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Review: Gratuitous Space Battles

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If you’re like me, you sometimes end up pondering difficult questions in the pub like: why aren’t there enough space games where giant starship fleets get to pound the crap out of each other with futuristic weaponry? Fortunately, Cliff "Cliffski" Harris telepathically heard our cries and created Gratuitous Space Battles.

The premise of Gratuitous Space Battles is simple: build yourself a fleet, give each ship some commands and send them off to fight another AI fleet or a player-designed fleets (what Cliffski calls a “massively-singleplayer” feature).

I must admit I’ve not played the Linux version, but the original did have some gripes, which after all this time are likely to have been resolved. The main one being unless you were born with latent RTS galactic general skills, fleets battles were, initially, less like fighting and more like a slow deconstruction of your fleet into tiny, tiny bits, albeit accompanied by tasteful pyrotechnics and swelling orchestral music. This was still enjoyable it its way, in fact it was pretty satisfying in a masochistic fashion, but it did highlight that the game’s tutorials needed to be more comprehensive for the bewildered newcomer.

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