Space Colony: Steam Edition [Review]
Space Colony: Steam Edition

Game Info:

  • Genre: Simulation, Real-time Strategy
  • Platform(s): PC
  • Developer: FireFly Studios
  • Publisher: FireFly Studios
  • Release Date: August 29, 2003 / April 30, 2015

The release of HD remasters of old games may be grumbled at by some as unnecessary and even distractions getting in the way of developing brand new titles. However, there are plenty of good games, both mainstream legends and hidden gems of the past, that do deserve to be enjoyed by a new generation. I don’t know if this is one of them, but maybe someone out there can appreciate it, especially those who are into building and management games.

Space Colony: Steam Edition is the re-release of the original game by FireFly Studios from back in 2003 that lets players manage a base full of different characters out in space. There was also an earlier HD version released back in November 2012 that supported resolutions up to 2560×1600 and added 8 new campaigns. This new release is an extension of that with achievements and other features included for Steam users.

NOTE: This is a full review of the game, so there may be a few spoilers. You’ve been warned.

Story

Blackwater Industries has sent a crew of employees on a planet to build and manage a base to mine resources for the company. This space colony serves as a base of operations for the crew as they work shifts to keep the place running while extracting the resources needed to accomplish each mission.

While they’re at it, they have to deal with each other’s different personalities, either as friends or enemies. They also have their own needs since they’re not robots. As they’re worked to the bone by their superiors, they have to make the best of things while out in space.

Presentation

The visuals have not aged well, and it already looked rather dated back in its initial release. The characters look a bit odd, the 3D models are a bit too blocky, and the textures look inadequate. However, the soundtrack isn’t bad and the voice acting is at least amusing for the most part.

Some interface elements are still hard to deal with, not to mention hard to see. The buttons and graphs look a bit too small, so it may take a bit of time to get used to it or you may have to play this game at a lower screen resolution. Being able to turn the camera could have been useful in some cases as well.

Gameplay

It plays pretty much like how you’d expect a sim like this to play. This game combines different building and management sim elements together, so you have your hands full juggling different management tasks at the same time. Think of The Sims with Theme Hospital and real time strategy put together.

It could use more hotkeys, like numbers for selecting individual characters. But since they’re not present in the game, the most important hotkey in the game is the spacebar for the bridge, which shows the statuses of all your characters, power, credits, and so on. That’s also where you can get more information on other stuff and do things like sell extra supplies.

The controls that are there could still use some work, but you just have to remember that it’s kind of like Command & Conquer controls. You may have a bit of trouble if you played more StarCraft than Red Alert, so you’ll have to keep reminding yourself that right click is to deselect.

Final Score

Space Colony: Steam Edition
6 out of 10
Pros
  • Engaging management gameplay
  • Surprising amount of challenge
  • Characters have different personalities
  • Lots of voice acting
  • Different game modes
  • Pretty good soundtrack
Cons
  • Outdated graphics and interface
  • Could use more hotkeys
  • Silly stereotypical accents in voice acting
Summary
The score of 6 out of 10 means it's above average—still a good score. If it were still 2003, this game would have gotten a 7 here, but it's now 12 years later and the visuals and interface haven't aged that well. Despite that, if you're a fan of management sims and able to get past those little things, you may still get to like this game.

For more information on the website’s standardized review system, you may read about it [here].

You may also look up my preferences in video games [here] for reference.