Flotilla is the latest game from Brendon Chung, the creator of Gravity Bone. It's a simultaneous-turn-based strategy game set in space, where you take your handful of ships and fight tactical battles against things like tattoed chicken space pirates or crocodiles suffering from space madness, and win the occasional “best karaoke singer in the universe” award. There are several of you I know right now who are already downloading the demo.
For the rest of you, let me explain what I mean by simultaneous-turn-based. The gameplay lets you issue orders every 30 seconds and then lets you watch the results play out in real-time. Your comptuer opponent is doing the same, only changing his orders every 30 seconds. It's as if Homeworld only involved 2 ships and only let you set orders 30 seconds at a time. You usually handle only a few ships and are constantly trying to maneuver behind or beneath your enemy's armor, because hits to those weak points do massive amounts of damage. Since you can arbitrarily rotate your ship in any direction in space, this is trickier than you might imagine.
To add variety to the game, there's also some rogue-like elements. The universe is randomly generated with good and negative encounters on each planet. You start your adventure at the “Tutorial” system, which then allows you to fly off into adventures unknown. Each time you accomplish something, it adds a chapter to the story about your character. When you finally die, you click “Start Adventure” again and start the next adventure. I'm not sure what happens when you win instead of dying—primarily because I seem to really be pretty terrible at this game; I usually die 2-3 planets in.
There's also a co-op mode with an attached Xbox 360 gamepad. (At some point in the future, this game will also be coming to Xbox 360 Indie Games as well.) There's a skirmish mode against human opponents or bots that I haven't tried out yet either—the game just came out this week, so I haven't roped anybody else into multiplayer yet. (Hint, hint, goodjers!)
Each encounter (if you're successful) also rewards you with ship upgrades, which allow you to customize your fleet with improvements like increased firing speed or heavier rear and back armor. The randomized universe with ship customization gives endless opportunities to replay a new game every time.
The art style is whimsical and frequently hilarious—it never fails to put a smile on my face when I head to a random planet and end up staring down cats piloting a spaceship. The planets and ships in combat are fairly simple and abstract, but pretty—this is from the creator of Gravity Bone after all. The music gives a very 2001 vibe, with classical style and an emphasis of the grace and beauty of space combat. A turn-based game with classical music and beautiful scenery, what more could you want out of the art and music?
Why You Should Check This Out: Flotilla is an addictive simultaneous-turn-based spaceship-battle strategy game with a quirky sense of humor and some great art. The battles become pitched and intense, while still maintaining that turn-based sensibility. Ships frozen in air just before a missile barrage can leave you far more tense than any real-time clickfest. Combined with a randomized universe and rogue-like elements, the game is an endless universe of exhilarating, varied space battles.
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