Starbase Orion iOS

By Jean Marciniak 05 Dec 2013 0

Many of us have browsed through The App Store looking for that 1 mobile game that can fulfill all our strategy needs. That one game that gets us excited to dive in and play every time. For me that game is Starbase Orion. So I decided to do a full review of this game to see what I love about this game and what I feel needs improvement.

Now there are many space strategy games that are very popular on The App Store, but Starbase Orion caught my eye because it was easy to play, simple to understand and offered the best 4X ("explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate?) experience on the mobile platform.



So let?s dive right in to my Pros & Cons ?



Easy To Learn & Play - This game has a tutorial, but it doesn't need one. It took me literally 10-15 minutes to understand and start playing the game. I give big props to Chimera Software for making a game this intuitive. I wish other companies made games this easy to play and understand.

Beautiful Galaxy Map & Star Systems - The map in this game is beautiful. It?s not only easy to move around with quick pinch and zoom, but it?s a joy to look at. When you tap on a star system you get a view of the planets that orbit the star. You can quickly tap on 1 of them to see if it?s worthy of a colonization or conquest.

Production & Resources are easy to manage - There are 4 resources (Food, Gold, Research and Command Points) in this game and its breeze to work with them. The only one I really had to put some time to learn was Command Points, which governs how many ships you can have in your empire. Managing production is very easy. It?s a quick tap, select the building or ship you want and boom it?s under construction. I like games that make managing resources easy to keep track of.

There is even an empire view where you can view and manage all the production and resources of every planet in your empire. This is a cool feature as you don't have to go planet by planet to see what?s going on.

Ship Designer is a cool feature - Yes you can design your own ships in this game. What happens is they give you a preset ship design; you name the ship, and arm it with whatever weapons and ship systems you want it to have. The same goes for starbases which you can arm to the teeth, basically making a invasion by a enemy a nightmare.

Good Notification System - I really like this feature. Notifications are key to large scale strategy games, especially when you have 20-30 star systems in your empire and dozens of ships running around the galaxy ? things can get busy real fast. The notification system in Starbase Orion makes it easy to manage what?s going on in your empire. It eliminates you having to check on every planet and ship in your empire every turn. When a colony finishes building something or if your fleet just entered an enemy star system and you want to get the party started, it?ll shoot you a pop up letting you know.

Multiplayer & InGame chat works great - Having a multiplayer experience in a strategy game nowadays is not a option, it?s a necessity - especially in mobile games. It needs to be in there. Many studios do add in multiplayer functionality into games, but a lot of times its not done very well. But rest assured it?s done right here. You can start a multiplayer game very easily and with iOS 7 Game Center integration tons of really cool features await you. Before iOS 7 if a player didn't complete their turn you?d have to wait for them. Sometimes it can be days, weeks, and even months. By then most people started new games. But iOS 7 allowed the developer to include a feature that if a player takes too long, it skips over them :). You can imagine that made everyone Very Happy. Also included is an in-game chat, which is cool because you can make back room deals with other players.



Cannot Rename Ships or Fleets - You read it right. After you build a ship there is no way of renaming that ship, which is really weird. This would be a obvious feature to add in, but apparently it?s not in there. You cannot rename your ships or name your fleets. It would have been really cool if such a feature was included - but it?s not a deal breaker.

Combat is automated - This is not a big issue for me, but lately I?ve been wishing the game had some sort of real time or turn based combat, so I can order ships where I want them to go and tell them who they?ll be shooting at. Now I understand this game is made for a mobile device, which a few years ago didn't have as much power as desktops, but today?s Tablets and Smartphones have a lot of muscle, especially the new iPad Air, Mini and iPhone 5S.

No Auto generated Ship Names - Say you want to build of fleet of 10 ships. That?s easy. All you need to do is go into ship designer, name your ship, and then customize it with the latest weapons and systems and there you go. But the problem happens when the first ship is built. You need to go back to ship designer and rename the next ship. And when that one is done you have to go back and rename again, and so on and so on until all 10 ships are built. The game doesn't include auto generated ship names so it?s a pain building ships. I eventually gave up and have all my ships named the same name.



Research needs a Tech Tree - I think with such a large technology system in this game it needs a tech tree. Something as easy to use as Sid Meier?s Civilization. This would give the player an idea where they can go long term when researching technology.

Allow players to mark their territory - This would be an amazing feature if added. Currently the game sets your territory based on what colonies you have, where the other player?s colonies are, etc., but I would love to see a feature added where I can designate where my territory starts and where it ends.

Mac Version - Starbase Orion is available on the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, iPad Mini, and I would love to see it on my Mac. I hope in the future the developer makes a Mac version so if you want to play this awesome game now you can play it on your 27? iMac.!

More Fleet Options - I would like to see a feature added where I can do more with my fleets. Actions such as orbital bombardment (not taking over a system but damaging it or completely wiping it out), system blockade, system destruction (through a death star type ship or having the star go nova) would be beneficial in my quest for galactic conquest.



I have put in hours and hours into Starbase Orion and I can honestly tell you this is by far one the best games on The App Store. I would have bought it at double the price. The amount of enjoyment you get from developing your empire from a 1 star system to becoming a galactic empire is amazing. Being able to create colonies, develop my military, engage in diplomacy and expand my presence to all corners of the galaxy is something I never thought I would get on a Tablet or Smartphone.

Starbase Orion is one of the best iPad games I have ever played. It sells for $7.99 on The App Store and honestly if you?re into space strategy games this is by far the best. You ought to pick it up right away.

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