I just want to say that Halcyon 6 is probably one of the cleanest Early Access games I have ever played. This shiny Strategy RPG takes an X-Com type approach to Space command. This just might be the “Star Trek” game that we’ve all been looking for and it isn’t even finished yet.
The title revolves around the shattered Terran leadership that has just been overrun by a dangerous invading alien race. Long story short. Everyone else is dead except the Commander and their remaining crew members. The remaining Terrans find Halcyon 6, a Starbase at the fringe of Terran space with unknown ability. It’s basically the last refuge of power for the remaining humans and they have to protect it at all cost.
Halcyon 6 is similar to Babylon 5 or Deep Space Nine. Many gamers will think of it similarly to the base received in the XCOM games from 2K. Send an officer to clear an area and sanction it for a new research facility. Choose from various talent trees to reduce the cost of skills and improve base functions.
Halcyon 6 will act as a safe haven for crewmembers but it also must be protected from advancing alien attacks. As the Terran race expand in power, they will gain many an enemy along the way. Gaining both good and bad reputations depending on their behavior and conversations with other spacefarers.
Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander goes out of its way to create a living world filled with danger and exploration. Enemies are around every corner but so are friendly extra-terrestrials in need of help. There are a ton of random events that can happen as the days pass. From simple things like explosions on the ship that can kill crewmembers, or finding highly volatile feces that can be used as fuel.
The game isn’t a roguelike but that doesn’t mean that an encounter will play out as it did in the last playthrough. Each decision is randomized and it could either benefit the player or ruin their lives instead. In a small way, Halcyon 6 also takes a few cues from Oregon Trail.
The title leans heavily on comedy as its main story point. It has rare moments of seriousness during major storylines, but for the most part it creates a wacky set of alien lifeforms to interact with. The game prides itself on its zany nature and its obvious parody of familiar Sci-fi characters. It’s a welcome amount of fun to a genre filled with tough guy themes.
Let’s talk about the combat and the overall experience a bit. Surprisingly, the game uses traditional turn-based combat from most JRPG’s. It has a heavy emphasis on using vulnerabilities and exploits as its main means of combat.
This is a good thing because as the days pass the engagements with enemies will increase. The more days that pass the more frantic the state of the galaxy. It’s fine that the combat is simplistic because of the amount of enemies encountered.
Halcyon 6 is very much a sandbox game at heart. As Commander we will spend most of our time scouring nearby star systems for allies and resources. Not soon after we’ll spend a good chunk of our time defending those allies from many a dangerous foe. Our crew will level up from engaging the enemy and acquire new and devastating abilities in the process.
This is a title that uses a pixelated cartoonish style that makes everything bright and colorful. It’s incredibly well animated and combat sequences are vibrant and larger than life. The sound design is probably the weakest point of the title so far.
The music is something you’d expect from a space geared title but the attack sounds are distinct and stimulating. The game is utterly and completely devoid of voice work, but that’s not a downside and more of a warning. You are going to be reading a lot of text.
Right now Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander is one of the best Early Access titles I’ve ever played. Halcyon 6 is the lightest 4X out there, which makes it enjoyable for someone like myself who utterly detests that genre. It’s flush with content and strangely lacking in the glitches and bugs department for what’s essentially an Alpha release. I don’t recommend many Early Access titles, but this one is absolutely worthy of the support required to finish development.