How many of you have played tug of war? You know, giant rope, two teams on either side, and a big mud pit in the middle? “Aeon Command” is similar, except that it’s in space and there is no mud pit. Rather, two players are given a mothership and will be throwing ships at each other with the intent on blowing their opponent’s mothership to kingdom come. Before we get into specifics, I’d like to thank Danny Stracener from Bat Country Games for providing me with a free review copy.
The main menu will allow you to learn the game via a tutorial, participate in the campaign, play a skirmish against the AI or another human being via multiplayer, adjust game options, and upgrade your fleet. The game options are simple and cover your basics: sound / music sliders, screen resolution, and fullscreen toggle. There doesn’t seem to be an option to host a game in the multiplayer menu, only an option to find one. This is kind of a letdown because I would have liked to have had control over who I played, especially since the kids and I sometimes partake in multiplayer using two different accounts.
As you play the game, whether it be the campaign or a skirmish, you’ll earn something called parts. You’ll be able to spend these parts via the upgrades button on the main menu. Think of these upgrades as profile-wide improvements that stick with you from game to game. The game features three different factions, so you’ll be able to buy improvements for all three factions as well as throw parts into a generalized category that affects them all. It’s a great way to encourage players to come back for more.
The tutorial is a good way to get your feet wet and will cover the basics. To sum things up, the battleground is one large, football field in space. Each player will have a mothership on either end along with some asteroids that can be mined for minerals, which can be used to buy ships and research in-game upgrades. The ships that you can buy are non-controllable, but will automatically make their way across the battlefield and attack anything they come into contact with. Along with minerals, you’ll be able to collect energy to use special abilities and collect parts, which can be used to upgrade your fleet as mentioned earlier.
The campaign starts you off with the Alliance faction and is mainly there to introduce you to all of the ships and in-game research, one mission at a time. You’ll start out with only the basic ships in the first few missions but will eventually learn how to manage an entire fleet while upgrading them and using special abilities to give you an edge. Unlike DOTA and League of Legends, there is no hero and there are no towers. Still, you’ll have your hands full trying to keep ahead of your opponent and prevent him or her from outproducing you.
What I find interesting is that each faction has its own set of ships and abilities, which helps to keep things from becoming more of the same. Strategies that I might employ as the Alliance against the Exiles might not work against the Cyborgs and vice versa. The great thing about the profile upgrade system is that you can play skirmish matches against the AI on easy, win, and buff up whichever faction you happen to like. This can be beneficial if you choose upgrades during your campaign that you don’t find useful…simply play skirmish for a while and get your faction where you want them before continuing the campaign.
In-game research is different than the fleet upgrades that you buy with parts. Research upgrades improve upon your fleet for that match only, allowing you to unlock new ships and improve ones already unlocked. Researching these upgrades costs minerals, which can take away from your ship building. Players will have to carefully manage the two aspects of gameplay to find a balance best suited to them and their situation.
For as simple as the game mechanics are, there’s still quite about to think about. For example, will you harass your opponent by throwing steady streams of ships at him, or will you hoard your minerals and make one giant push? Will you spend your energy on defensive abilities or offensive abilities? In what order will you send your ships out and will you opt to upgrade a few ship classes and solely rely on them? Will you focus on ship building or hold off on building ships to get your in-game research going? There’s a number of different factors that come into play and since there is no fog of war, you can easily see what your opponent is doing and react accordingly. While this takes away from the mystery factor, it allows you to combat a particular offensive rush with an appropriate selection of ships.
Overall, “Aeon Command” is a surprisingly in-depth strategy game despite it being easy to play. I found myself playing match after match, just so I could throw points into my fleet upgrades to see how much of a difference it makes. Being simple to play will allow it to appeal to gamers of all ages and matches don’t take that long to see through…the longest I played was about ten minutes long. The game is going for about $7.99 and has a free demo, so I recommend that you give the latter a shot to see if it’s your cup of tea.
Final Verdict: 8/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Aeon Command” by visiting the official website, here:
You can help bring it to Steam by voting for it on its Greenlight page, located here:
You can view play sessions here: