SPACECOM – a strategic-to-the-bone, starfleet command game in which deception, smart movement, and choices to battle decide victory or defeat.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (194 reviews) - 72% of the 194 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 17, 2014

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Reviews

“With Spacecom 11bit studios created perfectly working game mechanics which prove that you do not need elaborate animations to produce an immersive effect. I found Spacecom even more exciting and involving than most triple-A games recently. I would highly recommend it to all people who like good games.”
9/10 – IGN Deutschland

“Spacecom is simple, both graphically and mechanically—so simple it could almost be a board game. And yet despite—or rather, because of—this unassuming exterior, there's a lot of depth for you to explore within a limited space. That's the kind of strategy I like! It's like playing an actual game of chess where each piece has a very defined set of rules versus a weird game of pseudo-chess where each pawn functions slightly differently and you won't really understand the point of half of them until you're fifty hours in. We like to say "Graphics don't matter! Graphics don't matter!" Well, here's your proof. Just bring your imagination to the table, and there's a deeply satisfying strategy game waiting for you.”
4/5 – PC World

“Spacecom is exactly what I like. Challenging, smart, addictive, stimulating and yet not overloaded with unnecessary things. Flow Combine & 11 bit studios production represents the real meaning of strategy games and it’s essence. Every single fan of this genre, not only those with space theme, should check Spacecom.”
8,5/10 – http://gry.onet.pl/recenzje/spacecom-recenzja-male-jest-piekne-a-jakie-madre/pw3gd

Game Demo

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About This Game

SPACECOM – a strategic-to-the-bone, starfleet command game in which deception, smart movement, and choices to battle decide victory or defeat.

No coincidence, no luck. Spacecom pushes your ability to strategize with a focus on real-time tactics and planning. Use proven maneuvers learned from military legends or devise your own plans.

Test your wits in single player campaign, go head-to-head with up to 5 opponents in multiplayer or experiment with new strategies in AI skirmish mode. Most of all, you'll need a bright mind, cunning, and sound tactics.

When the war begins, leave the little things behind and dive into austere soundscapes as you immerse yourself in starfleet command. From now on, what matters is your grasp of tactics and strategy, not how fast you can click. Spacecom is about creativity in planning, not complexity of game mechanics.

Key Features


  • Single player campaign that will test your wit in diverse tactical puzzles
  • Tense multiplayer - dominate up to 5 players per map
  • No coincidence, no luck. What matters is good planning and successful execution
  • Sound designed specifically to trigger strategic thinking
  • Minimalistic visual design inspired by military technology
  • Created to exalt smart thinking over fast clicking

Previews


"In a market currently dominated by MOBAs, SPACECOM is set to offer a more nich perspective on strategy. Focused on concise combat roles and managing supply routes, it's all about using limited resources, to outwit your friends." - GameTrailers.com

"What really strikes me is that all of this is presented in an incredibly minimalistic style.(...) There is none of the distraction of flashy visual effects or incredibly renderedenvironments, this is pure strategy.(...) For me, an advocate of game mechanics above all else, this is as close to pure space strategy as I’ve seen and I’m really looking forward to the finished product." - gaminglives.com

"Spacecom is an interesting idea, as a quick-play strategy game. In a genre that tends to frighten off newcomers, Spacecom is poised to be the title that welcomes them in with open arms, avoiding complexity while still offering that classic 4X feeling. " - Criticallysane.com

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows Vista
    • Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo 1.8 Ghz or equivalent
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256MB
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX compatible
    Minimum:
    • OS: OSX 10.6
    • Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo 2.2 Ghz or equivalent
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256MB
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Integrated
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04
    • Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo 1.8 Ghz or equivalent
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256MB
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Integrated
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Mostly Positive (194 reviews)
Recently Posted
Shadowkat72
( 4.7 hrs on record )
Posted: June 27
Think there is a bug in Missions. Got to the Blackgard mission where you are supposed to build Battle Stations and I could not build anything on any system. You would click to build and nothing would happen. Could not build anything including ships.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ownosourus
( 8.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 27
The Real-time-strategy genre in many ways represents one of the far poles of videogames, sitting across from the visceral in-the-moment combat of fighting games. They speak to a different part of the competitive psyche, and stand unparalleled in their capacity to exemplify the sense of utter victory. From the alternate, war-torn histories of Sid Meier’s Civilization franchise, to the immortalized institution of chess, the RTS is our modern avatar into the pressures and considerations that come with the title commander. Flow Combine’s Spacecom is an elegantly simple and intensely engaging addition to this long-standing history.

