Review Simulation Strategy

Space Crew – Review – To Infinity and Beyond

Gaming is a peculiar pastime. Sometimes I want a deep, expansive experience that will stay with me for years. Sometimes I want to put myself through hell as a game mercilessly beats my will to live into the ground and demands I try again. And sometimes I just want to pop onto a game a few times a day during my downtime, make a little bit of progress over the course of a 20-minute session and get on with my life. Space Crew is the latter. It’s a damn good one too.

Space Crew puts you in command of the Toasted Bap MK-I (or whatever your naming sense decides on). A somewhat rectangular vessel capable of holding a crew of six. The human race is in a bit of a pickle and it is up to you to take your rag-tag crew to the final frontier, complete missions, upgrade your ship/crew, and defend humanity from a nefarious alien threat. Missions are divided into Low, Medium, and High risk, with riskier expeditions rewarding you with more resources. The downside being, should you fail, you will likely lose your ship and crew. A massive step back, as this is permanent.

Space Crew - Layout

Being a Middle-Manager in Space

Missions themselves come in a variety of flavors, but they all end up following the same basic formula – go here, do a thing, come home, don’t die. Sometimes you will be able to undertake a ‘Critical’ mission, which tends to add a bit of spice to proceedings. You might even bump into incredibly dangerous ‘Bounties’ whilst out and about, keeping things interesting. Repetition does kick in rather quickly despite these extra tidbits, but Space Crew manages to hold your attention regardless.

This is in part to the game’s addictive, accessible gameplay. Unlike most games, you actually have very little control over what your ship does, as a lot of it is automatic. The ship will automatically fly to waypoints, your guns will automatically fire at enemies and Gladys will automatically die if you forget to close the airlock. What you do have control over, however, is the crew itself. Each of our pippy little dudes can be placed at specific terminals around your ship, giving you access to the said terminal and its abilities. Put a gunner in a turret, and you can start shooting enemies and activate various shooting-based buffs. Place an engineer in the generator room and you will be able to divert power to your various systems.

Each crew member has a specific class, giving them extra proficiency at certain tasks. Engineers can repair damaged systems faster than other crew members for example. Balancing which crew members do what, and when, is basically the game in a nutshell. You could be surrounded by 10 enemy ships, your oxygen modulator could be on fire, an engine could be leaking radiation, your captain could be unconscious on the bridge and an alien could be breaching your cargo bay and it’s up to you to manage your crew in such a way that they all get out alive. Despite not participating in the obvious action – that being the space battles themselves – Space Crew certainly keeps you on your toes throughout each mission.

Controlling your ship, whilst mostly automatic, still requires some input. This is done through the ‘tagging’ system. If you don’t tag, you won’t do anything. Want to go to Uranus? Tag it. Want to shoot enemies? tag them. Did Doris get sucked out of the airlock? You better believe you’re going to tag her. It is an elegant system that simply works. It takes a second or so to get a bead, and land the tag, and then you can get back to managing your crew. Of course, when things start heating up, you will be cursing at your screen when you are trying to balance tagging enemy fighters and putting out the fire that is ravaging your reactor core.

Tin Crocodile

Rules of Acquisition

Once you complete a mission you will be rewarded with three things – experience, research points, and money. Experience is used to level up your crew, unlocking increasingly more powerful abilities. Research points automatically unlock new ship parts as well as new equipment for your crew. Money lets your purchase the aforementioned goodies you just unlocked. Your basic ship is a bit lacking in almost every department, but nearly every mission you complete will reward you with something. Missions are short, and rewards are plentiful – an intoxicating combination to say the least.

Space Crew, despite its generous reward system, tiered mission structure, and addictive loop, is an unforgiving game. It is rare that you will get through any mission without taking a few bruises along the way. Once you complete the brief tutorial, the game will come at you hard and fast. I lost more crew members than I can count simply because I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of things I had to do when the going got tough. It’s simple to pick and die, but hard to master.

Are the Stars Pretty?

When it comes to presentation, Space Crew does falter a little bit at first. The game’s style is awkwardly satisfying to look at. Your crew members take on an almost voxel-esque appearance whilst everything else looks decidedly cell shaded. It’s a bizarre mix. A simple mix. But one that grows on you with time. Space itself is a bit bland, but considering the game is somewhat hectic, being able to see clearly seemed to take priority. 

The sound design is passably forgettable. Music will vanish from memory quicker than Mandy having a failed spacewalk, and the sound effects are functional but basic. As an overall package, it’s serviceable.

Space Crew - Members


Overall Space Crew is a wonderfully addictive little gem. Whilst the games loop can be a tad repetitive, this is an ideal game to take on the go. I’ve sunk an uncomfortable number of hours into this one, and most of that has been in short bursts of stress-filled glee. Space may indeed be the final frontier, but Space Crew boldly goes into its boundless depths and invites you to come along on a jolly adventure.


Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, XBox One, Nintendo Switch
Purchase Link: Humble (PC/Steam)

If you would like to read about Strategy games, you might be interested to read this review of Warborn.

Many thanks to Curve Digital for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.

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