Startopia © Mucky Foot Productions Limited, 2001
Startopia is a great economic game in which we are responsible for the construction and management of a cosmic hotel. Despite the passage of time (more than 13 years has passed since the title was released) game easily beats most of the current pseudo managers. Do not be fooled by paying 40 bucks for AAA productions when you can have Startopia for 7 dollars and spend more time on it than with other titles.
Before I lost its CD to a flood, I've played this game through three generations of PCs. I consider this a must-play and always keep it installed along with the first Sims (which to my relief was spared from the flood, thankfully so as it was the full collection release). You play as a space station manager who is tasked of populating it by building structures that cater to different alien species. Its campaign mode, while not something to really write about, is a nice way of gradually introducing game mechanics to prep you to the real meat of the game, which is the sandbox mode. Though finishing the campaign mode does give you a WHAT-A-TWEEEEEST moment in the end. The sandbox gives you options in how you start the game, which personally I preferred without the combat so I played without competing AI station managers. From you still have to build your station gradually like in the campaign, but the speed depends on how often you market for buildings, resources, and blueprints. I've almost always filled the first deck, but never found myself filling the second deck. Overall a fun management game.
I played the original release of this game years ago and didn't really know what I was doing. Just terraforming the whole thing, trying to survive and so on. You start with a rather small space station (in the "Campaign") and you need to match the needs of many different alien races. Everyone wants something different and your customers also start attacking each other and so forth. It needs much micromanagement and still is pretty easy to learn. Today I know what I'm doing and it's still as fun as it was before!
This title is interesting as it’s a management simulation that sees you taking control of a space station with various decks, and each deck has a theme, like the bio deck which has everything from trees and plants to bodies of water. The overall goal is to make it a home to all aliens who arrive at the space station, and to do this you need to cater to their needs; give them jobs, and make sure that everyone is satisfied and gets along. This game is a bit like The Movies, and just about any Sim City game you’ve ever played, except it is unique in the way that it is set in space. It’s a fun little game and never takes itself too seriously.
Had this title back in the old days of CD-ROM. To say my social life seeing as I was in my early twenties back then suffered is an understatement. To me, this game seemed a little ahead of it's time and it's great to see it available again now in the digital storage age as I presume one day discs will become obsolete. Any sort of sim game of this genre is well up my street but what endeared me to Startopia is that it's quirky, colourful, very busy, the bigger you make your station the more you need be in many places at once, sorting out issues like maintenance, organising new building space to try and avoid conflicts between what each race requires not being too close to an area that a species they do not get along with will use. The learning curve for this game is not that steep in my opinion, it's pretty easy to realise that not only will you need attractions to bring in the punters but builder bots, mechanics etc will also be required to keep things running smoother. I did quit my first few stations after making too many bad choice on location and size of some of the structures and not managing my hydroponics bays as good as I should have. You do sometimes get the opportunity to just sit back and watch the little guys going about their business on your station and it does get very emersive quite quickly. I would suggest you don't go overboard too quickly in the early stages by trying to obtain every type of structure too soon. I used to try and cater for a section of the species first and kept a close eye on my energy and consumption to not run into trouble. I am so getting the urge to go play this game again now for the feelgood factor of an old game and all the good memories I had of it. Indeed as said in other reviews, graphically it is nowhere near top end anymore but I can easily forgive this for it's quirkiness and comic elements that I have just not found elsewhere other than dare I say it the early Tropico games.
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