The year is 2159. Our mission is to defend earth from the extraterrestrial threat known as the Phasmids. That is the basics behind publisher Curve Digital and developer Runner Duck’s new game Space Crew, the follow up to their previous game Bomber Crew. Should you join up and take part in this crew or would you be better off walking another path?
Space Crew is a single-player roguelike strategic survival simulation game where you as a member of the United Defense Force must manage your crew and engage in ship to ship combat across numerous missions. It’s a game that asks a lot out of you as the player but if you can manage things effectively it can be quite satisfying. Those that panic when faced with having to do a whole bunch of different things in short times may not enjoy this as it is a difficult game so keep that in mind.
Aboard your ship in the game you have six different members of your crew that you’ll have to assign duties to. There are lots of different stations that need to be attended to onboard and you won’t be able to have someone at each one at all times so you’ll have to stay on your toes and move them about when needed. You have different types of crewmates like engineers who can control where the power on your ship is going, captains who can make hyperjumps, a communications specialist who can scan for enemy ships, and so on. Each of them starts off not so great but by keeping them alive and completing missions you can level them up improving their abilities. Missions also reward you with money and research points that let you get better tech for the ship and better equipment for the crew.
Missions in the game can involve destroying Phasmid forces, escorting a ship, or going on a supply run. You’ll have to do a fair bit of grinding in this game to get the upgrades you may want so you’ll be doing a lot of the same types of missions over and over. Because of that I wish there was a bit more variety in the things it was having me do. Plenty of things can also go wrong anytime so you can’t ever be sure you’re in the clear. You might run into problems with the oxygen onboard, a fire may break out, or something else might start not working right. Any time a problem arises you have to make sure you get someone on it to handle it before it becomes worse. You can have your whole crew and ship wiped out and have to start an entirely new run if you aren’t careful. While the game itself can have a lot going on for you to keep up with the controls don’t make it easy on you. Simply directing your crew to do things is just cumbersome and takes too many buttons. Even after playing for awhile I’d still find myself struggling to quickly issue orders to my crew which wasn’t ideal. This is a game clearly meant to be played with a mouse and keyboard.
Visually the game has that same cute art style that Bomber Crew had. That means you can expect plenty of characters with oversized heads to be running your ship. The only thing I didn’t like was that some of the on-screen text and UI was a bit too small which made it hard to see at times. Those interested in the trophies will find 31 of them here including a Platinum. I wouldn’t say it’s a hard list by any means but it will likely take a good bit of time to earn them all.
Space Crew is a solid follow up to Bomber Crew that delivers some pretty in-depth management gameplay. The game looks good and building up your ship and crew while completing missions can be quite fun. I would like it even more if there was more mission variety and the controls were better suited to console. Decide if those negatives are that big of a deal for yourself before you join the United Defense Force.
*Space Crew is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.