As far as the “why’s” go, Spacecom is not a game that a person is going to play for the story and it never advertises itself as such. You are a commander for the Sol Dominion, a far future conglomeration of planets, who is thrust into the low-gravity thralls of battle when a suspected terrorist attack ignites the fires of war. As you earn the respect and faith of your leaders through your har- fought victories, you’re placed in charge of larger expanses of territory, ordered to achieve more elusive goals, and forced to push back the enemies who seek to destroy you. Pretty straight forward.

As the game’s first few stages kick the tires of your strategic mind, the first thing most players are going to notice is this game’s bare-bones aesthetic. The flash and spectacle that many modern gamers may have come to expect in an RTS is nowhere to found here. Even the icons that represent your various units are only slightly altered versions of the same pizza-shaped wedges that stand in for your various fleets. This, however, isn’t an early sign of a low-budget experience to come, but rather an indication of a true strategic simulator. Distractions, even that of the slow, hypnotic troll of your icons across the board can quickly mean defeat if they pull your attention away from a colony under siege. The only thrills Spacecom wants you to focus on is that of the shifting tides of battle, and of that there will be plenty.

Whether it’s you versus the AI or other living opponents, all the units that will be available to you will be the same, primarily consisting of three different types of combat fleets. Battle fleets excel at ship-to-ship assault, Invasion fleets are necessary to capture enemy or neutral territories, and Siege fleets can raze defeated planets, making them unusable for anyone (Except for corpses I suppose). While all these units are purpose-built for particular functions, they can engage one another with varying efficiency, depending on the configuration.

While your units will gain a type of experience from surviving multiple battles, making them more hardy and reliable to perform minor military miracles, learning the rock –paper-scissors of what-beats-what is at the heart of Spacecom. While in-game unit creation and deployment is part of the strategy just like any RTS, time is very much a critical factor and rarely on your side. Having to fight off several enemy waves while still waiting for one additional fleet to be produced is a common affliction, and one you will need to learn how work toward your advantage. Sure, maybe your four Siege fleets will peel apart like tissue paper while holding the line against six venerated Invasion groups, but if they can hold out for those few precious minutes while your primary Battle group finishes mopping up a prior engagement and races to their location, you may suddenly and violently claim a surprise victory.

The options don’t begin and end with fleet deployments, however. Different star system offer different benefits or limitations, varying how much (and more importantly, how quickly) they can be fortified, their wealth of required resources, and whether they’re a vital locale that must held at all costs or just a navigational junction for doing battle. All the systems in the game are linked via “lanes” which are essential for directing your fleets throughout the cosmos and ferrying supplies. Capturing, obstructing, or even pirating these trans-galactic freeways is as much a part of being victorious as having the dominant fleet in the area.

Fleets on the move must pass through systems in order reach their destination, and even if there is only one enemy vessel between them and that location, they must stop and engage. This makes attrition a very real and functional strategy in the game, so much so that ships that are even just orbiting enemy control planets take regular “attrition” damage until they either conquer the world, depart, or are destroyed. I know I lost many a fleet when after I took down an enemy battle group in a foreign system, I shifted my attention away to another engagement, only to look back and see my once victorious units vaporized.

But, even if it was only a passing thought, do not mistake simple for easy. If you’re slow to pick up even the early lessons the game is willing to share with you, just the tutorial sections of this game will quickly flatten you or shame you with a frustrated “click” of the surrender option. This game’s beauty is found in its minutia, and the flexibility a clever mind can carve out of its few rules. No two battles will ever go the same, and thinking ahead as far as possible is the only thing that will weed the weak from the strong. Sacrificing a planet to choke enemy supply lines, baiting your enemy with well-timed feints or changes to your fleet’s course, or even the classic massive attack with dozens of units is all possible here if you are willing and able to learn Spacecom’s finer points.

