Starscape

aka: Kosmicheskaya Odisseya
Moby ID: 9249

Description official description

A space research station (The Aegis) tests a new drive system: 'the dimension drive'. Something goes wrong, and the Aegis is warped into the 'grid dimension', where an evil race of beings wipes out most of the crew. You take the role of the last fighter pilot defending the Aegis.

Starscape is a top-down 2D shooter. Whilst defending the Aegis from attack, you have to mine asteroids and collect resources from them. These resources can be used to research and build new technology. The Aegis can also be called to your position, and upgraded with laser turrets. When you have mined all the resources in a node (a game level several screens wide and high) you can dock with the Aegis and warp to another node. You must also continually search for survivors (that can be put to use researching equipment), and information that might help you escape from the grid dimension. There are 5 zones in the game each containing on average 25 nodes. Each zone also has a unique boss that must be defeated to unlock the next zone, and new enemy craft.

Spellings

  • Космическая одиссея - Russian spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (Windows version)

11 People

Code
Art
Music
Web Technology
  • Yanster
Lead Tester
  • Elevown
Testers
  • James
  • Chris
  • Holly
  • Andy
  • Simon

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 88% (based on 7 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 16 ratings with 2 reviews)

Quick arcade action - fun for the whole neurotic family...

The Good
Starscape is, in essence, an updated version of Swarm: you control a space vessel in top-down 2D space, and basically perform the same mission - blow up enemies, collect resources, fight the occasional boss. Starscape adds a bit of interest to the mix with micromanagement: you have to allocate your resources (three types of collectible minerals, plus crew allotment) to researching new technologies (via a very simple, linear research tree), building spacecraft and modules for them, and repairing your mothership and vessels.

Starscape aims to bring to the table a somewhat elaborate storyline, which is a nice touch but has its drawbacks (see the negative section); essentially you are a crew member of the Aegis, the first mothership (more like a portable space station) to feature a new kind of dimensional drive. During the first experimental interdimensional leap, the experiment is thwarted by an alien race called the Arachnids, and the Aegis gets stuck on a bizarre dimensional phenomenon called the Grid - a network of interconnected dimensional nodes, where space and resources are finite. While exploring the Grid looking for lost crew members, you (as seemingly the sole surviving fighter pilot on the Aegis) must collect resources to repair your ship and build better equipment, fight off the Arachnid drone vessels, seek aid from the Arachnid sister-race Xenarchs and, finally, wrest parts of the Dimensional Drive that were stolen by the Arachnids.

Starscape's most obvious feature is beautifully rendered graphics - ship models, asteroids, nebulae, weapons and special effects. 2D games have their advantages as sprites can be spectacularly detailed with no performance loss, and the result is that Starscape looks absolutely staggering. Again, however, this has its negative side - see later.

Along with great graphics, the music and sound effects in Starscape are great! While some of the music is pretty mediocre techno, a lot of it is simply terrific, and very reminescent of Zodiac's cool tunes for Piranha. The sound effects are very good - explosions, blasts, punches etc. hardly ever get annoying, and since I didn't immediately flinch (I'm very critical, audio-wise) I'd say that the audio quality is acceptable.

The variety of ship models, node types, weapons and enemies make Starscape an extremely addictive game, while the ongoing "plot" makes you want to go on just to see what happens when you complete the interdimensional drive. The game is very short - I'd say 5 or so hours total - which is actually good, since it would've been horribly repetitive otherwise.

And last but not least, the game is just plain fun!

The Bad
Well the most glaringly obvious flaw in this game is the horrible English - it's worth than a lot of "Engrish" games floating about. It's almost as if the ingame dialogue was written by foreigners with only a dictionary and a stack of Clint Eastwood movies! Reading the credits, the developers seem to be american, so what the hell's up with that?

Also, despite the relatively varied gameplay (jumping in and out of nodes, various enemy types, research, micromanagement) I couldn't help but occasionally feel that the game is incredibly repetitive. Well duh - it is! Good thing it's so short, otherwise I would've either given up on it, or finished it out of spite (Elite Force anyone?)

Last but not least, despite the 2D nature of the game, the graphics are choppy. What do I mean? The framerate is just fine, but the animation is not smooth at all. I would expect a 2003 game to give better than 16 (I think that's what it was...) rotating angles, and the velocity handling leaves a hell of a lot to be desired - the battlefield scrolling just isn't smooth. Too bad - had the game been smoother, perhaps it would've been possible to speed everything up and make the action a lot more intense. I would've enjoyed that.

