Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander at its core is a deep, beautiful and polished colony management game that is not afraid to make you work hard to survive. You play as the acting commander of the Federation, a race that has lost their foothold in the galaxy and is desperately trying to regain their presence.
GLEAMING AND G(LISTENING)
Massive Damage Inc. has pulled out all the stops when it comes to art design. The game is just simply stunning. Characters are unique in design and races are easily distinguishable and original. Spend enough time in-game fighting various enemies and you’ll eventually notice similarities in ship design which will give away some of their future move possibilities. For a game that features intense combat, special effects, a galactical map to explore, a massive Starbase to build upon and deep management within well laid out menus it’s incredible art style feels fleshed out across the board. However, my eyes weren’t the only ones pleased. Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander is also accompanied by a mesmerizing orchestral score.
WITH GREAT POWER… COMES PRIORITISING
The game pulls you in with a well thought-out tutorial system that teaches you everything you need to know in an organized and efficient way before respectfully leaving you out to dry in the vast and dangerous space. The onboard Starbase building management is similar to games of late like Fallout: Shelter but boasts much more depth due to interconnectivity with other gameplay mechanics.
After a while I had built a lounge and recruited 3 officers, each with their own respective ship that was designed specifically for their skills in combat. I then needed to head out with the limited amount of fuel I had, splitting up my fleet in order to complete tasks. I sent my scientist ship away on a circuit to collect Dark Matter from different Nebulas. My engineering ship went the opposite way in search of materials and finally my tactical ship, piloted by an officer I had named “Savage Ship-Smasher”, went off to deal with a small alien fleet that was bothering another material station. It all sounded so easy. Alien feces soon hit the galactical fan when my engineering ship ran into trouble with pirates and got smothered. Dead. There goes the materials I needed for my next build. My scientist was just about to finish her rounds collecting Dark Matter when Starbase was attacked. A quick re-route lead her on her way back to defend… alone… (Hint: Bad idea). “Savage Ship-Smasher” on the other hand was fine, he totally destroyed his foes and thankfully the material gain was enough to compensate for the death of engineering (you will be missed). I ended up holding off from attack with the scientist until my tactical ship returned with the supplies. I then spent 3 days with the attackers patiently waiting outside while I built another engineering ship and assigned a somewhat “noob” level pilot to it. Then all 3 of my fleet took on the attackers. It all felt so incredibly epic.
Aside from the great turn based combat, smart material collection and prioritizing, and innovative Starbase building, Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander also offers a story of sorts, even if it is small. I only got to play Act 1 of 3, because that was all that was available to me, but I really was invested with how I interacted with other race leaders, fearing that one wrong sentence could break an alliance and at times I was genuinely uncertain of who to trust.
Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander is well worth your wallet. It’s an enjoyable, often tense and epic space management, combat and colony builder. Massive Damage Inc set out with high ambitions that clearly paid off because the beautiful art style and score hold all the elements of this game together in one extremely polished and deep experience. Even when one of my characters died, my ship destroyed and progress lost I still had to rebuild, recruit and re-organize to stay alive, and that’s where the real joy of space kicked in.
Check out more screenshots from the game below.
A copy of the game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review. The game is now available on Steam as an Early Access title.