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Starpoint Gemini Warlords review

© Iceberg Interactive / Little Green Men Games

Have you ever wanted to take on the role of the Hutt clan from Star Wars? Or thought whilst playing Grand Theft Auto, ‘if only this city wasn’t the limit?’ What about wanting to build an empire in the stars? If you have then Starpoint Gemini Warlords is the game for you.

The premise of the game is somewhere between a civilisation builder, a sandbox title and a flight combat simulator. You begin with a single space ship and are required to complete intergalactic missions and tasks in order to build up your money and influence. As your wealth grows you can upgrade your ship and eventually construct others to join your fleet. As your army grows you can wage war on other factions and begin to wrest control of the galaxy for yourself. More planets means more money which means a larger fleet which can lead to a larger empire if used correctly.

Watch the Starpoint Gemini Warlords launch trailer below:

 

The graphics of the game are excellent, the planets themselves are distinct and the background has immense depth which lends itself to a believable and immersive experience. This combined with the inclusion of a varied musical score which succeeds in adding to but not intruding on the atmosphere only serves to increase the game’s appeal. This graphical depth does have its pitfalls however as it can be immensely difficult to see when enemy ships are either approaching or within firing range. I was caught out several times by this issue and sustained undeserved damage and losses.

Each ship is customisable, as are the abilities of your created character, this means that each game has the potential to be entirely distinct; with each play the game changes and becomes its own distinct adventure. As you progress through the game you earn points which are redeemable in the form of both personal and ship upgrades. This feature is one that I really enjoyed as it enabled me to take the role of a space age Scarface working my way up from nothing to become a real powerhouse in the galactic forum. This RPG styling on Warlords is something that I have not encountered in many other similar games and really does add to its addictive nature, it soon became a case of ‘just one more mission’ and before too long the days had come and gone in the real world.

© Iceberg Interactive / Little Green Men Games

The controls are solid though do take some getting used to. Initially I felt as though when in combat the controls could be more intuitive but once you grasp them they really do work better and further lend themselves to the immersive nature of the game. The combat system as a whole is excellent and allied with the open world nature brings a sense of realism to the frequent space age dogfights. That said there are issues with these moments which are tied to the camera angles on offer. I found that the view did not switch or move in time with the gameplay meaning that often I was firing blindly towards where I hoped the enemy still was.

The closest analogy I can think of is when you experience lagging in online gaming, particularly in fast paced games; no matter what you do or how hard you try to anticipate this, its seemingly random nature makes effective gameplay extremely difficult. It was possible to combat this by remaining stationary and waiting for the enemy to come back into my sights but I felt that this really detracted from my enjoyment; I was playing Warlords to feel like I was involved in something spectacular, not a 3D rehash of Space Invaders. I chose to take the risk and play the game as the developers had envisaged and, though sometimes frustrating, I found it to be far more enjoyable that way. In this regard, it is actually a positive thing that the game does not come with a multiplayer option as this quirk would inevitably lead to irritating hordes of ‘campers’.

View some Starpoint Gemini Warlords screenshots in our gallery:

The general gameplay is thoroughly enjoyable. The open world (or in this case universe) nature of the game means that you are able to do as much or as little as you please. There is a main story arc and there are objectives but within this framework you are free to do and act as you please. Often on the way to one mission I would notice something appear on my map screen and stop to investigate that instead. This is the benefit of the points based system; it is possible to warp yourself from planet to planet in an instant but this ability costs money for each use. This is a very clever tweak by Little Green Men. As much as it is tempting to leap to the next mission, it is more beneficial, not to mention enjoyable, for you to actually drive (?) there. It really does have a cross-genre feel; at once undulating between an RPG, a civilisation builder, a space age shooter and games like Grand Theft Auto and the Driver series.

Overall Starpoint Gemini Warlords is an excellent game which combines so many genres into one seamless whole. I thoroughly enjoyed both the look and feel of the game and have found myself thinking of new ways to play and win even whilst not seated at the computer screen. Though there are faults around camera angles and the initially awkward control system this is a game that I am sure will delight and amuse all players in equal measure. The main issue they will have is seemingly getting people to play the game in spite of its awful cover art!

Starpoint Gemini Warlords was reviewed using a digital code supplied by the publisher.

Publisher: Iceberg Interactive Developer: Little Green Men Games Release Date: May 23, 2017 Reviewed On: PC/Steam

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