Single player, sci-fi, minimalist Real Time Tactics game similar to battle management software used in the science fiction genre.
Strategy without the stress: complex movement, damage, and detection replaces intense micro and economy management. Units are selected and outfitted before going into battle with very limited reinforcement. Played over large scales to slow the pace down to give you time to react.
Every unit lost limits your options, but every enemy destroyed limits theirs. Plan ambushes and tactical manoeuvres to defeat forces larger than your own through well thought out choices instead of mechanical skill. Unlock more equipment to give your units diverse strategic and tactical options, or to specialise them for a given role. Inspired by the RTS, squad based tactics, and turn based tactics genres, this game focuses on the strategic and tactical choices that turn the tide of battle, while limiting the effectiveness of and need for micromanaging units.
Accuracy and Damage
By fighting on a large spatial scale, movement is slow, weapons have difficulty aiming, and bullet drop decreases damage, slowing down the pace of combat and increasing the Time-To-Kill. These three factors have complex systems which mean the size, speed, and distance to a target make it harder to hit, while the speed and accuracy of your own units affect their ability to hit a target. This affects not only whether they hit or miss, but how long it takes them to aim, and whether or not their weapon turrets can even turn fast enough to acquire the target.
This makes fighters harder to hit, close range units devastatingly powerful, and snipers deadly accurate.
There are four different movement types, giving units more variety than simply being slow or fast. Most units accelerate slowly, and bigger units accelerate even slower, which makes positioning important as changing positions takes time. Acceleration applies to both translation and rotation, allowing you to catch a battleship in its blind spot to deal damage to it before it can rotate to attack back. A fast unit might not have time to dodge an area attack if caught stationary, or it might take too long to change direction, while a slower, more agile unit might be better equipped to evade. Deceleration means that heavier units cannot simply stop at once, further impacting decisions based on range and area.
With high health pools and bullet drop, units take a long time to be killed. This means you’re less likely to lose entire squads due to poor reaction time or forgetting about them in a mess of multitasking. It also gives you more time to decide to reposition them, give them cover, or change their abilities, state, or orders if you see the fight is not in your favour.
Health does not regenerate and healing is very rare and very slow. This means you cannot recklessly attack the enemy and fully recover from your lack of attention. Every point of health lost is a strategic consideration until that unit is destroyed, and when that unit is finally destroyed it (usually) cannot be replaced. Your force going into the fight is all you have, so careful unit selection and equipment is key to surviving. This changes the way the battle is fought, as every hit you deal to the enemy is a point in your favour, as is theirs.
Before most missions, players select which unit types and how many of each unit to use, and place them in a starting formation and direction. Unit weapons and armour can be selected for a given role such as anti-aircraft/anti-building/anti-ship, or to use a specific weapon type (laser/firearm/plasma/shell/etc.). Weapons are usually multipurpose and can serve multiple roles for flexibility while offering specific advantages as well.
More importantly, units can be fitted with special equipment: the Ambush equipment keeps a unit hidden until it moves or attacks enough for an enemy to detect them, the PAV propels units quickly to a designated location as long as it has fuel, the SL shield gives units a non-rechargeable shield to survive longer, and the beam rifle gives a unit a long range, high damage attack with slow reload. Equipment is limited so units must be carefully selected for their use.
- 10 aircraft
- 10 destroyers
- 10 player buildings
- 11 battlecruisers
- 2 enemy factions
- 40 enemy units
- 12 story missions
- 10 aircraft-only scenarios
- 4 ship-only battle modes
- permadeath mode
- Simulation mode for custom scenarios with any units
- Tutorials for everything from RTS basics to the complex mechanics of S:BMS
ABMS: Rogue Mode
Play as a different faction with a completely different menu and renamed units as you pick your battles on the world map. Every unit lost is a permanent death, and if your capital ship goes down, so does the captain. OK, to be honest I’m not a huge fan of permadeath, but I thought it made a lot of sense to add this mode.
Enjoy immersive menus themed as a futuristic military operating system, with a high degree of customisation and as many graphics options as I could fit in. Sorry, no FoV slider. Change background colours and images, change image and unit art styles, lower or increase the amount of alerts that can be shown at any one time, lower or raise the volume of different types of sound or even individual sound files if you find them annoying. Make the menus lemon yellow, go crazy.
Rebind most ability, unit order, menu navigation, and options keys to whatever you like. Almost whatever you like. Enjoy a clear visual to show you which keys do what.
Windows 10 is currently showing a black screen when starting the game. To fix this, press [Alt]+[Enter] to switch the game to windowed mode. You can then change the resolution in the Settings menu. This is considered a major bug and is the current priority to fix before release.
Other versions of Windows may show a white screen upon starting up if you tabbed out of the game during the initial loading process. If this happens, simply tab outt and back in. This may be required to be done twice. Using windowed mode does fix this issue. This is considered a low priority bug.
Save files may be corrupted upon new versions of the game releasing. There are two ways to fix this: use hotkey remapping in the Settings menu to fix keys changing, or editing the save file and options file. These are both located in the following folder:
If ships that you select are constantly trying to make you cast the missiles abiliity, it’s probably because the hotkey has broken. Go to the Settings menu to change any abilities that don’t have a hotkey.