Last but not least, the game is NOT worth $35 (or even $25 download-only); $20 maybe, but no more than that. It has very little replay value, is very short and the production values are just not high enough to justify the cost.

The Bottom Line
Basically a really simple, fun arcade shooter I enjoyed immensely. It has its drawbacks, but then what game doesn't?

Windows · by Tomer Gabel (4536) · 2004

Asteroids mixed with Tyrian and throw in resource gathering for good measure

The Good
Starscape starts out with a simple animation sequence detailing it's storyline. What's notable about this is that the colors are vibrant and the animation simply looks very pretty... even if the graphical version of a human is a little 'funny' looking at. In any case, this is your first clue that this game is something special.

Once you actually begin the game, you might think that someone made another remake of the 1980s Asteroids. Your goal is to shoot up these big floating rocks into smaller pieces and shoot them again and again until finally there are "minerals" left. The player then collects these minerals and brings them back to the Aegis (an ex-space station which functions as your mothership) where they are used for repairs, research, building or a mission goal. Seems simple enough. Then the first wave of enemies shows up and the player will soon discover that they break just as easy as the asteroids do. But more enemies show up... and then more... and then massive military ships that require more extensive weapons and flying to destroy. Climb the tech tree and build better hulls, missiles, ion blasters, mines.... there are many ways to plow through the enemy ships.

This continues as the player moves from sector to sector, searching out new minerals, blasting baddies and occasionally rescuing crew members (which besides being a humanitarian thing to do, also increases your research/production speeds). There is minimal strategy involved in that you can see the concentration of enemy ships on the map and specifically the enemy mining vessels, which are busy collecting minerals in order to produce more swarms of ships to send your way.

During this time, your ship(s) are customizable in that you build the parts you need than then attach them in available space, paying close attention to the mass and battery life of the finished product. A lot of fun to those who love customizing these things.

Once you delve into the plot which involves the inhumane Anarchids and the Xenarchid "rebels", you'll probably stumble upon your first enemy boss ship. These things are impressive and only vulnerable in certain spots and I'd even go so far as to say that these Boss ships define the game as something more than this being a mere "quickie game". From zone 2 onwards, you'll be encountering increasing complex enemy battleships, more resilient swarms and most importantly, some really fun technologies to build and equip on your starship. And it just gets more and more fun. And as powerful as you upgrade your ship to take down hundreds of enemies, there always seems to be those kinds of mistakes you can make that cause it to be destroyed, leaving the player feeling overpowering, yet still challenged. At the same time the Aegis is always vulnerable (especially against certain battleship types) and so the player must always keep an eye on it's location and the threat around it.

Plus if you don't feel like doing all of that, just select survival mode and blast happily and a neverending swarm of enemy ships.

The Bad
There's not much to complain about, Starscape tries to be a good space shooter and succeeds very well at it. If there's one gripe I have it's that the locations of the map aren't randomized and "crew members" will always be hiding in the same sectors. This is less of a problem than it sounds however since every sector itself is randomly generated (or if it isn't you just don't remember where the objects are clumped).

The Bottom Line
This game combines the best aspects of Asteroids and space shooters such as Tyrian and manages to take it one step further by including a storyline, some real goals to your mission and the management/collection of resources to move the game away from just mindless shooting. You do after all have to pause on the firing button if one is trying to collect minerals to bring back to base, otherwise they'll be destroyed as well.

Starscape also makes itself appealing by providing some explosions and energy weapons that are easy on the eyes (just look at the screenshots). I can't help but look forward to new games that Moonpod might develop.

Windows · by Shoddyan (15006) · 2006

Analytics

MobyPro Early Access

Upgrade to MobyPro to view research rankings!

Related Games

Turtle Odyssey
Released 2004 on Windows
Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
Released 2018 on PlayStation 4
Colony Defense
Released 2010 on Windows, Xbox 360
SpaceStationSim
Released 2005 on Windows
Space Empires V
Released 2006 on Windows
Space Empires IV: Deluxe
Released 2005 on Windows
Fishdom H2O: Hidden Odyssey
Released 2009 on Windows, Macintosh, 2011 on iPad

Related Sites +

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 9249
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]

Contribute

Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Mark Featherstone.

Additional contributors: deepcut, Ivan Napreenko, Klaster_1.

Game added May 31, 2003. Last modified July 11, 2023.