Ah, Starship Troopers. One of my absolute favorite films that I could watch over and over again. There has already been one or the other game and now publisher Slitherine and developer The Artistocrats are trying their hand at a real-time strategy game. One that is full of bugs. In this case, that is not a disadvantage. At least if you don’t let them overwhelm you.
Although the exaggerated, satirical aspects, as the film offers them, move more into the background here. It’s literally about survival, about the action. You play the mobile infantry and send your gunner… uh, your brave soldiers into battle against the arachnoids. The film (let’s ignore the sequels) also serves as a template for the designs in Starship Troopers: Terran Command.
Only a dead bug is a good bug
As you know it from classic real-time strategy games, your arsenal and that of your opponent will continue to grow over time. More unit types are added, and for each type there is a counterpart that proves effective in combat. Accordingly, the right composition of your army is sometimes more important than sheer mass. Ultimately, however, each unit fulfills its purpose. It depends what you make of it.
In contrast to other genre representatives, the lines of sight also play an even greater role. It’s not all about sight here, no, if one of your squads gets in the way of another, the one behind won’t be able to fire. Incorrect positioning can tip the scales in some situations, so make sure everyone can shoot freely.
All this takes place after the small failure on Klendathu, the setback there also serves as a tutorial mission. It’s not like the game just retells the movie though. The planet Kwalasha is under threat from the bugs and you are there to help out. Again and again you have to do it with the defense of your positions. As mentioned, positioning plays an important role. If everything goes perfectly, the bugs rush to their doom. Not only then, but sometimes defending is about taking care of nests and sealing them. To do this, you first decimate the enemies pouring out before one of your squads finally takes care of it.
Strategy without base building
However, Starship Troopers: Terran Command has little to do with a Command & Conquer. You don’t slowly build up a base here and then move your army across the map. Rather, you collect supplies and war support on your way, with which you request units, mechs or guns. Similar to Company of Heroes, squads are made up of multiple soldiers who get smaller and weaker the more damage they take. At certain points, however, you can refresh them with new powers and request supplies.
Because if you lose a squad, you’ll get its resources back in full – which adds to the cannon fodder aspect – so if you fail in your attempt you can just try again. Does it all make it a little too easy? Well, at least it gives you one more chance and doesn’t immediately tell you that the mission has failed unless you’re currently Everyone loses units. A higher level of difficulty, however, only affects the damage done by your people and has no other effects.
In the end, it’s all about acting cleverly with the available resources and squads. Which brings us back to positioning. Fumbling is required here, because the mobile infantry does not know anything like formations. At least she doesn’t let you set any, but does it independently when moving. However, this is not very effective, as some squads occasionally get in each other’s way and block the lines of fire. So it’s best to divide everything into several small groups and move them independently. It could have been better and is an aspect that the developers are welcome to tweak later.
Either way, you have to manually trigger the special abilities of the respective units, your normal soldiers can throw a grenade, for example. If it lands in a group of bugs, it can blow up several of them at once. Practical in tight spots. Your people wouldn’t think of using such things themselves. It adds more micromanagement to the fights where you’re already busy positioning and is a bit annoying in some situations. Especially if it burns in several places and you have to activate it one by one.
Technically, Starship Troopers: Terran Command doesn’t play in the very highest league, but it probably doesn’t have a similar budget to that of a Company of Heroes either. But the game is attractive, it offers recognition values and, apart from minor problems, it runs well. What more do you want?
Starship Troopers: Terran Command Test – Conclusion
Ultimately, there are a few allusions to the films here and there, but Starship Troopers: Terran Command doesn’t really rely on satire. That’s a pity, but not a broken leg. In terms of gameplay, it’s definitely fun to fight the bugs, even if it seems a bit chaotic here and there. Which in turn fits with the sometimes haphazard depiction of the mobile infantry in the film. There are worse and there are better licensed games than Starship Troopers: Terran Command. But it tends more towards the good side and I’m glad about that. It’s not the most extensive game and a pure single-player title, but it only costs 25 euros. For the price, you can’t go far wrong if you just want to fix a few bugs.