Outpost Kaloki X

February 19, 2007

Out of all the titles available on Xbox Live Arcade at this point, [i]Outpost Kaloki X[/i] is probably one of the more interesting titles. While most games on the service focus on either classic arcade titles, shooter after shooter, or other traditional games, [i]Kaloki[/i] presents one of the few strategic sims available on Arcade. This alone makes it stand out from many of the games next to it, and it certainly does bring a new kind of play style to the strategy genre that is very gamepad friendly. Unfortunately, the game might not have enough depth to really keep many people playing and can actually drag on for a little too long. [i]Outpost Kaloki X[/i] offers up a lot of content for the price point, but many may find the game play to be a little too tedious and one-note to actually play through it all after so long.

[i]Outpost Kaloki X[/i] is, as I said earlier, a strategy sim that is probably reminiscent of the countless tycoon games plaguing the PC. The way things work is that you are given a large station that has a given number of ports on it, and your job is to construct business establishments on those ports and meet the customer demand based on tastes and preferences. There are a number of different types of businesses, and each type has different, more expensive buildings. As you build, you’ll have to construct power sources to meet consumption needs as well as maintenance facilities to repair structures. The ultimate goal above all of this is to meet the goals of each scenario, which range from making sacks of money to building a structure high up on the tech tree.

Speaking of scenarios, the main attractions in [i]Kaloki[/i] are the two story modes that are made up of several different scenarios. The adventure story takes you through the game with an economic slant to things, while the war story concentrates on building guns to fend off attackers. In reality, there is little difference between the two stories, with the only major thing being that the war story adds in defensive structures. Even then, the war story is just as economically driven as the adventure story and just isn’t really that different. Also worth mentioning is that [i]Kaloki[/i] comes with about a dozen other scenarios to play through, and on top of that, Ninja Bee even has additional downloadable scenarios on the Marketplace. There’s no denying that [i]Outpost Kaloki X[/i] is packed to the brim with content.

Unfortunately, gallons of content don’t always translate into compelling game play, and [i]Kaloki[/i] ultimately suffers from a bit too much. It probably isn’t that Ninja Bee included too much in the game, but more that the general game play wears thin very quickly. You may very well find that [i]Kaloki[/i]’s approach to strategy is interesting during the first few games you play, but after so long, you’ll realize how repetitive things can get, and things basically play out the same in many missions. It’s very easy to get into the same routine mission after mission. On the plus side, many of the scenarios can be pretty challenging, but after so long, you’ll basically get into a fixed routine and the challenge fades somewhat.

As far as presentation goes, [i]Kaloki[/i] doesn’t give out any mind-blowing graphics, but for the type of game it is, the quaint 3D visuals fit well enough. The sound department is where things fall a little flat, however. There seems to be only one single piece of background music, which sounds nice enough at first, but may drive you mad after awhile. The characters were also given gibberish sound bites as voice acting, and some characters like Sarge from the war story have the most bizarre, annoying voices I think I’ve ever heard. The sound isn’t enough to really hurt the game, but it sure could have been a little more substantial.

I am a bit conflicted when giving a grade to this game. On the one hand, it is probably one of the only real strategy games available on Xbox Live Arcade, and for ten dollars, you get a whole lot of content. On top of that, [i]Kaloki[/i] does offer up some fun, challenging game play that gets you thinking. However, the game can get so repetitive that you might not really want to play through all the things [i]Kaloki[/i] offers, and it is definitely a game that either grabs you or it doesn’t. I suggest firing up the demo and looking at what [i]Outpost Kaloki X[/i] has to offer, and if you like what you see, take the plunge. Just keep in mind that if you like the first couple levels the demo presents, you might still grow tired of things in the long run.

Score: 2/5

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