The Spacebase Startopia is opened. The donut space station happily makes its rounds in space and attracts aliens from all quadrants as a place of peace and recreation.  Work, fun, and relaxation - Startopia Spacebase Startopia offers all kinds of entertainment possibilities over a total of five tourist levels. Each level has its increasing...

Spacebase Startopia

  • Samanta Blumberg
  • May 19, 2021

The Spacebase Startopia is opened. The donut space station happily makes its rounds in space and attracts aliens from all quadrants as a place of peace and recreation. 

Work, fun, and relaxation - Startopia
Spacebase Startopia offers all kinds of entertainment possibilities over a total of five tourist levels. Each level has its increasing demands. Whether you are worthy of demanding tourists are determined by a satisfaction barometer. This is also the basis for the two currencies in the game. Because only satisfied visitors give their energy and positive ratings. You need the energy for construction and trade. Positive ratings give prestige, which is the basis for the research system and ensures the influx of higher tourist levels. At regular intervals, visitors vote on the condition of your station. Garbage, defective buildings, or queues at the drinks machine are the enemy of every tourist in need of recreation.

So it's no wonder that as a commander on Startopia you spend a lot of time trying to prevent these things from happening. But you don't have to do it alone. At your side are the hard-working Fuzzy Druids, who are always repairing, cleaning, and building for you. Depending on what needs to be done. This is also urgently necessary, because the help of these little multi-talents is indispensable, especially later in the game. Not only fuzzies but also a research system belong to the optimization and operation of your station. Here you can use the prestige you gain to improve your operational buildings over several levels, so that air conditioners have a larger radius, for example, or your factory produces more quickly, or the needs of visitors decrease more quickly after using some infrastructure.

Yes, the needs. Sometimes a closed book. While individual visitors on an overview map still show the individual needs very well, it becomes more difficult with the masses. Here you have only two indicators. In the visitor list, the mood is shown in an icon, and in the voting window, satisfaction is shown using hashtags listing the positive and negative experiences. What exactly and how much of what you are missing for the satisfaction of the total mass, however, you have to determine yourself. An activity that quickly ends in tedious micromanaging. Sometimes you just forgot to produce new sushi for the sushi bar in the factory - why is there no automatism for this? Other times it's a matter of checking the queues at the various car washes.

One full wash, please
Aliens go through the car wash, everyone knows that. When they get away from the food stall, have danced their hearts out in the disco, and don't occupy the hotel bed any further, they like to relax on the bio-deck. This is not only for relaxation, but also has another important function. The Bio Deck is home to one of the visitor species, the dryads. These not only care for and nurture the plants, but also mine valuable resources such as food, medicine, or fibers. These resources grow in nine different biomes. Some of the raw materials are needed for direct consumption, such as food and medicine, while fibers are processed. This processing takes place in the factory on the sub-deck. This is the deck that houses the essential factory buildings. Here you will also find the recycling station and the infirmary, but also the security center with its mechs.

Just as on the Bio Deck the dryads are tree huggers, each of the eight species has its field of activity and contributes to the operation of your station. Provided you hire the visitors and assuming the employees are willing to work. When and how they do their job is unfortunately a guess and hope game. Something like a roster overview would have been helpful here. Most of the time you have to employ X number of employees in Startopia than necessary because one of them is fishing sushi out of the pool, while the other one is philosophizing with a monk and the third one is still 5 minutes away from his workplace. However, once the entertainment-addicted aliens are working, employees can also gain experience and improve their skills through promotion.

To get a feel for all these things, Spacebase Startopia offers a tutorial along with ten loose campaign missions. There isn't a coherent story, rather a framework. While the first missions focus on single functions like a garbage disposal or medical care, you have to become true multi-talents in the later missions. Depending on the chosen difficulty level, tricky challenges await you. This includes disputes with competitors from time to time. Be it financially or with security drones and giant mechs. Overall, the real-time strategy battles are simple and superficial but serve their purpose in station expansion.

All beginnings were easy ...
Even on the lowest difficulty level, later missions can lead to frustration. This is not the least because the gameplay becomes very complex despite its simple basic mechanics. Playing with foresight is difficult, especially during the first combat run of Spacebase Startopia, because all too often we jump from one problem to the next, take care of doctors who don't do their job, or send our battle robots through the area because the neighbor is stressing out again. In between, the merchant wants to trade, space pirates show up, a garbage bomb has to be removed, and so on. Everything is a bit too much of a good thing and the coherent atmosphere of the game, which combines fun and relaxation with humor, is unnecessarily distorted. A pause function to take a breath and reorient oneself is searched for in vain. It would have been an additional help to be able to adjust the individual parameters of the predefined difficulty levels yourself, some of them perhaps even further down.

If you have nevertheless managed to master the mechanics of the game or want to improve your skills, the free game is available for this. Here you can compete with up to three opponents. By the way, both the free game and the campaign offer a co-op mode, which facilitates the management of large space stations in particular, since two people can simply cope better with the many micromanagement.

Spacebase Startopia offers a solid building strategy, charm, and a decent amount of humor. A formula that is in principle a good basis, but was not thought through to the end in depth. Ironically, the game was made available in a preview, which disguised these very weaknesses in the later gameplay. Because this preview version would have had the potential to eliminate the design weaknesses of the late game together with the community. Nevertheless, Spacebase Startopia is an entertaining building strategy game, which unfortunately gets in its way here and there. This is because the game functions gain in complexity, but not enough help is provided to master them. In its moments of glory, Spacebase Startopia is exactly what it should be and shows how an iconic brand can be brought into the modern gaming world.