Solar Struggle is an Indie Arcade Action Space-shooter, previously released on the Xbox Live Arcade Indie Games, by Z-Software. The game world is 3-dimensional however the action and playability is within a predominantly 2-dimensional plane, aimed at ease of control. The game is set in the year 2169, following a series of dramatic economic events routing from the reduction is government space exploration budgets in 2016. This led to a growth in private companies taking up the helm of this, most specifically in the game, the Consortium.
The Consortium’s interests lie heavily with the mining industry, but the company faces heavy competition from individuals such as pirates who seek their own wealth. With the distance factor between planets, military control is minimal, and therefore security becomes a problem for the company itself, which is where the main story of the game flows from.
The game is concise but does offer various play options to the player. There is an 11 mission storyline which can be followed, which relates to the background story of the game. Alternatively, the player may participate in a skirmish mode for a more casual, or indeed challenging, experience. There are 9 unlockable craft available for the skirmish mode, allowing for varied gameplay each time. The mode works around battling waves of enemy ships as quickly as possible. There are upgrades available in the skirmish which can be purchased from money earned by destroying enemy craft. These can improve various parts of your craft, including weapons and drive systems. The only problem with this is that it is not always entirely clear what the upgrades have done, but they are present for anyone who can better understand.
The playability in both modes is within a 2-dimensional plane, but in a 3- dimensional setting. The aim of these was to make the game easier to control, however some players may find this experience somewhat perplexing and actually more difficult than a 3-dimensional navigation may have been. The controls themselves are relatively easy to pick up, however it is not made entirely obvious in-game what all of the controls are. Furthermore, even when you have figured out what does what, it is still very difficult to actually control anything. This was suggested to be the main issue with the Xbox version of the game and there were various reviews written which cried out for an improvement in the PC version of the game. Unfortunately these would appear to have been missed, ignored, or a failure to make the said improvements has occurred.
The visual impact of the game is very good. Indie games have clearly come a long way over time to reach graphical level like these. Although the playability is not the easiest or the best of its kind, at least you have something pretty to look at. For a simple game, the high-definition design of space which you are provided with is of a great quality. Always a bonus, it is obvious what is what in the world around you, so no getting confused about if that is a ship or a rock you are looking at here. The sounds also compliment this, with clear voice-overs and fitting effects for the combat situations between spacecraft. These elements complement each other well, but unfortunately do not entirely make up for the overall gameplay experience, which the game seems to be somewhat lacking.
For a fan of indie games this may be up the right sort of street, but equally a big disappointment. There is nothing wrong with the idea and story of the game, and the missions have a heavy potential for excitement. The main issue with the game, and one to be fully aware of before you commit to it, is that the controls are difficult to learn and use, which may well bring down your overall experience. There may be a fix to this in the future, but given that there were similar issues with the Xbox release this may be unlikely. Other than this issue the game is a pretty well done little space shooter with good quality graphics and sounds, but this being a very core issue lets the game as a whole down. If you feel the issue would not be a problem to you then by all means give the game a go as it has lots of potential, but in general it may sadly be one to think twice about.
Exciting storyline and actively engaging missions, but poor control setup.
Good quality graphics for a small indie game, relatively impressive.
Fitting sound effects and understandable voices are a strong point.
A good idea for a game but one which is unfortunately ruined by a large issue in terms of controls, which brings down the whole experience.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.