Top Critic Average
The way that ships, planets and research all simply accrue numbers in various areas rather than opening up new avenues to understand, explore and exploit makes Starships seem like a game set at the end of humankind's ambition rather than the beginning of a brave new age.
Sid Meier's Starships does away with all of the research tree and diplomatic hard work that often comes with a 4X title, replacing them with some brilliant turn-based strategy combat and just enough world conquering to keep any evil genius happy.
For those looking for something different from the standard "Civ" experience, or something that's an even larger departure than "Beyond Earth" was, this may just be the scratch for said itch.
Sid Meier's Starships lacks the strategic depth of Civilization, but the added tactical layer, and shorter game times make it a fair substitute, especially if you're looking for bite-sized strategy.
Sid Meier's Starships is a good and replayable turn-based strategy experience that will certainly appeal to lovers of classic science fiction franchises and to those who appreciate the way the leader of Firaxis managed to make player choices relevant.
Sid Meier's Starships is a simplistic, strategic and cerebral space version of Civilization, albeit a short one. It's meant to keep your attention for a short amount of time and succeeds in consistently doing so. It does have sprinkles of economic depth like it's Civ brother, but it doesn't demand gamers sit and engulf themselves in the learning process to achieve success. For gamers not wanting to dedicate their entire beings to the Civ games, this might be a worthy substitute.
That said, players who opt for a fiscally healthier expenditure will be missing out on a solid Sid Meier experience, since Starships is a space odyssey that's definitely worth your time.
Sid Meier's Starships may not be exactly what fans were expecting as a follow-up to Beyond Earth, but viewed as a low-cost strategy title which can run on both older machines or iPad devices, it's a well-polished and addictive experience.
Sid Meier's Starships is a short and sweet companion game to Civilization: Beyond Earth that doesn't overstay its welcome. Without many options for game setup and a multiplayer mode, Starships is limited in scope, but its ship-focused combat and breezy progression has a broad appeal that fits well for both PC and iOS platforms.
Starships may not be a grand epic like Civilization, but its stripped back design fulfils a purpose. If you normally struggle with the multiple complexities of a 4x strategy game, Starships is a great introduction to the genre. It even offers step-by-step advice at every point if you need it. But for anyone more advanced than total rookie, after a handful of campaigns you'll have seen everything Starships has to offer. Without the usual 4x depth or any multiplayer, Starships lacks the level of replayability. Even though it's priced accordingly, that's still its open exhaust hatch. A couple of afternoons after buying, Starships is likely to be lost among the debris of your unplayed Steam collection.
Considered on its own, Starships is a little tactical treat. Give it a few hours of your day and you'll be lifted by its modular pieces and its battlefield puzzles. But do not linger: It simply does not have the strength to punch through gravity and carry you to the stars.
Fun, quick and light strategy game, Starships is a great introduction to strategic gameplay or for those who don't have time for a longer experience. On its own, it feels shallow and lacks extensive replay value. Not suited to PC, I think Starships will do best on mobile.
Slimming down a typically convoluted Sid Meier's strategy game into a more time manageable endeavor for the player is a solid blueprint. Sid Meier's Starships provides a great baseline, but the working draft art, underwhelming sound effects and animation, and unbalanced gameplay keep this title from ever thrusting off the launch pad. It's a fun game that can be a challenge, but requires you to do most of the leg work to make it fun and challenging.
Sid Meier's Starships provides a simplified, portable gameplay snippet of the series turn-based gameplay that ultimately makes it a difficult recommend for Civilization fans. While the game was clearly designed for a tablet, there is still some entertainment to be found in brief gameplay sessions. Yet, it's impossible not to take into account there are far superior strategy games on PC that make Starships an even less-desiring title to play.
All and all, Sid Meier's Starships on the PC turns out to be a mixed bag of mostly sour elements. It's a nice distraction and even a good bit of fun depending on how much you enjoy space combat titles, but only if you go in knowing full well that this is a port a mobile game, absent of much the charm and detail we've come to expect from Sid Meier titles. In concept, this game is a fantastic way to build upon the fledgling Beyond Earth legacy, but in function, this game feels like a cheaper version of another Sid Meier's Starships that was never actually made.
'Sid Meier's Starships' is not a quick cash-in completely devoid of creative merit, but nor is it a fitting companion for one of the best strategy titles of last year. At best it is good for a few hours of moderate strategy, although it's probably better played on a mobile device. Still, there are far better strategy games available for mobile, and cheaper than $15 as well.
Cranking up the difficulty in Starships and thereby eliminating the margin for error can address shortcomings of the tactical mode, but the strategic mode will always remain simple. Hence the feeling that Starships is more like a mini-game than a fully-fledged title, an observation held up by the game's low asking price of $15.
If you like those days-long Civilization sessions going through thousands of years of human development, the brief sessions of Starships leave you feeling like there's something missing – like you're eating a salad when you really want a hamburger.
Starships would have worked much better as a smaller form release. As it is, it's an underwhelming tack-on to the already forgettable Beyond Earth that feels rushed and unoptimised. Had it been on a tablet things may have been much different.
Starships should have rated higher. It would be if Firaxis had bothered to address the simple problems that should have been obvious from day one. Simple things like making full-screen or making the computer's win conditions optional. However, as it is, it's little more than a glorified tablet game a few steps above the company's prior attempt to bring the series to the Nintendo DS way back when. With the fixes, the score would rise easily, especially if it later offers mod support, but as-is… it's just a disappointing miss for something that should have been so easy to get right.
Less an endless voyage through the stars, and more a space-bus journey to the shops. If you're intimidated by Civilization this is an reasonable starting place for the 4X genre, but it's not for those seeking a deep or lengthy experience.
Rather than offering up a bite-sized entry into the somewhat intimidating strategy genre, Sid Meier's Starships serves up a half-baked entry that fails to provide much in the way of strategy.
Had the realization of that universe been more fully fleshed out—expansive and deep rather than restrictive and boardgame-like—Spaceships could have found success as a kind of post-human strategy game. Instead it feels lifeless. But not in the existential, gazing-into-the-void-of-space way. More in the way that an aging child realizes that her blanket is just a blanket, and promptly stops caring about it.