Spacebase Startopia - Keep your aliens happy

Spiritual sequel or reboot of Startopia from Eidos in 2001.

I hope they keep the cat plague.

Have they got the original Startopia mark? Who owns that these days?

Startopia is easily one of my top 5 favorite games of all time, so I’ll be watching this, but the screenshots and teaser trailer on the Steam page are not encouraging. Every shot just looked so busy, really too many colors and it was hard to tell what was even going on. However, most of those screenshots were taken from floor level, and honestly, you almost never played Startopia from that perspective, so I’ll reserve judgement until I can see some proper gameplay footage.

The yapping robot in the teaser was kind of groanworthy, and the humor seemed a bit forced… nothing like the marvelous Hitchhikers Guide style humor the original provided. And the music… oh please let the music be amazing.

So yeah… my first thought was “New Startopia, YES!” and my second was, “Uh… oh no” but my third is “We’ll see what happens…”

That trailer wasn’t actually very funny.

It’s the devs behind Dungeons apparently. I haven’t played any of the Dungeon Keeper clones so I’ve no idea if that’s good or bad. I’d rather a Two Point Starport game really. It would at least be more authentic a reboot.

War for the Overworld is perfect. Which reminds me I should boot that up sometime.

I liked Dungeons 2 until I realized I would be bouncing back and forth between two RTS screens. Then I didn’t like it.

Pretty much.

This is why I stopped playing.

Yeah, thanks, but no thanks.

The Dungeons games aren’t offensively terrible, but the poor attempts at humour and schizophrenic gameplay make them decidedly mediocre titles. This (gameplay-free) trailer suggests the new Startopia will be similar, the more’s the pity.


I never played it, what made it so great?

Startopia was made by the guys who made Dungeon Keeper (I believe). As opposed to the negative-space based DK where you dug out rocks, attracted minions and controlled them mostly indirectly to do your bidding, here you built up a space station, attracted customers and a crew, and mostly just kept them happy. Each alien race enjoys different things, so to attract them, you need to build different stuff.

There were 3 decks you could switch between at all times, with the third deck being this sandbox-y neat-yet-underused element that felt like a better iteration of the land-raising and lowering from Populous. This third deck was the recreation deck, and was supposed to make the aliens relax and feel like they’re on their home planet.

It was a Bullfrog-like, with each mission having you recreate the things you did before and then do something specific, giving you a new mechanic along the way. The narrator was similar to the one from Dungeon Keeper, except less evil and more Douglas Adams. The whole game had a very strong Douglas Adams-dry-wit-ridiculous-out-of-context-things-in-space vibe.

Oh, and it turns out the spaceship is a donut, and you only get to unlock a few sections at a time. Towards the end of the campaign you fight it out against other factions and quickly realize that’s not the game’s strong suit.

To expand a little bit on what Bluddy said… it’s a colony management type game, only on a space station. Like many games of its type, you don’t control your visitors or residents directly (except in very limited circumstances) but do things and build things to keep them content. The three floors of the space station all have a very different purpose and a very different feel, especially the bio-deck, which served more of a purpose than just a place for aliens to hang out. Terraforming it to suit a specific species preferences was part of it, but also it allowed you to grow flora which could then be turned into resources…which was different according to what landscape you’d terraformed it to.

But more than anything, the game is simply a great pleasure to play, due to the superb writing (as noted, very Douglas Adams… you can tell immediately it was inspired by the Hitchhiker’s Guide) and excellent voice acting by the station assistant / narrator. And the music is top notch.

Honestly, this announcement made me fire up my copy of Startopia, and even though I’ve played through the missions dozens of times (it does also have sandbox mode), it’s still just as enjoyable as it was the first time I played, and every time since then.

It’s $5.99 on GoG… there’s no reason not to give it a go. :)