Starfront: Collision. (iOS)
There’s nothing worse than a poorly-made video game. With thousands of games coming out every year and only so many hours in the day, why would I spend my time playing something mediocre? Well, after reading some positive five-star reviews on the iTunes store for Starfront: Collision and a brand new iPad in hand, I decided to put my Starcraft 2 RTS bias aside and give this game a go.
From the moment I loaded the first tutorial level I was immediately impressed by how well RTS controls translated to the iPad and was eager to get into the campaign. There are three races that mirror those in Starcraft directly and gameplay is incredibly smooth.
With a campaign for each of the races, skirmish mode and online or bluetooth multiplayer available it seemed like blue skies were ahead but no, this game did not have fine weather in my future but a torrential hailstorm of frozen turds.
The first mission in this game had me questioning whether Gameloft bothered to hire a dedicated writer for their team or if the developers had simply punched in a few lines of dialogue as an after thought. The second mission had me cursing the “build an army and attack in the general direction of your opponent” gameplay and the ridiculousness of the the third mission had me pulling my hair out.
Reduced to babysitting a tank unit that was pivotal to the storyline and built from the finest papier-mâché, I was dismayed at how often it would blindly move ahead of my army and draw the brunt of enemy attacks. Enemies would chase this stupid tank down any way they could and ambushes were set up constantly as a thorn in my side.
I was forced to babysit the poor AI and send wave after wave of reinforcements from my base to surround the tank. I tried inching my maxed out army across the map only to find that one of the two alternative objectives could not be reached and after the fifth attempt of struggling with poor unit pathing I started asking “why am I doing this?”
I gave Starfront: Collision one last chance to redeem itself in the skirmish mode and was once more disappointed and immediately uninstalled the game. I could write for hours about how this game lacks the fine balance that makes modern RTS so compelling, how unit producing structures require manual selection each time you want to build something or about how the game mechanics of resource management make economy harassment impossible, but let’s not waste each others time.
Starfront: Collision is only for those desperate for an RTS on the go.