Spaceland (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 07.10.2019

Review for Spaceland on PC

XCOM or X-COM for older players is a game that at once defines its own genre, as well as was viewed as one of the best games (and franchises) in videogame history. As a result many games take aspects from it, and Spaceland does so largely successfully. While lacking overt base management, the squad management is like a true XCOM along with its tactical gameplay. The entire package brings back memories to an older GBA game called Rebelstar Tactical Command.

Despite the very simplistic name, Spaceland is actually a game in the same vein as XCOM or older squad games like Ghost Recon or Rebelstar Tactical Command, which is a great thing as those largely revered in the genre. This follows the story of a young Ranger named Jim, who crash lands on a planet, and slowly finds more people as he battles aliens across a colony. One thing to get straight right off the bat is a very odd switch between various graphics, for example the characters are drawn in a slightly anime style, the combat models follow a certain 3D model art style, and other scenes like the loading or splash page look like an odd Claymation type direction. These changes are a little off-putting and might push players away, but there is something very enjoyable at its core here.

Screenshot for Spaceland on PC

Most of the game is spent in the tactical section. Each level is pre-set, beginning with some small dialogue sequences, followed by the actual battle; turn-based battles that take part on a grid. Each soldier is slightly different, but in general they can move somewhere between five and eight spaces, and shoot once or twice per turn. After that the aliens move closer and attack. Each level has both rewards for rushing the end, and for exploring deeply - trying to find the secrets was generally very enjoyable.

After a battle you are put onto a world map that represents the planet's colony. From here the squad advances to the next battle/plot point, or the player manages the squad's members. As this goes on, more and more characters join, and are all fairly different. From this point they can upgrade skills or weapons. The weapon upgrade is straight forward; just more damage. The skill system is fairly cool, and the only regret is that it is not deeper or more involved. Each character has two separate skills that can be levelled up two levels, unlocking one final bonus. Skills range from moving further, taking more damage, healing, or attacks.

Screenshot for Spaceland on PC

Having the different characters was really fun, and seeing how unique they are. You have Jim who can move far and fast, and then you have characters with a mix of movement and combat, to outright tanks who move very slow but can take a pounding and dish one out. Though they could definitely need a slight balancing, the difference between them was notable and they truly felt like different soldiers going in. The Actual fighting is fairly fun, most of it is slug-fests as cover rarely exists. This is fine, and a fun departure from various "cover crawls" some games like the recent XCOM entries often devolve into.

Screenshot for Spaceland on PC

The difficulty could use a little bit of rework as well, as the first half is largely easy for someone with experience in such games, until the second half of the whole thing, where levels often have to be replayed multiple times just to understand enemy placement. Tortuga Team's title has a lot packed into it for something created from a small studio, and really one of the few things holding it back is a lack of more depth to it. There is enough to see this deep potential it might have had, but instead is just enough to make a good game.

With some better gear customization, some deeper skill trees, and some balance, this could easily become very, very good. As it is now, it is still a great purchase for those who like these kind of games. A typical play-through will likely be in the range of 15 to 20 hours based on how many times one replays levels for more money. Overall, it was a fun romp, as well as a throwback to some of the titles that inspired it.

Screenshot for Spaceland on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Despite some obvious flaws, and some parts that were somewhat rough around the edges, Spaceland offers great fun for something not coming from big name studios. While it eschews a typical base building in favour of squad management, the small skill tree and equipment choices are interesting, while leaving a desire for more. Though linear, the tactical elements are largely highly competent. There are things that leave the player wanting more, but the game itself is very enjoyable, and any potential sequels will probably be even better.

Developer

Tortuga Team

Publisher

Tortuga Team

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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