Anyone who’s ever been a fan of turn-based tactics is sure to get a kick out of Spaceland! Whilst it might not be on level as some other turn-based tactical games that are out there, it would be silly to miss out on the opportunity to add this fine addition to your roster.
Whilst I had not played Braveland, Tortuga Team’s previous title, I’m very likely to go back and check out what else they have to offer. Not to mention, that there are new updates and more content coming to Spaceland too. But be warned — Spaceland is still no game to take lightly. Just because it might not have the depth and complexity that maybe a game like X-COM has, that does not mean it can’t be a challenge at times.
For a start, Spaceland is undoubtedly a turn-based tactical shooter. But, in a weird and challenging way, it can feel a bit like a puzzle game. On each level you go through, you will either have characters that you must use — or perhaps be able to choose one or two specifically — and you will have a set list of objectives for that level. These objectives may include; finding objects for research purposes, beating the level within a certain amount of turns, keeping all your troops alive, and the essential level objectives that can all differ. Taking your time and finding objects for research can be easy enough but keeping your soldiers alive as you explore the area you are in can be troublesome. The hardest objective out of them for me personally, was timing. Making it across a map with constantly spawning enemies, whilst completing the absolutely necessary objectives can be a bit of a nightmare, and I frequently found myself starting levels over and over, finding perhaps a pattern or strategy that I could use to get through with minimal injuries, and 100% success.
However, this isn’t to say you can’t just try and go through as many levels as you can and come back later on to try again, when you have better gear or abilities. Also, you can go through the level with the sole intent on gathering the research objectives, and then going through again purely to get through as fast as you can, and the progress of the other objectives have already been achieved. Just make sure you can get through in one piece still with your soldiers intact!
As you progress throughout Spaceland you will find old caches of weapons to do up, or specific characters will gain new abilities. Upgrading is simple; either use coins that you gain from successful missions to buy new gear or use chips to upgrade your troops abilities. It’s much easier to buy and create new equipment as opposed to upgrade abilities, since you can always go back and replay levels to get more money, but to get more chips, you will need to make sure you are completing those mission objectives. And as the story progresses, you will find yourself needing to upgrade characters in order to meet the increasingly difficult levels and their requirements.
I really enjoy the combat in Spaceland. It’s easy to learn, and hard to master, as it should be. Each character has specific weapons and abilities that can alter the battlefield in a single turn. There are seven different characters overall and using a different combination when the level calls for it can lead to some interesting encounters, some being fruitful, and others being an agonizing mess that might leave you wanting to bash your keyboard. But don’t lose hope, just try again and see if anything other mixtures of characters work more to your advantage. The quick-paced combat means you aren’t stood around waiting too long anyway, but since you can’t save in the middle of a firefight, be cautious that you may have to restart the level.
But what happens when you complete Spaceland? Well, I’m not quite there yet myself, but I can see the ending in sight. But even once I finally push through to the end, that isn’t truly going to be the end. Tortuga Team have a few little surprises in store for Spaceland to let us scratch that turn-based itch. For a start, the version of Spaceland that I’ve been playing is an extended storyline featuring extra missions, and a new character for your roster. But Tortuga Team have planned more free content to roll out over the coming months, including online duelling against other players, an alternative ending for the game, more side missions, and a level editor are all on the horizon, with the promise of even more to come. And what better to do after you finish the game than to do some good old achievement hunting? Whilst I’m not much of an achievement hunter myself, all the ones in Spaceland seem doable, given that you have some perseverance, patience and strategic thinking.
Generally, I love Spaceland. I’ve had my eye on it for some time, and it’s been a real pleasure to play and review it. I love the artstyle, the mechanics, gameplay, and practically everything about it. With Tortuga Team already working hard to release more free content, you can bet I’ll be there for it when it comes out. This little gem of a turn-based strategy game should not be overlooked or missed, because it’s a little beauty. I look forward to seeing and playing more. Just one more turn…
You can find Spaceland on Nintendo Switch and PC.