Moonbase Commander

a game by Atari Co.
Platform: PC
Rating: 8/10

Turn based strategy games are often hit or miss as the different components can be difficult to balance. Often the game either requires little strategy, is too long, or isn't interesting. With that in mind, it seemed unlikely that Moonbase Commander would be worth the space on my hard drive as its low cost and obviously simple design are generally a bad combination for this genre. It was a pleasant surprise however to discover that although simple in design, it was challenging enough to require fairly significant strategy techniques but still simple enough for most kids to enjoy as well.

Moonbase Commander starts off with a hub (base) on a moon that is being claimed by a number of different factions. As you attempt to eliminate your competition, you'll have to claim energy resources and defend your hub and other structures from various attacks. Missiles, bombs, and viruses among other weapons will have to be defended against and used effectively to have any hope of survival. In addition, new structures are launched with a limited range from the hub and are attached to each other through a lifeline. Protection must be given to all parts of the chain, as destruction of a structure in the middle of the chain will result in the destruction of everything after it. The launch of the various structures also requires some calculating as well. Launched onto a ridge or on top of another structure will result in its destruction.

The low cost of the game becomes more evident in the graphics and audio. Although both function acceptably, neither is impressive. This genre doesn't generally require a fantastic performance from graphics or audio however and Moonbase Commander isn't any different. It's always nice to have high levels of detail or audio that brings the game to life, but as long as the gameplay is solid the low cost helps make its shortcomings tolerable.

Moonbase Commander is a solid turn based strategy game that is surprisingly well designed. Although its not going to be up for game of the year, there's enough included with this game to make it worth a try.

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