Starship Troopers is one of my favourite sci-fi movies growing up as a kid. The movie’s lean towards political satire and set-pieces is something I’ve always appreciated. Naturally, my excitement was pretty spot on when Slitherine announced Starship Troopers: Terran Command.
The game, developed by The Aristocrats, and published by Slitherine, is a Real-Time-Strategy game, or RTS, based in the Starship Trooper universe. Containing a campaign of carefully crafted missions, the genre makes its magic happen for the universe. However, the game comes packed with some questionable issues of its own.
Join The Federation in Starship Troopers: Terran Command
Terran Command takes place in the Starship Trooper movie universe, where players get to control and man Federation troopers on the colony planet Kwalasha. Harsh in nature, the desert planet doubles down as a mining industry and houses the menacing Arachnid, who starts attacking the colony.
Players are put in the shoes of the commanding officer of the mobile infantry unit to take back the planet. The story, told through a campaign, shows the journey of the mobile infantry unit and the players in retaking Kwalasha.
The presentation of the campaign impressed me where it emulates the Federation broadcasting the war status to its citizen. Additionally, the Federation broadcast and nearly all side characters who assist players on the ground have voice acting.
Overall, Terran Command’s campaign is spot on in retaining the feel of the movies, and it shines doing that.
So Many Bugs
At its core, the game is an RTS where players journey through Kwalasha, saving the colony dwellers and getting rid of the Arachnid problem.
To do that, players control a mobile infantry unit and its troops to solve the bug problem. This rendition of the marines and bugs takes the original Starship Trooper design. In classic RTS fashion, players begin with simple Riflemen, who are the grunts of the unit. I like to call them the fodder, as they mostly take the front lines and skull-bashing. Of course, later down the line, you’d get the specialized units that help in efficient bug extermination.
There are some interesting RTS design choices here, which add to the feel of the series as a whole. First and foremost is the line of fire. Every unit has a line of fire, which gets blocked out if another of them stands in front of one. This requires players to place each unit strategically, ensuring they don’t block each other’s line of fire. Bugs swarm in groups and a proper line of sight means quicker bug extermination.
Furthermore, elevation placement of units is also possible, allowing troops to stay on high ground, gaining better aim and shooting at the bugs. These systems ensure that players don’t clump units together in a herd and send them away. The line of sight is a pleasant feature, making strategizing fun.
Apart from that, the mission for players revolves around bug extermination and capturing the radio stations, allowing troop mobilization and forward operating base build. As one progresses through the story, more structures open up, which allows for a better strategy.
Overall, the RTS features are fun, properly executed, and make the game enjoyable. However, there are some downsides to them.
Some Bugs are Best Left for Extermination
While the developers executed the main features just right, some issues are worth mentioning. Firstly, the bugs. There are tons of them, and I mean tons of them, mostly related to gameplay.
Bugs and glitches are frequent occurrences, and even though the developers are patching them up, they are annoying. For example, in one instance, my progression got halted because the game decided to keep sending in hordes of Arachnid against my troops, effectively stopping me in my tracks.
Thirdly, some better way to place trooper position on the battlefield would’ve been preferable. The current system of holding the mouse button and spinning it to position them doesn’t work as intended.
Lastly is the difficulty. The game could’ve benefitted from an in-depth difficulty setting, where you could adjust most of the settings accordingly. The current system only changes the damage modifier of the troops.
Closing Thoughts on Starship Troopers: Terran Command
Starship Troopers: Terran Command is a welcome addition to the RTS genre, especially at a time when the genre is trying to claw back into relevancy. Featuring a lengthy campaign, some great RTS design, and plentiful Arachnids to squash, fans of Starship Trooper and RTS will love this offering.
It is worth mentioning that the game has its form of shortcomings, mostly thanks to the bugs, which is very ironic, and some poorly implemented designs. Getting rid of these issues down the line will make this a great RTS in its own right. Overall, the current offering is worth having a look over whenever it is possible.
Thanks to Slitherine for Providing a Copy for Review Purposes
Starship Troopers: Terran Command is a great RTS out of the box at a time when the genre is dwindling. Featuring a great campaign to play through, the game brings in some interesting strategic gameplay. Unfortunately, bugs and some design choices can bring the fun down, at times.