Nexus: The Jupiter Incident Review

It’s strange, but these days it seems that real-time space strategy games are few and far between. Entering this void we have Nexus: The Jupiter Incident, a strategy game that eliminates the resource gathering grind and concentrates on combat between custom outfitted ships and does so with some amazing graphics. Does it succeed in filling the space strategy void or is it simply lost in space?

Nexus puts you in the role of starship captain Marcus Cromwell, a legendary figure working for one of the corporations leading the colonization of space. Your routine of battling other corporations soon goes through a radical change when the solar system is suddenly faced with the twin troubles of, you guessed it, alien invasion and evil AI. No, Nexus is not rife with plot originality, so if you’re one of those gamers who finds the storyline to be an important aspect of a game you’ll be disappointed with the clichéd story in Nexus. It also doesn’t help matters that this story is delivered by some low quality voice acting. Otherwise if you feel that story is secondary to action then you’re in luck as Nexus fares much better in this department.

Controlling ships in Nexus is a bit different than in prior strategy games. In fact, the game will make you feel more like a captain issuing orders from the bridge than a rocket jockey. To issue orders to a ship you just select the action to perform from a row of icons at the bottom of the screen and then select a target on the main screen or from the list of targets at the top right corner of the screen. As soon as you select a target the orders are carried out automatically – you do not need to worry about adjusting heading, setting the engine speed, or targeting the guns, it is all done for you by your ship’s crew. You’ll need to give orders in this manner to each ship in your fleet, but fleet sizes never get larger than ten ships. There is an array of orders available for your ships that go beyond simply “move and fire.” You can evade enemies, move to within scanning range, and even try to target individual weapons and systems on enemy ships. The game will also allow you to pause the action and issue orders when the game is paused when you need a little extra time to think.

A good deal of the strategy in the game comes from having and using the right tool for the job. You spend points before a mission to outfit your ships’ weaponry, which in turn will drive your strategy for the mission. Ships can be armed with weapons designed to bring down shields, bust hulls, or target individual systems and you’ll have to judicious when outfitting your ships. Having a fleet of shield busters does you no good because you won’t have anything to finish the job. This aspect of the game is a nice feature, but it does have a downside. Some of the missions have a puzzle-like quality to them and if you don’t outfit your ships accordingly you won’t be able to complete the mission. There will be times when you’ll find it frustrating to have to return to a mission a few times before you find the combination of weapons intended by the designers.