Space Crew, the latest from developer Runner Duck and Curve Digital, is a roguelike spaceship management/simulator that puts you in charge of your very own space ship. It’s the follow up to their previous title, the much loved Bomber Crew. I missed that one, but if Space Crew is any indication, I may have to go back and check it out.
Don’t let the cartoony look of this one fool you. Much like Bomber Crew, Space Crew is a challenging aircraft simulator that expects a lot out of you, the player. You are in charge of everything in real-time. And let me tell you, when you are trying to pilot a ship, repair a shield regenerator, and target enemy spacecraft, all while trying to exterminate any little green creatures that have the audacity to board your ship in midflight, the tensions run high.
Early on, the sheer amount of tasks that you’ll need to navigate is overwhelming. I prefer to game on a console, but I can imagine using a mouse to quickly select the desired crew member and navigate through their extensive list of tasks would have significantly decreased the learning curve.
However, no matter what system you play the game on, the quicker you are able to process information, the better off you’ll be. If you’re like me and suffer from paralysis by analysis, it’ll take you a bit longer at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. In fact, once I got the knack for the controls and a good understanding of what each member of the team can do, I became addicted to leveling up my little crew and my ship.
But don’t get too attached to your crewmembers, especially at first. I don’t know if you know this, but flying through space is mad dangerous. The galaxy truly is dark and full of terrors. Plus one bad decision is all it takes for you to be flying back to base a soul or two short. That is if you make it back at all. But like any good roguelike, you can simply recruit a few good try-hards back at base and you’ll be right as rain. They’ll lose a few levels of experience, but that’s the price of doing business as a member of the United Defense Force.
As a member of said United Defense force, you’ll set off on a campaign across the galaxy to defend earth from the mysterious alien threat known as the Phasmids. Early on, the missions are fairly straight forward, like clearing the area of Phasmid forces or rescuing astronomers from research bases. For newcomers to the series, even these “easy” missions will prove difficult until you get a handle on the controls and the nuance of the game. Eventually, you’ll be escorting transports, recovering communication probes, and many more missions that may or may not remind you of an episode of Star Trek or the Expanse.
My favorite part of the game is the addictive nature of the ship and crew upgrades that you can purchase at the end of each successful mission. Although it does totally suck when you see the lifeless corpse of your engineer floating off into space with that new repair tool you just bought for him because somehow that engine repair job you sent him on went sideways. Another highlight for me was upgrading and personalizing my ship, the Pure Jez. The Pure Jez may not be the prettiest spaceship in the land, but it’s also not very fast. But it is mine, and I finally have those laser rifles and fire extinguishers positioned just where I want them. You know a game has its hooks into you when the end of every mission leaves you wanting to play just one more because you absolutely have to have that new rear shield upgrade.
It’s not all smooth sailing, however. Some of the missions do feel repetitive, as does some of the gameplay. Constantly dipping back into the targeting mode multiple times just to land and finish a mission became a little tedious. And fumbling with controls while trying to remember which member of your crew runs the scanner is frustrating. Especially when it takes you so long that you get attacked by yet another handful of those pesky Phasmids. Those few nitpicks notwithstanding, Space Crew is an addictive management sim that is well worth asking price.
Space Crew PS4 Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8/10
The team behind the acclaimed Bomber Crew series has taken the airplane management/simulator genre to new heights. Commanding your very own Space Crew is an exciting but hectic experience that becomes downright addictive if you love upgrades and customization. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, so it isn’t going to convert nonbelievers, but for fans of strategy and management games, Space Crew is a successful mission.
- The cartoon-like graphics and impressive soundtrack make if fun to look at and experience
- The gameplay loop of difficult mission followed by much-needed upgrades kept me playing – even when it got frustratingly difficult
- Some missions become repetitive
- The real-time hectic gameplay even made this console gamer long for keyboard and mouse
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Slim.