Ship Versus Ship At The End Of The World
HIGH Launching a nuke at an opposing cruiser.
LOW No multiplayer.
WTF What do robots need battlecruisers for anyway?
It’s the 22nd century. Earth is flooded, all of the humans are dead, and the robots that are still around are reckless, trash-talking megalomaniacs. The player takes the role of Charlie, a utility ‘bot that decided it would be a hoot to steal an unattended battlecruiser and take it for a joyride. Unfortunately, the cruiser he steals belongs to the world’s foremost military power. Hilarity — and lots of robot-on-robot violence — ensues.
The Battlecruisers campaign plays out as a series of one-on-one battles. It’s a Real-Time Strategy (RTS), but a fairly simple one. Instead of gathering resources, the player assigns drones to build or repair parts of the ship. Each cruiser starts with four, and building more drone bays provides two more drones per bay.
Like any RTS, economy is key. As such, building drone bays right off the bat isn’t a bad idea, but it’s not the only strategy. Whatever the player decides, they’ll have to allocate drones to build things when they’re not repairing damage to the ship.
Some buildings only take a couple, but the more advanced stuff can take up to ten drones. Multiple projects can be built at once if there are enough drones available, and allocating more to any project will make it go faster, but that means they’re not available to help with anything else – it’s a tradeoff that’s risky, but well worth it for some of the stronger, more time-consuming buildings.
Initially, the options are pretty limited — the payer only has the battlecruiser that Charlie stole, a few defensive turrets, an air factory, a naval factory, and some artillery. Soon, they start to unlock more buildings and units, and then things really open up.
Some of the unlocks are fairly logical — shield generators, boosters that supercharge the buildings next to them, better turrets — but others are insane. There are lascannons, floating laser batteries, cannons from actual battleships, and of course, a nuke that immediately ends the battle should its six-minute build time be completed. I managed to do it once, and it was awesome.
With all this in mind, it’s clear that the real trick to Battlecruisers is managing slots.
Each cruiser comes with a certain number of slots. Drone bay slots can only house drone bays, but the rest are split between other options. Thinking about building an air factory? Go ahead, but that platform won’t be available for an artillery unit unless the player blows it up and rebuilds. Spending a deck slot on a turret? That means a shield generator can’t be built there. Deciding what to build, where, and how many drones to allocate are important for success and a large part of what makes Battlecruisers engaging.
Naturally, what the player should build kind of depends on what their opponent is building, and everything the opposing battlecruiser builds is visible by default. Battlecruisers’ AI is pretty snappy, and it will react to the player’s choices on the fly, though it also has its own plans that it will try to execute independent of whatever the player does.
In terms of production, everything in Battlecruisers is a silhouette. It’s an understated look, but it works surprisingly well. The only time it doesn’t completely work is for aircraft, as it’s not always immediately obvious who said aircraft belongs to. Still, I’d say Battlecruisers’ visuals are a win, as is the game’s soundtrack, which matches the action perfectly.
Battlecruisers can be tense, and in a close match, the player will be doing half a dozen things at once. It’s a great experience overall, and my only issue is with its length.
There are only 25 missions, and most battles can be won in a few minutes. I played on Hard, and it took me about six hours to complete… but I also messed around quite a bit and had to play a few levels a couple times when whatever nonsense I’d cooked up didn’t work. For someone less interested in experimenting or playing on a lower difficulty, I imagine it might only take a couple hours. Unfortunately, Battlecruisers doesn’t have multiplayer, so once the campaign is over, there’s not much to do except play it again.
The story is funny and the gameplay is engrossing — Battlecruisers is a great experience overall, I just wish there was more of it.
Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Mecha Weka. It is currently available on PC, iOS, and android. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 6 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: This game is not rated by the ESRB, but in my view it contains violence and mild language. There’s not much to worry about for parents. The graphics are in silhouette, so while there’s some destruction, there’s no blood or gore. The characters are all robots so there’s no violence against humans.There’s some mild language and the odd innuendo, but the tone is pretty light and goofy overall.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game does not offer subtitles. Several in-game audio notifications do not have visual components, such as having insufficient builders, when a building completes, and when the opponent builds structures. This game is not accessible.
Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.