Starfront Collision HD

A review I wrote of the video game Starfront Collision HD for the website

They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. This is something that, if you were take StarFront: Collision HD and slice it in two, you would find etched upon it’s very DNA. Is this a bad thing? That’s hard to tell.

StarFront is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game for the iPad that takes place in the far flung future. You take control of one of three armies battling over fancy energy sources on an alien planet. There is the human army, an technology based alien race and an insect type alien race. You collect the resources scattered around the map, build up your base, create an army then go out and blow up the nearest people that answer to the name “enemy”.

It’s Starcraft. It is. It’s not even worth trying to skim around it, it is Starcraft from the muscle bound human marines to the Zerg like aliens. It’s Starcraft.

Getting that out of the way, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The iPad makes for a good platform for RTS games, from tapping units to select them, using two fingers to create a rectangle to select groups and the handy mini map you can use to move quickly around the maps. It’s all pretty intuitive but does become unravelled in places. You do miss the accuracy of a mouse pointer when trying to select that one special unit. Zooming out doesn’t go out quite as far as you would want it to and there are some niggles with the hot keys dotted all over the screen.

It does looks pretty nice though, especially when you get a decent sized army together with some vehicles and you send them out to deliver some hot laser death. There is some nice variation between the units and the voice acting isn’t too horrific for a change.

The main issue is with the AI of the enemy and your own units. Whilst there is some depth to the tactics and to laying defences to protect your base, the battles to tend to end up with throwing lots of units at the enemy which isn’t helped by the poor path finding of the units. This reviewer lost one of the tutorial levels several times because the unit that needed to survive to the end couldn’t figure out how to walk around one of their own gun emplacements and quickly suffered death by alien claw.

The single player mode gives you a story based Campaign mode for each army and a skirmish mode for when you just want to blow things up. There’s a decent amount of game there as the three races show a fair bit of variation. You also get some decent multiplayer modes including online play.

The only problem is that StarFront has no where near the polish of it’s inspiration and if you’ve played Starcraft then there isn’t much for you here. What is here, is probably the closest you’ll ever get to playing Starcraft on an iPad. Depending on how excited that sentence makes you pretty much tells you if you should pick StarFront up.

Three stars out of five

Originally published June 16th 2011

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