There are not many games out there right now that would make me want to write a review about them… because there is one constant problem with games ever since first Voodoo card came out. Graphics, effects, graphics, effects etc. etc. There are just few games that concentrated on the gameplay itself.

So here I am, writing this review, few days after been playing one game non-stop, and that game is “Gratuitous Space Battles“.

Space & battles! Woohooo, thats got to be something fun, killing alien scum in your ship, or is it an grand space RTS? What is it?

Yes, it is fun… Yes, you kill alien scum… but it does not belong in any known category of games. How can I say that you ask? Someone invented something new? I don`t know if this is the first game of its kind, but it is the first one I have ever seen.

OK, you are boring… what is it? Well… take a look at this video taken from the game… it may tell you a lot… and nothing 😉

Nice looking graphics, cool effects, smooth running… and no, thats not because I have triliom GHz CPU and Geforce 109880, it`s `cause the engine is really simple, but does its job perfectly… a good use of nice textures, bunch of particle effects and a nice background, and there you have it, all that one starfighter could wish for!

But here is the really cute part about this in game video.. I haven`t done anything except moving the camera with my cursor 🙂
Yes, I did not control any of those ships! Non, nada, zero! They were fighting automaticaly, all by themselves!

“OK, this game sucks big time”  – the words that are in your head probably, but… stay with me just a bit more, and you`ll find out where does the beauty of this game really is.

All of the fighting that you saw was a result of the playing that you have done before the battle even begun! This is not a RTS, it`s… BPS – Building and Planning Strategy.

In normal RTS games you have units, you build and then fight… but in Gratuitous Space Battles it is a bit different.
First you are presented with the battlefield and your opponents:

As you can see from the screen, your opponents units are already deployed, and now it is your turn to create your armada and deploy it on to the battlefield, and this is where all the magic happens.

Result of the whole fight that you saw at the beginning was a result of creation and deployment of your fleet on the battlefield, and options are almost unlimited, and so are the strategies.

To build your fleet, you have to go to ship designer, where you will spend most of your time.

Here you can select a type of ship that you want to build: fighter, frigate or cruiser, and then equip them with all that you need, or at least, think that you need for your battle.

Every ship has two kinds of mounting points, the ones for weapons, a the ones for all other systems, like engines, power generators etc.
The goal is to construct a ship that best suits the given scenario and enemy fleet of course. You will find yourself changing your designs many times, after you get defeated or simply were not satisfied with the result of the battle and you think you can do it better.
Its best to save all those designs under names that show their purpose, like “Cruiser Heavy Plasma” or “Frigate Fighter Hunter”, so you can easily use them afterwards without having to look at all the details of each ship to see if it will fit your needs.

After you have completed your ships, it`s time to place them on the battlefield. It is a simple drag&drop procedure, but you have to know that you are always limited with number of pilots and credits, so think wisely when placing all those ships onto the battlefield.

Did I mention credits? Yes, yes, every single ship costs certain amount of credits, and so do all of the little systems and weapons you placed on them… so you have to watch for that to!

To make things more interesting, once your ships are on the battlefield, you can issue them orders which they will follow during the battle. You can set the priority of engaging certain type of enemy ships, maximum range of engagement, you can make them work as a team, to protect each other etc., but you`ll see it for your self, because you simply have to play this game 🙂

When all is done: ships are constructed, fleet is arranged on the battlefield, orders are given, it is time to FIGHT! With a press of a button named, what a coincidence, fight, the battle begins, and you can sit and watch your armada kicks your enemies behind… our see your ships doing everything to amuse the enemy… with huge explosions, screams and so on:)

To conclude, every strategy lover has to try this game, and it can run on almost any regular PC, without the need for some high end GPU or CPU. As a matter of fact, I`m playing it on GeForce 8500GT with all the details in 1680×1050 resolution… enough said 😉

Enjoy this nice “little” game (no, it does not come on 4 DVDs, it will take only around 70 Mb of your precious hard drive) and share the enjoyment of killing everybody else in space with your friends 🙂

If you want to see more about the game or buy it, visit Positech web site, where you can also download a demo of this awesome game

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