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Starship Patrol is football management for the masses. The DSi-ware game's stripped down visuals and clockwork strategy scratch the same itch as many a soccer sim. As I later discovered these games to be called, tower defence doesn't get much better than this.
I remember playing Championship Manager a good ten years ago - and finding it incredibly addictive. But since then these games have become simply too complex for me. This combined with my waning knowledge of players and clubs to stop me playing.
While browsing through the DSi-Ware games - the DS's equivalent of Wii-Ware - for something my five year old could play I stumbled upon Starship Patrol (Starship Defence elsewhere). You may have heard of it talked about elsewhere as a tower defence game, but playing it I was struck how similar this is to the old football management titles.
Play is divided into two halves. First you purchase, equip and fine-tune your starship's defences, then you sit back and watch the attack wave unfold. You can tweak tactics a little in this second phase, but like those footy sims the real work needs to be done before you start playing.
You may have heard of it talked about elsewhere as a tower defence game, but playing it I was struck how similar this is to the old football management titles.
In terms of other tower defence games, Starship Patrol offers the usual fare of upgrade-able offensive and defensive weapons, along with ever more determined waves of enemy ships. This was simple enough for my boys to play without too much assistance for me.
The simple turn based nature of the preparation phase, combined with the simplistic visuals meant they could always tell what was going on. Although they've not yet been introduced to Star Wars yet, the whole game has that sort of feel. And on this count the music excels by adopting the orchestral themes that worked so well with the movies. Ship design also makes more than a cursory nod towards the battle cruisers and tie fighters.
I've been playing this for some time now and must admit I'm pretty hooked. While I'm excited to be feeding what was my 90's love of football strategy, the kids also seem to be hooked as well. There are enough carrots in the form of weapons and upgrades as there are sticks in the form of bigger meaner enemies.
I'm looking forward to trying out other DSi-Ware. If it's all as good as Starship Patrol I will be a happy GeekDad gamer.
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