It’s hard to balance real-time gameplay and a turn-based structure. Lately it’s been a trend to try a little more often, and on a system like the iPad, that makes sense. After all, you can’t have a two-player full-screen action game without some serious physical injuries. So how does Battlestar Commander‘s approach fare?
More on that later. Bulkypix’s Battlestar Commander is a game where you control a large spaceship with turrets and launchpads and either fight another ship or take on various missions. On each turn, you have a few seconds to flick your ships over to targets or tap turrets to send out shots, and then your opponent gets the same opportunity.
Battlestar is visually impressive. It runs on a 3D engine, and it’s obviously trying to impress with various little flourishes when ships move and turrets fire. It’s a bit hard to appreciate when you’re moving fingers around everywhere, but it makes waiting through computer opponents’ turns a little more pleasant. The sounds are fairly standard, but no news is good news on a system that supports playing your own music. Or it would be if the game supported the feature, but we’re hoping Bulkypix adds that in a future update.
The game has an extensive single-player campaign with different missions. Most involve destroying certain targets or taking people out completely. You manage a persistent ship, making repairs and buying upgrades as the missions progress.
This is an entertaining diversion, but the concept of a turn-based real-time game is clearly designed for two players, and the competition is an intriguing one. It mostly falls flat, though, as the time between moves makes it clear what actions to take. Put simply, leaving things unfinished puts you at a serious disadvantage, so each turn is a matter of rushing in and completely taking out one or two targets. This is where a strategy game designed as an action title falters a little bit.
Ultimately, though, Battlestar Commander is interesting for an hour or two, and it could hold some people for longer. And that’s all you need for a successful game on the platform.