#411 Homeworld

Posted: 23rd January 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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925th played so far

Genre: Strategy
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 1999
Developer: Relic Entertainment
Publisher: Sierra Studios

While I’ve played plenty of grand tactics games set in space – Galactic Civilizations and Sins of a Solar Empire come to mind, as well as Stellaris which I really need to dive further into. I don’t remember covering many RTS games that have that setting, though – Star Wars avoids the genre and the Star Trek Armada series isn’t on the list. Beyond that, it feels like all these games have some sort of ground based opponent, or else work on a different strategy level.

Homeworld is a game that offers that, though, a RTS game set in space with at least some additional verticality. It could be a reskin of the same mechanics, but it sounds like it isn’t all that.

Our Thoughts

On the surface, Homeworld is that strategy game set in space. As it should be, it also adds a third dimension to the game – rather than a flat map, Homeworld levels are a 3D sphere, where your space crafts can also move up and down. The interface is mostly good enough not to let that get in your way, as you can usually direct your ships to attack or investigate specific places. There are some times where it doesn’t when you’re just exploring, at which point it mostly just gets confusing. It’s still very playable and easy enough to control, but it takes a second to adjust every once in a while.

Then there’s the story. As you test a colony ship, you jump away from your homeworld and explore movement elsewhere – basically a tutorial on controlling the game. As you come back, your world has been destroyed and you travel around the galaxy to track down the group that destroyed your world and to find a place to settle. It’s pretty decent, giving you an explanation for what you’re doing that threads through everything you do in the level, including some plot-only levels that work well being this in-engine as you explore what happened. It also ties into a neat mechanic where your units carry over between missions. You’re expected to collect them as you go through and, if you’ve got resources left over, it makes sense to use them to build what you can at the end. It’s an anti-climatic end when you’ve otherwise won and could otherwise move on to actually move further.

Final Thoughts

Homeworld is a fun RTS, with the 3D elements making a nice difference in how the game plays. There’s something a bit more dynamic about it, without it ever really getting in the way – a bunch of attack formations make a lot more sense now. With that, the story is intriguing so far and while I’m not expecting major surprises, so far it’s been good to be along for the ride.