Halcyon 6, one of the first Kickstarter projects I’ve backed, is now available on Steam as an Early Access title.
The last few years have seen a number of indie games along the same vein – Star Trek spoofs with ship and crew management and quirky dialogue and/or story elements. How they’ve executed this theme in terms of genre and gameplay has varied, and thus far none of them have been wild successes.
So far Halcyon 6 seems to be on track for a knockout. The graphics are retro but very polished, and the gameplay is varied and interesting from what I’ve seen.
Combat in particular is interestingly implemented. Space battles play out like a turn-based RPG. You put together a fleet (party) of up to 3 ships from 3 different classes: tactical, science, and engineering (corresponding roughly with dps, healing, and tank). Ships can be upgraded and gain elite crewmen over time. Each ship is assigned a commanding officer (who level up and gain various perks and abilities), which further affects that vessel’s stats and available abilities.
One interesting mechanic is that certain attacks can inflict statuses, like “sensors offline” or “hull breach.” These status effects apply timed debuffs. Additionally, there attacks that exploit certain status effects. In the screencap above, you can see that the science vessel’s Incisor Beam exploits the “vulnerable” debuff. If used, the attack will deal extra damage (something like 150-200%) and expend the debuff. Sometimes you’ll want that extra damage, but sometimes you’ll want to keep the debuff applied on your enemy for as long as possible, adding a strategic element to combat.
Thus far the flavor of the game is a little kooky, blending a serious plot hook with humorous undertones and interactions (and music) that for me are evocative of Star Command 2. My initial impression is that Halcyon 6 isn’t as dark and foreboding as SC2, but we’ll see.
There are also ship-building elements to the game, a tech tree, and X-COM-style base building and management. I haven’t delved very deeply into it all yet, but there also appears to be crew combat (as opposed to space combat).
At the moment, Act 1 seems to be complete and playable, of 3 total planned Acts. What they’ve done so far is promising, and if it looks and sounds like something up your alley, I’d say it’s definitely worth a closer look.