I’ve poured in almost 70 hours into Cortex Command with no end in sight. This may perplex you as Cortex Command was released in 2012 with… mostly negative reception. However, the developers did not give up this project and have justified the 20 dollar price tag. I’m usually not one to become obsessed with complicated games, but this game that has consumed me and make hours pass by like minutes.
The story is a great backdrop for a sci-fi sandbox game, and set up the great motives for why you’re doing what you’re and that makes it good. When Earth ends, Cortex Command’s story begins. Earth had become a viciously dark place, and the only choice the human race had was to leave. From our evolution we cast aside our insignificant bodies as our brains alone, were capable to control multiple bodies in tandem. This made it effortless to leave earth as we were literally just brains that could be transported easily. When reaching the deep edges of space, we as a species learned that we were not alone as well as not important. After some growing pains, we all adjusted to the alien life. However, resources were depleting quickly and species started looking towards other systems which will hold the setpiece for a lawless, wild west type gold rush.
The artstyle of Cortex Command is similar to sidescrolling 2D indie games like Terraria, but it leans more on its physics engine to be pleasing on its technical side. The pixel art blossoms, and the physics are heavy and satisfying. Robots have a similar weight to the B.U.D. in Grow Home, mechs look like controlling hulking metal, and mining in the completely destructable environments beholds an ambitious animation proposition that is executed perfectly.The music is a magically airy chiptune selection. It sets the atmosphere perfectly, and is a great background to the hundreds of hours you will spend plowing through the wasteland.
Have you ever played StarCraft? In a sense, Cortex Command is the same idea. Two bases build themselves up as they slowly try to frame their offensive attack to take out the other player. Instead of controlling multiple units at once, you simultaneously control and give commands to singular units one after another with the flick of a button. You land on a planet and build your base to defend your brain, the juggling and resource management is satisfying and immensely rewarding as you choose whether to attack or defend. You can allot credits to have more possibilities as you mine for gold and build up your weapons. Planetary scuffles can either swelter to a grand strike after multiple hours or a swift contest mere seconds into the match. Jetpacks allow verticality and become weildly after a few hours with it’s amusing physics build. Keep a FAQ in hand however, as the games tutorials can be complicated and enigmatic.
Cortex Command is a Sandbox RTS game crafted by the folks at Data Realms, which is available for 19.99$ on Steam and Data Realms website. I purely suggest that you wait for a Steam sale and order multiple copies to gift to friends, as it’s very pleasant when playing with others. Data Realm did not give up on their vision, and I applaud them for slowly improving Cortex Command into the game it is today. Cortex Command is a game, that’s great for those who are looking for that new addicting game that stretches your dollar for hours upon each cent.