided by the publisher for iOS.