Andrew Newton shares his first impressions of Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander…
Massive Damage’ new spacefaring title, Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander is out now on STEAM after having had a very successful kickstarter campaign and a trouble free development period. I’ve been looking forward to this games release date for a while now and having played this game I can happily say that it doesn’t disappoint.
Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander has a storyline seen in many sci-fi films and TV series with humanity driven to the brink of extinction by an unknown alien race but that isn’t a bad thing. Alongside the alien invasion are side storylines involving other alien races and pirates and relatively short but enjoyable nonetheless.
It’s essential to enlist officers to form your space fleet and fortunately choosing your team has been made easy, choose your officers from either the science, engineering or tactical facilities. Each choice will give different abilities and skills and will behave differently in combat. As you progress through the story you can slowly increase the amount of officers you have at your command.
Massive Damage has managed to squeeze a lot into Halcyon 6, resource management, RPG elements, space combat, landing crew combat and they have paid a lot of detail to all the game mechanics involved and even better have succeeded. Combat relies on strategy and a rather unique vulnerability system that allows you to weaken an enemy and exploit that weakness, this applies to both space and land combat.
Halcyon 6 is the name of the space station you are on and has been derelict for millenia, it is your job to rebuild it section by section but first you need to clear out any hostile creatures through exploration which can take several days and that’s even before you start building a diothrium reactor. This leads to a conflict of time as to clear a section you must use an officer and obviously while your officer is clearing a section they can’t be travelling in the fleet.
The tech tree screen provides enough detail to allow you to quickly identify whether a technology has been researched or not but does look rather cluttered and can sometimes be difficult to identify which advancements come from which science.
There is also the opportunity for exploration although it isn’t a huge opportunity and very often you will probably avoid this to conserve fuel for more important journeys as their isn’t an abundance of fuel, especially to start with. In my opinion, this shortage of resources to start is perhaps the only weakness with regards to resources.
Halcyon 6 uses pixel art style visuals similar to FTL and although this style isn’t for everyone it is exceptionally well done and Massive Damage have used this style to great effect in giving each race a different look and style of ship. There is no repetitious use of the same ships for the different species and the same goes for the aliens themselves with each having their own unique icon on the combat screen.
Unlike some other pixel art style games, Massive Damage have made great efforts to ensure that their backgrounds are varied and more impressively animated. An animated background makes a huge difference to the game and its great just to take a moment out from combat as you watch a huge asteroid pass by in the background.
One thing I love about Halcyon 6 is the amount of effort placed into the sound effects and music, ships and weapons make their own little noises depending on the type of weapon firing and I absolutely love the little explosion sounds. The music matches the game perfectly and provides something to listen to while waiting for an event to occur whilst at the same time not being a distraction whilst playing the game.
Massive Damage have done an amazing job on Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander, the visuals, sound, music and gameplay has been a game made by real commitment and dedication. I’d recommend you visit Steam and give this gem of a game a try.
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