Gratuitous Space Battles
GSB - Official abbreviation
The battles are completely in 2D and feature a high amount of units on the screen, as well as the option to move around and zoom in or out as much as needed. Starting with a fixed amount of money, there is a wide selection of ships to choose from, as well as the ability to customize them completely, with attack and defence options, engines and other features. Each unit comes with detailed statistics such as a speed, weight, fuel and crew requirements, hit range and power consumption to plan the strategic order in detail. The enemy fleet can be previewed to see what the opposition is like.
Ships can carry different kind of weapons and these can be fitted by dragging them onto the available spots of the ship layout. It is also possible to design a completely new, modular ship design. Deploying the fleet is done is a similar fashion. The ships are dragged into a certain formation and then player assigns orders to individual captains. They can be given attack priorities or players can assign for ships to work cooperatively, only engage from a certain distance, protect a specific ship or specify Vulture behaviour to focus fire on damaged ships first. During the battles themselves no direct control is exercised, players can simply sit back and watch how the assigned tactics play out. In that way, it is more of a Tower Defense game than an actual real-time strategy game.
The game consists of a singleplayer mode (with battles in different locations featuring specific distortions and anomalies) and an asynchronous multiplayer mode where challenges are uploaded (including orders and custom ship designs) for other players to test their fleet against. Afterwards, scores can be compared online. In the singleplayer mode victories are rewarded with honour points that open up new components. Initially only one race is available, the Federation, but later on three more, each with distinct units, can be unlocked: Rebels, Alliance and Empire. There are also two survival mode maps where the player's fleet is completely outnumbered, but the trick is to use strategic formations and orders to last as long as possible.
Jesse Hopkins' (Composerarts)