Spacecom is a super-fun strategy game, and a truly unpretentious take on the RTS genre. The minimalist approach, patient and finely honed execution, and truly limitless amount of replay value that combination offers is something rarely seen in an era so overwrought with style-over-substance entertainment. This game is a must-buy for any RTS gamer, and a definite recommendation to anyone who enjoys real strategic competition.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
BladeofSharpness
( 1.0 hrs on record )
Posted: May 7
Decent game with sleek interface, but will only keep you busy for a few hours.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Himalayas
( 2.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 5
Is this game worth $9.99?

No

Is it worth $0.37 in a bundle?

Absolutely!


Great game for those who like minimalist games as well as simple strategy games. Has the depth of a flash game however it has a great deal more polish like a proper steam indie release.

I've enjoyed it and the multiplayer is fun with friends - an easy lan game when the crowd isn't picky.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Bigkemosabi
( 2.7 hrs on record )
Posted: April 12
This game is fun. I really hate that it doesn't have the scene that it needs. Telling my friends to try it out and hopefully they tell their friends....Think that's how it works. haha. Great concept guys. If there was a F*&k yes button on the "Do you recommend this game?" I'd be mashin on it guys.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sage
( 0.3 hrs on record )
Posted: April 8
No savegame feature?
Helpful? Yes No Funny
[GALT] Envoy
( 1.1 hrs on record )
Posted: March 13
Watch the excellent trailer to this game on steam... they make this game sound amazing.

So I bought a 4-pack, well done marketing team,

BUT now:
imagine those triangles and lines and circles over and over and over again,
and you'll quickly realize that this games depth of strategy is near_nill
rather it is a clickfest, and the way you get better is by clicking at the right time
over and over and over again

When I played this game I felt like everything I was doing had no point, no reward, and no skill involved in it
The "story" is laughable, and I cant continue remembering anymore about the gameplay or it'll give me a seizure.

Honestly a waste of time and money

(you get 1 point for: cool trailer to the game, and 1 point for: making/selling the game on steam. THAT'S IT).
vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

ENVOY RATED: 2/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
FUXOFT
( 6.1 hrs on record )
Posted: February 27
This game is very reminiscent of something I wanted to create myself. :) The game is almost abstract, the UI is simplicity itself and only the eerie soundtrack reminds you that those few pixels and lines represent epic space fleets and millions of dead people. Although the rules are really simple, the strategic possibilities are enormous. Few UI quirks but nothing serious.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
SilverWingedSeraph
( 6.9 hrs on record )
Posted: February 8
TL;DR: Not flashy, not tactical; pure and unadulterated grand strategy with a beautiful atmosphere and deep, satisfying mechanics. Easily worth twice the price.

This game is everything I've wanted in space grand strategy since I played Empire at War at age 10. The atmosphere, conveyed by the cleverly-animated background, the consistent and beautiful UI style, and the brilliant but subtle music, is reminiscent of DEFCON: Everybody Dies. While the game might appear simplistic and shallow on the surface, the variety and quality of the maps and a well-thought-out, perfectly balanced array of game mechanics makes it infinitely re-playable, especially with friends.

A must for: anyone who wanted to be Ender, who likes DEF CON, or who thinks that the Galactic Map was the best part of Star Wars: Empire at War. This game is effectively the same as playing SWEaW in Galactic Map and always using autoresolve (but, of course, much better balanced for that purpose).

Avoid it if: you preferred Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to Supreme Commander in 2007, or if what you most appreciate most in Total War games is watching the little men fight.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
189 of 217 people (87%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
4.6 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: September 18, 2014
On the outside: Appears to have huge potential for stripping strategy combat down to its core.

On the inside: Build more fighters faster, win the game. It doesn't matter what defenses you've built, how your economy is better set up, etc. If you have fewer fighters, you will lose. The "combat" system/simulator does not evenly distribute damage or focus in any way. It's completely random and can result in fights of 15v15 with one side taking no casualties, just minor damage spread across the board, while the opposing side is completely wiped.

