The year, 2152; the captain and their crew are on a routine mission to deliver precious cargo to a neighbouring planet when suddenly, enemies approach! Pew Pew, man the turrets! The oxygen tank has been hit, get the engineer on it! Fire in the brig; cadet, grab the extinguisher. We can’t hold out much longer, abort mission! Negative; evade and ready the engines for hyperdrive – mission successful (minus some casualties, of course)… this scenario is a regular occurrence in Curve Digital’s Space Crew, a sim management space adventure that has you overseeing every aspect of missions, taking you to various reaches of the galaxy. Remember, it’s all fun and games until the communications officer gets hurt.
At first, Space Crew‘s control scheme and general gameplay can take some time to grow accustomed to. The game is set up to be as frantic as you’d expect when supervising a crew on a space mission, so credit where credit is due there. Captain, control the ship; engineer, repair the oxygen valve; gunners, man the turrets; security, restore the shields. It’s all quite hectic and the controls feel more like processes, like a pilot in an airplane preparing for takeoff.
Whilst the gameplay can get a little overwhelming at times, it’s nothing if not satisfying when all of the pieces fall into line. You’ll naturally build up a rhythm if you persevere and you’ll find yourself in the zone more often than not.
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Each crew member can gain levels and earn new skills. If a crew member dies, you can recruit new ones, leaving a bitter sweet feeling when your new crew member does the same job as ol’ Bensley but deep down you know, Bensley is gone. There’s a lot of customisation in Space Crew; you can also upgrade your spacecraft with new armour, weapons, engines and more. Preparation is key to success; well, that and putting out fires on your spacecraft.
You can choose which mission you accept before you set out on it, allowing you to either opt for a low risk mission, go for bigger rewards with a higher risk mission or take on a side quest with a bounty. This adds more variety to the game’s mostly linear approach, which is appreciated after a few hours of playtime.
Most levels play out quite simply, being that you’ll be required to travel somewhere in order to fulfil a request, whether that be to deliver goods or take out a hostile enemy. You’ll find yourself going through the motions a lot, being hyperdrive, take out enemies, lock onto the next location, hyperdrive and repeat.
You can move the crew members around the spacecraft and while each one has a certain job to do, it’s all about trying to make the best decisions with everything happening at once. If you’re someone who has written “thrives well under pressure” on their resume, then Space Crew may be a great opportunity to see if that truly is the case.
Story / Personality
There’s not too much of a plot here, per se. Rather, it’s more about fulfilling missions for the betterment of the human race in the distant future. There are some plot points here and there to get invested in but nothing of substance to highlight. Space Crew has personality, don’t get me wrong, especially with each member’s bobble-sized head, but not one character has a trait or backstory to grasp onto.
Graphics / Art Direction
Each character’s 3D model may appear crudely put together and don’t get me wrong, they are, but it also adds a lot of charm to each one. There’s a surprising amount of 3D depth in Space Crew that I didn’t expect at first but I was certainly pleasantly surprised about. The space motif does get repetitive after a while though; there’s only so much you can do with outer space but the effort is certainly there.
Final Score: 70%
Space Crew may be repetitive and clunky, but it undoubtedly has a delightful charm that cannot be denied. Each action feels like it has a few extra steps than necessary and could’ve felt much more intuitive with touchscreen controls. It’s fun when you get the hang of it, but a lot of people won’t get up to that point.
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