Game Reviews

Epic Astro Story

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Epic Astro Story

Having conquered the worlds of game development, Formula 1 racing, and worldwide travel, it’s somehow fitting that Japanese studio Kairosoft should look to the stars for its next solid gold classic.

Epic Astro Story cherry-picks the best bits from Game Dev Story, Grand Prix Story, and World Cruise Story and combines them to produce a mobile title that will ensnare you utterly.

Instead of dealing with irate programmers or Prima Donna footballers, Epic Astro Story has you colonising planets, forging alliances with alien races, and battling with all manner of ferocious monsters.

The game can be roughly divided into two sections: construction and exploration. To sustain your colony you need to generate revenue by manufacturing goods, attracting tourists, and exporting items.

In order to do these things you’ll need to create an effective cityscape, with roads linking all of your buildings and domiciles to house your burgeoning population.

To boldly go where no man has gone before

Pretty soon, you’ll run out of usable space. That’s when the exploration component comes into play: by assembling an Away Team (a neat reference to Star Trek) you can gain access to unexplored regions that not only throw up monetary rewards but also grant additional space in which to expand your colony.

Of course, you can’t completely overrun the planet without facing at least a little resistance. Your Away Team will often come under attack from malevolent forces, so you’ll need to arm them with weapons and clad them in armour.

Both of these can be developed and manufactured internally, with research points being used to improve the capability of your technology and thereby construct even more impressive items.

Like all Kairosoft titles, Epic Astro Story sucks up your spare time like a Dyson fresh off the production line. It’s so embarrassingly addictive that you'll almost certainly miss social events as a result of its allure.

The final frontier

However, it’s not entirely perfect. The controls are a bit of a headache: when placing roads, buildings, and other structures, it’s sometimes awkward to pick the correct spot. You’ll find that you sometimes build in the wrong place and have no option but to knock down the structure and start again - a situation that can leave you out of pocket.

There’s a definite feeling that Epic Astro Story would be improved with a mouse-driven interface, but it’s not a complete disaster. By holding your finger down on the screen during construction you can be more precise about where you place your buildings and overcome this quibble.

Epic Astro Story pulls together the very best qualities of Kairosoft’s output: it’s painfully addictive, surprisingly deep, thoroughly rewarding, and boasts a pixel-heavy retro look that's both appealing and archaic at the same time.

In short, if you’ve experienced - and loved - the company’s previous offerings, then this is not going to disappoint. On the other hand, newcomers should steel themselves for one of the most compelling mobile games of recent times.

Android version reviewed.

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Epic Astro Story

Epic Astro Story’s lofty premise is backed up by some surprisingly complex and multifaceted gameplay. Pre-warn friends and family before downloading, as they will have precious little of your attention afterwards
Damien  McFerran
Damien McFerran
Damien's mum hoped he would grow out of playing silly video games and gain respectable employment. Perhaps become a teacher or a scientist, that kind of thing. Needless to say she now weeps openly whenever anyone asks how her son's getting on these days.