A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander is a downloadable turn-based role-playing game. While players can set their own approach to survival, the game continually gets harder, which could frustrate some players. Combat (both in space and on the ground) is inevitable, but the violence is minimal, with enemies disappearing in explosion-type special effects. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content.
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What's it about?
HALCYON 6: STARBASE COMMANDER is set on the edge of space at a mysterious abandoned base. The Federation, once sent to rebuild the base and discover its secrets, is leaving it behind, but catastrophe strands the player and a small crew in its crumbling walls. The quest is to survive, rebuild the base, defend it, and rediscover the technology left behind by an unknown alien race. There are enemies who are set on taking the base by force, including a consortium of pirates and a race of aliens. As commander of the base, your job is to develop the resources and defend your crew while waiting either for reinforcements or a way home.
Is it any good?
Old-school graphics and elements combine to bring out a strategy game that has potential but isn't innovative. Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander merges features of tactical and strategic turn-based/role-playing games, but it's a simple rehash of titles that have gone before. Visuals aren't very detailed and look somewhat basic, which puts the emphasis on the story and base building, technology research, and turn-based tactical combat elements. These are handled well, but there's a sense that something's missing to tie everything together and create a deeply satisfying game experience. It could well be that nothing here is new and it's all rehashed from other similar titles, but give Halcyon 6 credit for trying to create something deeper with both space- and land-based elements.
On the plus side, Halcyon 6 focuses on the story, and a lot of elements cry for attention. There's building the base, which amounts to selecting a room and choosing what goes there. You'll have to pay attention to the needs of the crew and not only to powering up. With three commanders to initially select from (science, tactical, and engineering), you can set the tone for the focus of your base. Fleets can be created and sent to nearby galaxies to explore and perhaps bring back resources. There's the chance for diplomacy, but it seems that most of the time is spent either in researching and building or fighting. Selecting the right crew to manage areas presents the chances to decrease research and building time. But eventually, what holds this game back is that it had a lot of potential but lacks any innovation.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about setting media-consumption time limits. These games are famous for luring gamers to keep playing for "just one more turn," so how do you strike the balance between time played and time away from your progress?
Talk about strategy in video games. While this one is set in space, can you apply tactics used in this title to real life? Are there some things that simply aren’t possible?
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