Moonbase Commander

9_1Dumb, cheap and surprisingly addictive.

From the minds behind Putt Putt, Pajama Sam, and Freddi Fish comes this turn-based strategy / puzzle game that’s a hodgepodge of resource-gathering, top-down missile command, and classic puzzle-solving. Humanity has finally sucked the planet dry, so we’ve devised an interplanetary resource-mining tool, the MoonBase probe. Toss in a few splinter megalomaniacs hell-bent on galactic domination, and bingo — instant plot!

The object is to eliminate your opponent’s main hub while protecting your own. You accomplish this with a base pool of energy, giving you access to everything from bombs and bridges (level one) to crawlers and shield generators (level three). You increase your energy by landing collectors on energy pools. That’s right: you actually launch your units. Sound funky? It is, but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun. The launch interface is a direct lift of the Links click-and-release swing-meter. Most units have a “cord†that secures them to their hub.

5_1No two cords can overlap, friendly or otherwise (as we learned in Ghostbusters, don’t cross the streams). Winning the game has as much to do with choreographing your cords as it does with bombing the tar out of your opponents. You can play in skirmish or challenge modes. Challenge mode runs you through the faction gauntlet at four missions each, starting with touchy-feely NiceCo and ending with the wizards behind the probe, Team Alpha. The AI’s a cakewalk on the lower levels but a grandmaster challenge at the top. LAN multiplayer is also available.

Yeah, it’s not the cutest kid on the block (it’s almost inexcusable that you can play only at 640×480), but after you get the hang of its control quirks, you’ll curse the clock and damn the sunrise, because MoonBase is pure budgetware dope.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95

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