The Last Federation
Arcen Games has a habit of coming up with off-the-wall ideas that make me consider video games in a different light, “The Last Federation” being no exception. It’s somewhat like a 4x game, but you won’t have your own race and your own planets to maintain. Instead, you are the last remnants of a race gone nearly extinct. You’ll be jumping from planet to planet interacting with the other races in the universe, trying to curry their favor in order to make them part of a “Federation”. Uniting the races under this Federation, being the primary goal, is a lot harder than it sounds. Before I go any further, I’d like to quickly thank Erik Johnson from Arcen Games for providing me with a free press copy.
The main menu will allow the user to create a quick game (recommended for new players), create an advanced game (with more customization options), and adjust game options. The options menu covers screen resolution, fullscreen toggles, audio volumes, and other major graphical toggles like vsync. I was overall pleased with how everything was presented, though the menu text/buttons could admittedly be made to be a bit flashier so that they didn’t blend in with everything else. The quick game, as mentioned above, is where you’ll want to start and even provides you with a tutorial of sorts to help get you started. I’m not going to lie, there’s a LOT of reading and the learning curve is a bit steep. This is one game you won’t want to (or shouldn’t) rush through.
The game consists of two main screens: a combat map and a galaxy map of sorts. When you’re in the latter, you’ll be moving from planet to planet interacting with the race currently occupying it. You can embark on friendly missions to boost their economy, military, technology, and etc., or you can opt to turn hostile and ruin their day. Attacking their fleet outright will earn you some credits, while doing some behind the scenes stuff might yield technology for your to steal or provide you with the chance to mess up their infrastructure. You see, each race has its own set of “numbers”…that is, how well it’s doing as a whole. These numbers go up and down depending on a number of factors and honestly, this is where the game can be a bit on the complex side. Trying to figure out how all of these numbers tied together and interacted with other races gave me a bit of a headache. All of this happens in real-time, by the way, and can be sped up or slowed down at your leisure.
The combat map shows up when you’re on a mission or just plain fighting someone else. If you agreed to help a race eliminate a pirate base, you’ll often team up with said race’s fleet to take it out. If you’re stealing tech, you might have to bring your ship within range of another for so many turns and etc. Everything here is turn-based, beginning with a movement action and then a combat action before time actually passes. What I really liked was the flexibility I had with how my ship performed…I could distribute power away from the engines, for example, to increase my shield and weapon systems. I could pick a particular weapon to fire and I could either let the computer autofire it or choose my own targets. It’s very deep and very strategic and as a fan of the “Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game“, I felt right at home issuing orders and watching the resulting fireworks.
This, in a nutshell, is “The Last Federation”. With your little but powerful ship, you’ll be able to influence the development of the races around you. It sounds familiar, especially if you’ve played 4x games before…but honestly, there’s not a lot of games out there similar to this one. Okay, I lied…I can think of a few, but they are all in-house. It’s almost like Arcen Games drew ideas from all of their games and mashed it together into one epic masterpiece. The idea of you being the last remnants of your kind? “AI War“. The idea of being a sculptor and shaping the civilizations around you? “Skyward Collapse“. The beautiful menu and in-game music? “A Valley Without Wind 2“. So while I’ve played 4x games before, this particular one threw me for a loop in ways I didn’t expect.
Do I recommend it? In short, yes. While I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the “numbers” behind the scenes (I’m still learning the game’s ins and outs), gameplay was smooth and rewarding. The nice thing about “The Last Federation” is that you don’t need to fully understand the numbers to play the game…the game’s features can be learned while you play. Granted, your chances of winning increase as you learn more about the math, but you can still influence races and shoot things down without it. Overall, “The Last Federation” is an exceptional game and quite possibly the best one Arcen Games has released to date. There’s a lot here for twenty bucks and I highly recommend that you at least go check it out.
Final Verdict: 9/10