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Space Cats: Tactics combines a few of my favorite things like Space, Tactical RPGS, in depth systems, and of course, Cats. A lovely little game focused on the adventures of Captain Mitzi and his crew as they explore the depths of space while taking on dangerous missions as a mercenary attempting to steal a government ship. Things can get heated in the midst of combat and it is up to you to help guide the good Captain and his crew safely to the otherside.
Our main character is Captain Mitzi, a mercenary who was hired to smuggle the ship, Curiosity, across the galaxy. There is one thing that you’ll notice right away is that the game is full of cat puns right from the start. If there is a play on words that you can think of, there is a good chance that it is here but that is to be expected from a game focused on Cats as the main character.
The cats were bred as war machines by humans but soon wanted to experience freedom of their own. After waging a war for themselves, the Cats were able to get their freedom but are now feared across the galaxy due to turning on those that created them. This is a typical sci-fi story and while it doesn’t go any deeper than that, it is nice to not have to memorize a plethora of made up terminology to keep up with things going on. Mitzi is as cocky as can be and this shows in every interaction he has with his crew and others but sadly that is about all there is for his character. In fact, most of the cast is full of one dimensional characters that don’t step out of their bland personality traits. This is rather disappointing since the cast is pretty small so they will wear out their welcome fast. Thankfully the gameplay is strong enough to make up for some of these shortcomings.
You are tasked with controlling the ship and navigating through dangerous territory as you try to smuggle the ship out safely. Taking place on a grid based map, you will use action points to maneuver the ship across the map as well as engage in combat with other ships. You are able to utilize the cannons on board the Curiosity to blast asteroids and recover resources to help keep the ship running.
Things get interesting when combat begins since the ship doesn’t automatically take an offensive stance. With the ability to zoom in and check out the interior of the ship, you are responsible for placing units in the right portions of the ship to get things moving. Want to use the guns on the ship? Better make sure you have a crew mate there. Got some cool cargo or need to refill on health before the end gets here? Now you have to move one of your crewmates from their position over to the cargo hold to make this happen. The importance of placing crewmembers in the right place is seen from the very beginning and mismanaging your crew can lead to an untimely end. There are even moments where fires may break out inside the ship, causing you to take damage over time. Since this can put a dent in your plans and might make escaping the enemy harder than it needs to be, it is important to know when it’s time to switch things up.
While the game features a lengthy tutorial to get you into the game, there are some things that just come off as unclear and need better explanation. For example, I had a fire in my ship and I moved both of my crewmembers to the room to combat it. The animation showed them putting out the fire but there was no communication on how long it would take for the fire to be put out. I eventually had to redo the encounter simply due to my ship exploding from damage that I had no idea on how to fix. While this happened earlier in the game and is remedied once I can afford to have crew members dedicated to these tasks, this was a frustrating way to begin my journey with the team.
This is a generic space adventure with very basic features that may capture some while others struggle to get past the intro. With a few minor performance issues and some questionable design decisions, this is a simple game that is okay to pass the time with. Personally, I wish the characters had a bit more depth to them or even stepped outside of the stereotypical roles that they fill but the gameplay is okay enough to make up for that. For those who enjoy games like XCOM, I think you have a pur-fictly okay time with Mitzi and the crew.