I don't recommend. Combat has been stripped down too far resulting in a loss of player control over their own ships and a ridiculous imbalance in even close fights.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
91 of 106 people (86%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
6.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 3, 2014
WARNING: No saving mid-mission.

For some this won't be much of an issue. To others, like me, who cannot commit to long sessions this essentially renders the game unplayable unless you stick to the smallest of maps. As far as I'm concerned, then, the game is fundamentally broken. The developers were very dismissive when I contacted them about it, so I'll return the favour and not bother to write anything else about the game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
74 of 92 people (80%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 20, 2014
This at it's core is a straight forward graph analysis strategy game. It's simple to a fault after about an hour of play. The gameplay provides a series of graph maps that have three variables of defenses to overcome, the player has 5 options to construct fighting more the time than the actual difficulty, but often time for the objectives.
The main issue I have with the game is that the construction done by the AI is constrained by different rules than the player; to put it flatly it cheats. The AI seemingly constructs ships out of bases at intervals rather than based upon the rules that the player must follow to construct ships, yielding an artificial difficulty that is thinly veiled once one starts pursuing other solutions of the objective maps.
While the mechanics of the game are solid for a game of it's genre, it's very flat in comparison to it's peers and feels more like a stripped down board game for the computer.
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52 of 62 people (84%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 29, 2014
TL;DR below.

SPACECOM is a simple game of empire management and combat. In terms of graphics, it features a nice, simplified and sleek aesthetic and it looks pretty great visually.

The game itself centers around (in my opinion) the following concepts:
  • Planetary defense: resources travel by the straight lines seen on the map. Only some planets generate resources, some planets can repair units and some planets can build them. To build units or planet upgrades, the resources must actually travel to that location. Your units can choose to fly by enemy planets, rushing by to hit targets not adjecent to your planets, but a DOT (damage over time) is applied to units in enemy territory, making this a risky (but sometimes necessary) strategy.
  • Ship-management: choose what ships to build - attempt to counter your opponent's composition. Mostly this consists of making sure that your opponent's fighters are not engaged with your non-fighter units. Also: units rank up and attack faster if ranked up.
  • Unit-harassment. For instance: right before a blitz against a planet, send a single fighter to where your opponent is holding the majority of his or her forces. This will delay that fleet significantly since that fleet must first destroy the attacking ship, wait for the combat timer to end and then move to the attacked planet. Another example would be harassing an enemy point by constantly contesting it with a single unit to prevent resource-flow through that point.

In my opinion, this is on the surface an okay concept - it pushes the players to be aware of the battlefield and thinking quickly since there is no way to pause.
However, the following issues are prevalent:
  • Inaccuracy in and partial lack of travel timers. When an enemy fleet is moving towards one of your planets, a timer is displayed showing how long it will take for that fleet to reach said destination. There are two issues with this: the travel timer is given for the entire route, not the next destation, making it in many cases useless. You are not given a preview travel timer when trying to figure out if you can reach one of the intermediate planets by the time the enemy fleet passes it. Which sort of brings me to the next point:
  • When does a fleet actually pass an intermediate planet? The fleet-icon can be literally next to the planet itself and it will be counted as "no longer on that planet" - simply because the next travel has started. Meaning that the timing-window here is really really small. It seems that the fleet is only on intermediate planets for a single simulation-step.
  • Fighter superiority. The entire game basically ends up being a race for the numerical superiority in terms of fighters while holding enough ships to be able to do ground invasions against critical planets holding the key resources. This means that there are two basic early-game build-orders: either go fighter-heavy, deny your opponent the right to expand or try to create a balanced force of fighters and ships used to capture planets.
  • No global build-queue. This is just a huge pain. If you decide to build two things at the same time, it feels really random in what order the build-tasks will receive resources. Optimally, you queue in such a way that you have always-rising resource-bars on all tasks - starving and overfeeding none of them. This is a micro-heavy and quite boring task, however: achieving this is hard - if not impossible and should've been done by the game itself.
  • Combat randomization. I think this might be the biggest problem. There is no strategy in combat - only random. 1v1 between units with the same rank always ends the same: mutual destruction, however, the moment there are two units involved, everything might flip rapidly in someone's favour. Instead of focus-firing on the first unit in the enemy fleet or letting the player set an overall tactic, all fire is random. This means that in a 2v2 between equal units, you can have situation where one side is always focus-firing, taking out the enemies in exactly 5 shots per ship (in the case of fighters) while perhaps not even sustaining casualties because the enemies incidentally spread the fire.
  • Rigged campaign. AI does not need resources to produce ships. This means that it isn't possible to deny resources or apply certain concepts while playing the campaign.
  • AI doing senseless things that incidentally may bring up the difficulty curve. The campaign AI loves to send a single ship which is used to capture planets against 3 of your fighters. At other times, it manages to perfectly coordinate a joint strike from multiple directions against a single target - completely murdering your units there.
  • Not possible to auto-siege or auto-invade. You don't want to have your units floating around enemy planets or even neutral ones. It delays your strategy, it makes your units take damage (if around enemy planets) and it is a boring chore to constantly check if your invasion forces are doing their job. An option to auto-invade the destination planet should be added.
  • Lack of at-a-glance information: you can't see how combat is going unless you click on the system where the combat is happening. You can see what kind of ships there are on a given system, but not the amount of said ships nor their total health.
  • Lack of a minimap.

TL;DR begins here:
While the concepts included in this game are in general not a bad idea, parts of the execution of said ideas has suffered. Most notably certain visual apects (unit-positions), resource-management and combat randomization. Overall, this gives the game a very shallow feel and it often feels that in some battles.. the RNG just said "NO".

To the developer:
Test out combat tactics and consider making health something which is always continuous and make damage distribute evenly.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
34 of 41 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
8.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 24, 2015
SPACECOM is a space strategy game with a simple to understand, yet entertaining gameplay.
If this review is too long for you, I suggest you to only read the first paragraph about the game's content and the final verdict at the end.

What is happening in the game:
There are multiple planets in the galaxy. You have a different task to complete in each mission, but mostly, you have to beat the enemy or capture the planets. Although the game is very simple to understand, you will spend quite some time thinking and planning the strategy to beat the mission.

Pros:
  • The Concept and Its Execution | You there are 3 different types of spaceships and each one serves its purpose. Those ships can be directed to a planet to conquer, attack or defend. It's a concept seen in quite a few games, but this one just feels one level higher with the ships that even have ranks and health!
  • Game's Graphics | This game looks 2D on the screenshots, but it's actually more than that. I'm not sure whether this is just a really well-made illusion or the real deal, but when you move you camera around the galaxy, they look like you're slightly rotating a sphere with planets on it. Otherwise, the universe in the background looks the way it should and the overall visuals are kind of peaceful and pleasant to look at (which is important, as you may spend a long time playing just a single multiplayer match).
  • Gameplay Hours Quantity | There are 13 missions in the game, which might not seem a lot, but you should know that you will fail some of them a considerable amount of times. Also, each one of them has optional objectives, which is many extra hours for completionists. There is also Multiplayer mode and Skrimish mode, which is basically a giant map with many enemies to beat. Pretty cool and even more time-consuming!
  • The Soundtrack | The soundtrack consists of subtle songs, perfectly fitting the gameplay and the space environment. As it should be, it's a soundtrack that doesn't bore you after a long game, even though you heard a lot of it.
  • Simplicity | I have to confess that I'm not the best player when it comes to playing or, rather, understanding this type of games. But, undoubtedly, this game is simple for players to understand, which is great in my opinion. I got used to the controls pretty quick and started solving puzzles in no time.
  • Pricing | This game costs 9€ and, in my opinion, it is indeed worth it. The price used to be higher, but the developer lowered it after a number of suggestions from the community, which was a very good move.
  • OS and Steam Support | You can enjoy this game from Windows, Linux and MacOS along with the Steam Achievements, Cloud, Leaderboards and Trading Cards!

