Review: Strikefleet Omega for iOS and Android

By Owen Faraday 26 Jun 2012 0
Earth's finest (and dearest) hour. Earth's finest (and dearest) hour.

Strikefleet Omega is a attractive, exciting, charming game that ought to be impossible to dislike. But the devs found a way.

Strikefleet places you in charge of directing the defenses of an embattled armada of starships - drawing paths for the fighter wings to follow and selecting targets for the heavy weapons. It's an exciting game that pulls off the neat trick of making frantic action feel tactical and somewhat cerebral. There's a lot of nods to great sci-fi of the past: the visual aesthetic has the WWII-in-space feel of the Wing Commander series (or that awful Wing Commander film), and when your ragtag fleet jumps to lightspeed in the face of overwhelming odds, no one passingly familiar with Battlestar Galactica will fail to smile.

The real pity is that it's impossible to divorce the quality of Strikefleet's gameplay from the obtrusiveness of its commercial side. The game features both in-game adverts and IAPs - a cheeky gambit straight out of the Dick Dastardly & Muttley school of app monetization. Besides the ads, there's not one but two different forms of in-game currency, and many of the exciting-looking weapons and gizmos are locked away behind one currency that drops about as frequently as a eunuch's trousers.

If you need a friend, get a dog. If you need a friend, get a dog.

No one can begrudge a developer's profit - games aren't charity - but the way that Strikefleet is always trying to stick its beak in is just crass. Compare Strikefleet with Battle Academy, which discreetly sets out a stall of enticing AP products and earns your goodwill by never bothering you about it. Your initial purchase of Battle Academy grants you hours and hours of content - but if you want more, you know where to go. Strikeforce's IAPs, on the other hand, are designed to catch your eye at every possible purchase point and to make advancement without them difficult. The net effect is like being at a pretty decent party with a Jehovah's Witness: it's hard to really let go and enjoy yourself knowing it's only a matter of time before the awkward sales pitch comes out again. That's a proper shame because it's a damn good party once you get into it.

Developer Harebrained Schemes should have just charged us five dollars right off the bat and then let us get on with it - but it's not too late for that. The game as a whole is fundamentally sound, all they need to do is tweak their IAP model to something a little less leeringly avaricious and then Strikefleet Omega will be a game worth the trouble.


2 out of 5


iTunes Store, Android Market - free (at first, anyway)



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