When the past, and present aren’t enough our gaze goes towards the future.
And that is exactly where Kairosoft has placed their new simulation game: in a futuristic space setting. Epic Astro Story is based on the proven concept of building, upgrading and investing that has been established in half a dozen games so far. There are some aspects setting it apart from the earlier games, but not all of them are good. The combo system of placing certain objects in groups is gone, and instead replaced by a clear radius of influence. To get workers you have to make sure that they can reach the factories or fields.
Another thing that is kind of missing are the characters of the Kairosoft universe. Their role is limited at best, but I haven’t even found all of them during my second playthrough. This is a bit of a shame considering that they were utilized quite a lot in Pocket League Story.
What the game does bring however is excitement, and a real sense of exploration. As you set foot on the planet you only get a small piece of it uncovered. You have to send a recon crew to battle the locals for more land. Outfitting the crew, and making sure that they are properly upgraded is key. The more upgrades the more expensive the expedition. This means that you have to maximize the use of resources at all times. I found the battle scenes to be entertaining as well even though I couldn’t interact at all. Setting up the battle is done at an earlier stage where you place your soldiers on a Plants vs. Zombies kind of grid. There are only two weapon types: ranged, and melee. Making sure to have a proper balance between the two is essential. Each soldier has a special ability, and it is also important to match ability to weapon.
While not exploring you get to build roads, production facilities and tourism facilities. Making sure aliens are having a blast is important for income, and getting the scarce research points. These RPs are used to uncover new technologies, and to recruit new inhabitants from the planets you free.
Kairosoft has managed to get a great flow to Epic Astro Story, and there is never a moment of sitting around just waiting for the first five hours of play. For those hours I was completely hooked, and the challenge was perfectly matched to my crew. At the final level the difficulty spiked however, and I didn’t get the entire planet freed before the game ended. Ended is perhaps the wrong word, as you can continue past year 15. The score is recorded at that time though.
I still don’t get why this can’t be an universal game, as it looks kind of wrong playing a pixelart game double sized on my new iPad. Another thing that bugs me is the lack of online scoring, and I would really have liked to be able to share my progress over multiple devices using Game Center.
Some technical shortcomings aside Epic Astro Story is one of the finest moments of Kairosoft. If you are a fan of simulation games, Kairosoft or staring like a madman at your screen for hours this comes highly recommended. Any game with Epic in the title has some large shoes to fill, and Epic Astro Story does it well.
Epic Astro Story $3.99
Seller: Kairosoft Co.,LTD