Cons:
  • No Save Function | I am really bothered by the lack of the saving/loading function. As I mentioned a couple of times above, matches or puzzles can take a long time and it would be cool to be able to save the game.
  • Online Leaderboards | It's cool that this feature is included, but everybody on the Leaderboards is labeled as [Unknown], which makes this function pretty much useless.
  • Duration and Speed of the Game | Building ships, attacking and other actions take ages. Although you have the ability to speed up time, it's still kind of slow. It's not a big problem, except if you're short on time and you want to do a quick game or a mission.

The final verdict:
This game is good-looking and it's concept is executed as it should be, so I think this game certainly deserves my recommendation. For its low price and long included game time, it's a pretty good deal. I enjoyed playing it mostly because of its simple yet exciting gameplay.

Greetings,
BirdCute

Note that my copy of this game was obtained for free for reviewing purposes. However, this did not affect the quality and objectivity of this review.

---
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30 of 38 people (79%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
7.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 24, 2015
Ai is pathetacally weak. No save/load functionallity. Don't buy.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
61 of 92 people (66%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.6 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: October 30, 2014
You know what, the game wasn't bad, I even considered buying it. But after the rude and offensive treatment we got as beta testers. I will never buy anything from this develpment studio. No matter how good it may be.
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23 of 30 people (77%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 5, 2014
TL;DR - good for a few hours, lacks the replay value that good strategy games should have.

Starts well as a really simple strategy game but quickly deteriorates into near-impossible missions that can only be completed if you divine the rules that they don't tell you. As if that wasn't enough, the same rules aren't applied consistently in later missions - it's a completely different game each time.

Add to that the fact that the AI plays by different rules to the player - if there are no shipyards or ships in an area then a player cannot summon more ships fom nowhere, but your opponent can. This really detracts from any strategies you might try to use and turns it into a simple resource management game. A really simple one - practically speaking, your only resource is time.

The thing I love about strategy games is that it's all down to the player and you can learn to do it better. This game deprives you of that fundamental feature.
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16 of 18 people (89%) found this review helpful
Recommended
8.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 27
The Real-time-strategy genre in many ways represents one of the far poles of videogames, sitting across from the visceral in-the-moment combat of fighting games. They speak to a different part of the competitive psyche, and stand unparalleled in their capacity to exemplify the sense of utter victory. From the alternate, war-torn histories of Sid Meier’s Civilization franchise, to the immortalized institution of chess, the RTS is our modern avatar into the pressures and considerations that come with the title commander. Flow Combine’s Spacecom is an elegantly simple and intensely engaging addition to this long-standing history.

As far as the “why’s” go, Spacecom is not a game that a person is going to play for the story and it never advertises itself as such. You are a commander for the Sol Dominion, a far future conglomeration of planets, who is thrust into the low-gravity thralls of battle when a suspected terrorist attack ignites the fires of war. As you earn the respect and faith of your leaders through your har- fought victories, you’re placed in charge of larger expanses of territory, ordered to achieve more elusive goals, and forced to push back the enemies who seek to destroy you. Pretty straight forward.

As the game’s first few stages kick the tires of your strategic mind, the first thing most players are going to notice is this game’s bare-bones aesthetic. The flash and spectacle that many modern gamers may have come to expect in an RTS is nowhere to found here. Even the icons that represent your various units are only slightly altered versions of the same pizza-shaped wedges that stand in for your various fleets. This, however, isn’t an early sign of a low-budget experience to come, but rather an indication of a true strategic simulator. Distractions, even that of the slow, hypnotic troll of your icons across the board can quickly mean defeat if they pull your attention away from a colony under siege. The only thrills Spacecom wants you to focus on is that of the shifting tides of battle, and of that there will be plenty.

Whether it’s you versus the AI or other living opponents, all the units that will be available to you will be the same, primarily consisting of three different types of combat fleets. Battle fleets excel at ship-to-ship assault, Invasion fleets are necessary to capture enemy or neutral territories, and Siege fleets can raze defeated planets, making them unusable for anyone (Except for corpses I suppose). While all these units are purpose-built for particular functions, they can engage one another with varying efficiency, depending on the configuration.

