Ancient Space

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
Ancient Space Game Poster Image
Micromanaging galactic sim adds frustration, loses tactics.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

No inherent positive message. But players can build their fleets, plot their strategies, and find the path of least resistance rather than blowing everything up.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You're the general who must expand civilization, primarily through conquest, but you also build, bolster defenses, and gather raw materials to perform the operations that sustain your empire's growth. Commendations for jobs well done, but they're not the focus. 

Ease of Play

Intuitive to anyone who's played a similar space or civilization RTS, especially with point-and-click mechanics. UI is relatively easy to navigate, the tutorial does a nice job setting up core mechanics, and the foundation is familiar. But it forces players to control almost everything during battles. The minutiae can be frustrating; you can pick and choose where to attack, but sooner or later it all seems to devolve into one huge battle.

Violence

Ships explode frequently, and a voice-over tells you which ships have been defeated, but it doesn't get personal or show humans being killed.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ancient Space is a downloadable real-time story-driven space-based strategy game with no multiplayer elements. Players are in charge of their fleets (captains are seen through pop-up portraits); consequently, there's a fair amount of micromanagement of resources and ships, which might be frustrating to younger players. The tutorial does a decent job of setting up the action, but players younger than 12 might struggle with the combat. Ships explode during combat, but no humans are shown dying. The game has ties to social media sites, so players could potentially expose personal information.

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What's it about?

ANCIENT SPACE is a story-driven, real-time strategy single-player 4X game. This means that during the game you'll be tasked with "eXploring" territory, "eXpanding" your empire, "eXploiting" resources, and "eXterminating" opponents. Players take control of a fleet and enter a previously undiscovered area of space known as the "Black Zone." Unfortunately, it's inhabited, and the ruling race isn't happy about your incursion. This means embarking on a lot of real-time space battles as you try to save the fleet. Players will select up to three officers to help command the fleet; each has special abilities that could prove valuable in battle.

Is it any good?

Ancient Space claims to embrace the grand traditions of the real-time strategy genre, but it was never a tradition to mire players down in battles that go on and on, forcing them to micromanage. Your tactics and strategy will fly out the window as frustration mounts over prolonged combat scenarios. In fact, the game could be much deeper in its empire scope, combat strategy, and (lack of) multiplayer mode.

But Ancient Space isn't all negative. Its visuals are captivating, especially for a space-strategy game. Its storytelling is very good, and as you proceed from one battle to another, you really get drawn into the struggle for your empire's survival. The control scheme is familiar enough for space conquest and 4X fans to dive in and play. Unfortunately, though, although Ancient Space takes players deep to the outer edges of space, it doesn't go far enough. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the tactics in Ancient Space. We tend to think of strategy as the purview of military commanders, but all of us strategize every day. What sorts of strategies do you use on a day-to-day basis?

  • Talk about Internet safety and using social media responsibly. How easy is it to expose personal information over social media? Can you do it unwittingly?

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