Stellar Tactics Is A New Space RPG From Maverick Games Bringing Back the Nostalgia Of Old School RPG Gaming
Meet the old school gaming lovechild of a really weird three-way between D&D, Alien, and Dead Space (at some point one of the Neverwinter games might have gotten involved, but that’s already more information than most people needed). Nevertheless, it was a good party, and the end result is something that will surely merit some promise. This, in a nutshell, is Stellar Tactics.
Horror is a difficult genre to pull off, especially in any gaming style that isn’t first person (seeing as that’s the new norm). While Stellar Tactics doesn’t quite having you browning your shorts anytime soon, it certainly does have that sense of impending doom about it. The isolation aesthetic is pretty on point here, and the blackness that enshrouds you just outside of the walls of your ship really does feel like the endless void of space. Add to that the ambient background noise as the only thing that breaks up the surrounding silence, and the game almost has the feel of sensory deprivation outside of your immediate surroundings.
The premise of Stellar Tactics starts out fairly simple. You play a team of four bio-engineered soldiers awakened from cry-stasis and tasked with securing the ship from an epidemic, known as Phage, that has spread throughout the inhabitants. Those who are infected have all become flesh eating monstrosities, and it’s your job to take them down for the preservation of what remains of mankind.
After creating your team, you all wake up out of your cryo-sleep to a Dr. Rhamus informing you of the situation above. You must explore the ship and all of its crevices, killing the infected, interacting with survivors, and unraveling the mystery of what really happened on the Dauntless. Combat begins pretty streamlined so that the player can get a hold on what’s going on, as you will need to know how to utilize all of your findings very quickly. This might be where the game fell a little short in the beginning, as instructions were given to the player in long exposition dumps as opposed to applying chunks here and there for optimal memorization. Regardless, tinkering around with the commands long enough will warrant a result eventually as the interface is not terribly complicated.
The 3/4s isometric camera perspective really gives this game an old school feel. Add to that turn based combat and hours of expansive, exploratory game play, and Stellar Tactics is on it’s way to become a fast favorite for those that enjoy in depth and rich RPGs.
I enjoyed my time playing Stellar Tactics, and while there are certainly some areas in need of improvement, the version I played was in very early alpha mode. Once in a while a few minor enemies would disappear from camera view, and the exposition dumps, as stated before, did make remembering my tasks and instructions a little challenging. Nevertheless, the overall game play was very rewarding, and even refreshing at times.
Stellar Tactics will not limit you within the confines of a single spaceship however. Over time, the rest of the literal universe opens up right at the player’s fingertips. (This may end up being the No Man’s Sky we all wanted and none of us got.) You will explore planets, galaxies, and other ships. Your team will be customized to the max via an assortment of skill perks and upgrades the further you delve into the game, and real time trade in game will expand on your already unlimited asset collection.
Stellar Tactics is available for early access on steam here from Maverick Games, and is receiving very positive reviews.