While your units will gain a type of experience from surviving multiple battles, making them more hardy and reliable to perform minor military miracles, learning the rock –paper-scissors of what-beats-what is at the heart of Spacecom. While in-game unit creation and deployment is part of the strategy just like any RTS, time is very much a critical factor and rarely on your side. Having to fight off several enemy waves while still waiting for one additional fleet to be produced is a common affliction, and one you will need to learn how work toward your advantage. Sure, maybe your four Siege fleets will peel apart like tissue paper while holding the line against six venerated Invasion groups, but if they can hold out for those few precious minutes while your primary Battle group finishes mopping up a prior engagement and races to their location, you may suddenly and violently claim a surprise victory.

The options don’t begin and end with fleet deployments, however. Different star system offer different benefits or limitations, varying how much (and more importantly, how quickly) they can be fortified, their wealth of required resources, and whether they’re a vital locale that must held at all costs or just a navigational junction for doing battle. All the systems in the game are linked via “lanes” which are essential for directing your fleets throughout the cosmos and ferrying supplies. Capturing, obstructing, or even pirating these trans-galactic freeways is as much a part of being victorious as having the dominant fleet in the area.

Fleets on the move must pass through systems in order reach their destination, and even if there is only one enemy vessel between them and that location, they must stop and engage. This makes attrition a very real and functional strategy in the game, so much so that ships that are even just orbiting enemy control planets take regular “attrition” damage until they either conquer the world, depart, or are destroyed. I know I lost many a fleet when after I took down an enemy battle group in a foreign system, I shifted my attention away to another engagement, only to look back and see my once victorious units vaporized.

But, even if it was only a passing thought, do not mistake simple for easy. If you’re slow to pick up even the early lessons the game is willing to share with you, just the tutorial sections of this game will quickly flatten you or shame you with a frustrated “click” of the surrender option. This game’s beauty is found in its minutia, and the flexibility a clever mind can carve out of its few rules. No two battles will ever go the same, and thinking ahead as far as possible is the only thing that will weed the weak from the strong. Sacrificing a planet to choke enemy supply lines, baiting your enemy with well-timed feints or changes to your fleet’s course, or even the classic massive attack with dozens of units is all possible here if you are willing and able to learn Spacecom’s finer points.

Spacecom is a super-fun strategy game, and a truly unpretentious take on the RTS genre. The minimalist approach, patient and finely honed execution, and truly limitless amount of replay value that combination offers is something rarely seen in an era so overwrought with style-over-substance entertainment. This game is a must-buy for any RTS gamer, and a definite recommendation to anyone who enjoys real strategic competition.
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15 of 17 people (88%) found this review helpful
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Not Recommended
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 13, 2015
While the premise and concept of the game both were big selling points for this game, I cannot recommend it.

Beginning Issues:

1. Nobody Plays Multiplayer - While there is a structure for having MP games, there is no one to play with online. The most people I have seen online at one time were three, including myself.

2. AI Games are just bad - There is really no other way to say this, but in the two hours that I have played this game, it has only been against AI. These games typically amount to me pushing forward and finding the "battle-line" and then holding that until I can make enough units to move forward. Now one might think that to be the appropriate way to wage war in this setting, but the games eventually become a grind of fighting off waves of enemies that are too small to do any serious damage to your fleet and that just hurl themselves at you using no particular strategy. This is further more exasperated by the fact that the MP community is dead.

More Serious Issues:

1. AI - FIX IT

2. Concept - While the concept is what drew me in at first, it soon became clear that it was a lot harder to execute than planned. In game, there are only 3 types of ships, Invading ships (for taking over planets), frigates (for fighting other starships), and the destroyers (they just destroy planets so enemies cannot use resouces). While only having three types of ships may fit the "simplistic" theme of the game, it is almost too simplistic, making the game boring because of the lack of variety.

Summation:
Overall, I really wanted to like this game. I really thought that the concept was interesting and different, and at first glance, the developers have done a good job with the base game. But when looking at the greater picture, the boring mechanics, the grindy gameplay, the $hit AI, and the Empty MP, I simply can't recommend this.
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