World War II bombers to faster-than-light spaceships. The Runner Duck team at Runner Duck Studios, who developed the survival microsimulation for the crew of thebomber, traded in their green army uniform for a Star Trek inspired uniform and embarked on a galactic journey in the aptly named new Space Crewsequel. Will the studio have another indie favorite on their hands, as they did with Bomber Crew? Let’s get brutally into the details of this review!
For those who haven’t played Bomber Crew yet, let’s delve into Space Crew , as the two games have a lot in common. You are the captain of a new luxury spaceship that is part of the U.D.F., also known as the United Defense Forces. With your tough crew, you’ll set out to explore the galaxy, defend against alien phasmids and, like Futurama’s Planet Express, often deliver a lot of goods.
The game falls into the genre of survival simulation, with a few mischievous elements, and it takes more than a few well-placed tutorial missions (pun intended) in the beginning to get a good grasp of the chaos that can break out aboard a spaceship at any time during your interstellar travels. When you launch from your Space Station on Earth, you have the mission orders in hand and discover that the game is divided into two main action phases that take place simultaneously. Part of your job as captain is to zoom the camera outside the spaceship and plan FTL jump points, mark landing points and attack enemy fighters that may be patrolling the areas you are in. This mechanism is easy to use and also provides an excellent visual representation of your ship’s performance, especially in a difficult combat environment. If you find yourself in the vulnerable position of enemies boarding your ship, critical ship fires or hull damage, you’re ready to jump into a more simulated control aspect of your ship.
As you zoom in on your spaceship, your view changes to a more fixed isometric camera inside the ship, and so begins the game’s second big moment. You see your team of cute chibi-like characters at their posts, and from there you as the player can do a lot of things, and that’s where the real chaos can happen in an instant. Throughout the ship, there are a variety of positions that can be held by any crew member, from weapons stations to communications stations, captain’s chairs, etc. Each member of your crew has a specific role, and alignment with that position is certainly critical to the operation of a well-oiled ship. However, given the extreme circumstances that may arise, this is not always the case.
The first missions I undertook went smoothly. The game unlocks more and more options with each success. It wasn’t until I was in space a few times that I was able to customize my equipment and the uniforms of my crew, and before I knew it, I was bringing a new set of colors aboard my ship Tin Crocodile, which, oddly enough, was automatically made for me. With an experienced crew and a sturdy ship built to explore the universe, I embarked on a rescue mission …. And then it got worse, and I realized there was so much more to do in the captain’s chair.
After jumping to the next point on my journey to Venus, a swarm of Fasmida alien hunters surrounded me and opened fire. Space Crew offers no diplomatic solutions, as far as I know. So I had to immediately move my communications officer to my weapons base, and redirect energy to my shields to contain the massive amounts of enemy fire.
But it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was trying to contain this hostile encounter. Fires started, so I directed the crew to the nearest fire panels available on my ship. My only mechanic was trying to stop the radiation leakage and repair the badly damaged engines. The whole showdown inside the ship, takes a bit of mastery, although the game gets a little rough there. To select a specific crew member, press and hold the B button while moving the D block up or down. Once a crew member is selected to move, you must hold down the other button and move the control button to reach their destination. If you have to leave the inside view to get more enemy targets, this is also a multi-button achievement. Even after half a dozen missions, it was the biggest challenge I ever faced in intense situations where every second literally counted as the death of my liaison officer on the deck of my ship. I wish there was a more accessible surveillance system, but unfortunately there isn’t. However, if you have played Bomber Crew , you will feel at home with this knowledge, as the controls are almost identical.
My intense mission ended with my return to my home Space Station with a badly damaged ship, half the crew dead and the rest badly injured. No med-kit or infirmary during a mission will help us fully. Fortunately, the mission was still considered successful, but I had to put together the new red suits.
Which brings me to the worst-case scenario. If your ship is lost, you can try to evacuate via escape pods, which you can use to upgrade your ship. If your ship is destroyed, you get a new ship, but you lose your ship settings and installed updates. The same goes for the crew members who died. With each successful mission they are promoted in rank and given better abilities, which I find very useful in space. Starting from scratch is hard, that’s for sure. And in that sense, the game is about figuring out how long your crew and your ship can last before you lose everything. Luck on quick jobs often comes with severe penalties compared to the longer but safer road. The space crew of does not last long on easy missions, and even on moderate missions I have found it difficult to maintain the most basic functions aboard my ship.
As you’ve already read, Space Crew offers a lot of things in the survival simulation genre. Fortunately, everything is wrapped up in a very charming, endearing and humorous package that makes this game a pleasure to play. It’s a bit boring, and the missions aren’t as varied as I’d hoped, as I had to endure a lot of delivery/reception-type missions, but it never bothered me too much.
Finally, if you’ve played Bomber Crew , that’s essentially the same game, but played in space, with lots of space. The menus, commands, gameplay and game mechanics are almost identical. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I wouldn’t mind some quality of life improvements to make the gameplay a little more fluid for me. There are a few nice things, like the selection of ship items (like the fire extinguisher) that now allows you to just put out the fire instead of having to go in manually, but this sequel plays the safety card pretty well, giving you a very familiar feel.
Conquering the galaxy as a Starfleet look-alike in hopes of creating the best space crew is a difficult challenge, but with many rewards along the way. With clunky commands too similar to its predecessor, it’s a game worth considering for most Switch owners. I give the game a better score if you are new to the series, as it will be a fresher experience for you.
- Charts – 7/10
- Sound – 6.5/10
- Gameplay – 6.5/10
- Late Call – 6/10
Final thoughts: AWARDS
In Space Crew, the sequel to Bomber Crew, players must navigate the dangers of space, pilot their crew and spaceship, and defend the galaxy from the Phasmids. The game looks less like a sequel than a full skin and version 1.5 of the original. The controls are still a bit complicated, but the game contains many micro controls, even if they are a bit more complicated than I had hoped. If you haven’t played Bomber Crew yet, or if you need a new theme for the game, head to the stars and enjoy Space Crew.
Alex has been involved in the gaming industry since the release of Nintendo. He turned his hobby into his profession, has been developing games for just over a decade and is now the creative director of the studio.
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