As you may guess from the name, the game takes place in a sci-fi universe. You are a commander-in-training for your battleship in the war against the menacing blue forces, which spans across many planets. At its core, the game is all about real-time strategy elements, but with the minor hiccup of taking place in 10-second intervals. By winning a battle you earn cash to purchase more jets, more turrets, and heal your wounds. The missions are not very long, as the fighting takes place within the confines of the iPad screen, but some can feel a bit grindy. And though hard to tell, you play from a battleship like going to war from the tail-gate of a truck.
The gameplay involves you completing the objective to destroy something the blue guys control, either all of their buildings or only certain buildings. You control deployable jets and stationary turrets. The jets are used for offense and are controlled with one finger flick at a time, for as many times as you can fit into 10 seconds the faster you flick, the faster you move. They carry a payload of a bomb that can be dropped on a building and then must return to base. Turrets are used for defense, and are controlled by holding down and either dragging or flinging in the direction of the enemy jet. The interesting part about turrets is they only have one shot during your turn and the enemys. This brings up the tactical judgment of when to use it; either when the enemy jets are stationary during your turn, or when they are closer but mobile during their 10 seconds. Using turrets involves accuracy, and while satisfying to pop a target right before it goes to drop a bomb on your ship, too often youll just end up wasting the shot. Basically, the game is war with a 10 second shot clock.
The battlefields are very small, but manage to add enough variety into each mission. It begins with the enemy base, whose turret placement and type will determine the challenge of your attack, but some fields will also have debris and other obstacles, such as floating rocks that can damage either side. But perhaps the worst aspect of the game is that your ship retains its damage from battle to battle, requiring a good portion of your earnings just to patch it back to normal. With the reward money being so low (not even the cost of the basic turret early on) and if you dont defend very well, you could start the campaign off behind the eight ball and never recover.
Most players will run into the steep curve of enemy difficulty from level to level. One of my first missions took forever, some were extremely easy, and right after one of the easiest missions (about three turns), I ran into an extremely difficult level. Combined with the lack of funds and with the game not explaining what needs to be done for optimal performance, it makes the game a challenge to jump in and play. So before you decide to buy, you must realize its more like a true progression-based game rather than a handheld app.
You can play multiplayer by sharing your iPad with a friend, but there isnt much more to the game besides the campaign. In the end, youll have to invest a lot of effort into mastering the game in order to play it correctly. Youll have to make the correct tactical choices, move quickly, shoot accurately, spend your cash wisely, and all this when you could be playing Angry Birds or reading a book.
Final Rating: 54%