For all I know, Sid Meier's Starships is a fantastic iPad game (and yes, it's also available on iPad). But I don't know, because I've been playing it on PC, where it kinda sucks.

It's funny how playing the same game on two systems can completely change your experience. On iPad, a game like this probably seems deep, complex, something with some meat on its bones you can chew on while you wait for a bus. On PC, though, the home of Master of Orion and Alpha Centauri and Homeworld, it feels wafer-thin. Here, take a look.

The game is split into two parts: a strategic overlay where you expand your empire, move your fleet and engage in stuff like diplomacy and research, and a 2D tactical map whenever your fleet is engaged in battle. Imagine FTL-meets-Civilization-meets-XCOM. Only not as good as any of those games.


Both parts feel under-cooked. The strategic map gives you very little to actually do, while the combat is bizarrely based on the principles of 2D cover, even though it's a game set in deep space. You'll quickly master the basic diplomacy and build options in the former, and the latter's repetitive battle strategies get boring pretty quickly.