Starship Troopers Terran Command Review: Bug Squishing RTS Fun

A fun, bug-squishing RTS romp with a lot of potential.

Starship Troopers Terran Command is a Real-Time-Strategy (RTS) developed by The Aristocrats and released June 16, 2022. It is a single-player overhead strategy game where you take control of the Mobile Infantry on the bug-infested planet of Klandathu. It is the first Starship Troopers game since 2012’s Starship Troopers: Invasion “Mobile Infantry.”

Starship Troopers Terran Command Review

Starship Troopers Terran Command is a fun, albeit single-player, casual romp that plays more like a mobile tower defense game than an RTS. In it, you’re put in increasingly precarious scenarios and must kill waves of bugs.

Gameplay

Starship Troopers Terran Command is a competent single-player RTS. However, if you’re looking for the same turn-on-a-dime accuracy that you’d get in a game like Starcraft 2 or Warcraft 3, you’re not going to get it here. There are some pathing problems when issuing commands, and at times the squadron-style unit setup can feel clunky.

That being said, the gameplay feels smooth when walking the pre-determined path that the game puts you on. When positioned correctly in a funnel, it feels great mowing down wave after wave of enemies. Unlike some RTS games where you control a single unit, in Starship Troopers Terran Command, you control squadrons of units, much like Company of Heroes (COH). In Terran Command, positioning is your greatest tool, and if you can funnel your attacks, you can exponentially increase your squad’s killing efficiency. 

Starship Troopers Terran Command via Gamer Digest

Terran Command employs a simplistic building system. The gameplay mechanics for building amount to selecting a building type and pressing a button for a pre-destined location on the map. 

Terran Command and COH diverge, however, in a fundamental core mechanic. Terran Command swaps out the cover system in COH and replaces it with a line-of-sight system. This sometimes prevents units from shooting enemies if another unit blocks its line of sight, which more often than not results in a giant death ball. While innovative, it misses the mark in actually enhancing gameplay. Maybe this could work if you spent more of the game zoomed-in, but in reality you never do, and probably shouldn’t in an RTS.

Story, Sound, and Visuals

Based on 1997 film, Starship Troopers, Starship Troopers Terran Command follows the lives of the struggling Mobile Infantry on a foreign planet covered in bugs. The story is engaging and immersive and makes you feel like you are a part of the narrative. The cutaway scenes and art are great and carry the same bleak, over-the-top humor from the original movie. 

The sound design is also actually quite good. Characters have strong voice acting, and the in-game sound design puts you right there. Swelling orchestral music plays in the background and makes you feel like you’re struggling for your life against the swarm or that you’ve triumphed when completing a mission.

Visually, Starship Troopers Terran Command looks great for a game published by an indie developer. Death animations are varied, physics feel impactful, and the game generally looks pretty great–when not covered in bug scum, that is.

While the story doesn’t feel as impactful or lore-driven than other games in the genre, it does its best job, which actually fits the Starship Trooper Universe’s brand of seething anti-military satire. In a sense, the whole thing is somewhat nihilistic–you don’t even have a name. You’re just a faceless trooper against a never-ending threat on a planet that is as meaningless as the next one you’re shipped to. Bleak–but very in character.

An Honest Critique

The biggest critique of the game is what isn’t there. As an RTS, having no multi-player or alternative game mode limits the game’s longevity. Most players will finish the game once, never to pick it up again. Once you beat the story missions, what else is there to do other than to play them again on a harder difficulty? 

Because the building system is so simple, it can sometimes feel like you’re on rails. That isn’t great for an RTS game where creativity is usually a main pillar of gameplay. The lack of sandbox-type mode in the game makes it feel like a tower defense game rather than a full-fledged RTS.

As an RTS, having a single race to play feels underwhelming. Being able to play as the bugs would be a blast. There are built-in bug mechanics that would make playing as the bugs (placing nests and protecting colonies) an entertaining endeavor. 

Lastly, some aspects of the game make it feel under-developed. The lack of a full-screen windowed mode or ability to remap hotkeys may frustrate hardcore PC gamers. Awkward audio cues and a lack of customization in the menu screen make it feel less polished. 

Ultimately, Starship Troopers Terran Command is a fun, visually-engaging single-player experience you won’t regret spending the $30 on. What it lacks in polish, it makes up for with bug-squishing carnage, but don’t expect too deep of an experience in the gameplay.

Starship Troopers Terran Command

Garrett

Gameplay
Story
Visuals
Sound Design
Value
4.1

 

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