Day 26: Flotilla

Posted: 2010/12/05 in Indie Games
Tags: , ,

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #26, and today’s game is “Flotilla”.

Flotilla is perhaps the game for everyone who ever wanted to play Eve Online, but couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get past the steep learning curve. Or perhaps it’s for turn-based strategy fans who like the challenge of both sides playing their turns simultaneously. Perhaps Flotilla is for people (like myself) who grew up on a steady diet of space opera and who enjoyed the capital ship combat in shows like Babylon 5 and the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. More likely it’s for all of the above.

In Flotilla you lead your fleet against another in turn-based combat. Both sides choose orders, and then those orders are carried out in 30 seconds of real time order resolution. You have to anticipate enemy movement, while considering the weak spots of both your ships and theirs, trying to hide yours while flanking the enemy to expose those parts of their hulls where the armour is weakest. In a nod to 2001: A Space Oddyssey, and more strikingly matching the feel of combat in the Japanese animation “Legend of Galactic Heroes”, classical music plays during combat giving it an otherworldly feel.

Navigating each battlefield is initially a bit confusing, but I found I quickly got the hang of it. Better still, each battlefield has asteroids, space stations, and other things that give you a common reference point when spinning your view around the fully 3D map, and can be tactically useful if properly exploited. You select which direction you’re traveling in 3D space, what enemy you’re facing, and what enemy you’re shooting at, all in the hopes of hitting the underside or rear of their ships while keeping the front and top of your ship taking the brunt of incoming attacks.

The game is open-ended, and the encounters offered to you are randomly generated, yet begin with ethical an ethical question that actually (and quite significantly) affects the shape of each upcoming conflict. This game offers something truly unique that I don’t recall ever playing before, and does so for 400 Microsoft Points.

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Comments
  1. rfriaz says:

    I’m curious, Steven, what’s your methodology for purchasing an indie game? Or have you already purchased a sizable amount, from which you’ve been posting reviews of the standouts?

    • As I say in every post, that is the game I’m purchasing that very day. So no, I have no backlog of purchased games. If you go back to the oldest posts, there are several “recap” posts that detailed all the indie games I had purchased before I began this project. But it’s been one game a day purchased, no more and no less, ever since.

      As for my methodology, I’m looking for games that represent good quality and that are either not represented on the Indie Games channel on the dashboard (in the various top 50 lists), or at the very least not well represented. Genre doesn’t matter, merely quality and profile. That’s why lots of them have been from 2008 and 2009 so far, with only a few from 2010: I’m looking for the lost gems.

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