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Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition Review

After a mysterious alien race wipes out most of the human race it's up to you as commander of an ancient base named Halcyon 6 to rally what remains of humanity and fight back against the Chrull. Do you have what it takes to save humanity and reclaim your place in the galaxy?

Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition Review

Introduction

Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition is a turn-based strategy RPG developed by Massive Damage Inc., it's a free update of Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander and adds new features to the base game while expanding and streamlining others. The player takes control of the decaying space station Halcyon 6 after an alien race called the Chrull invades and takes out most of the Terran population.  

Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition is available on Steam for  $14.99.

Story

The game begins showing the reactivation of Halcyon 6, a derelict space station on the edge of terran space.  After bringing it online a distress signal comes through.  The commander in charge of the Halcyon 6 investigation decides to go check it out.  Upon arriving the party gets ambushed by a mysterious alien race, later named the Chrull, and gets destroyed.  With all communication to earth cutoff the worst is assumed and the exploration team set up for more permanent residence.  With the sudden disappearance of most of the Terran influence the other species of the galaxy decide to investigate.

Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition Review - Voraash Communication
Through out random points of the game you meet species, such as The Collective, The Yabling League, The Voraash and even space pirates make an appearance. As the story progresses these factions will wage war and form alliances with each other and try to expand their territory. This aspect of the story makes every play though different at least a little. Most of the story is left for the player to discover like the origins of the Chrull and the starbase itself.  

A lot of this game's story is told through various events through at the game. For example early on in my play thorough I ran into a group of space pirates being attacked by the Chrull and was given the choice to save them. After I saved them the pirates gave me some info on their territory. Later on in my play through I had a fleet from The Yabling League begging me to let them go after i decimated 4 of their other fleets. The downside of this is that a lot of the interesting bits of the story could be missed because you didn't do the right things at the right time.

Gameplay

Gameplay is divided between two distinct sections, the turn based combat and the strategic galaxy map. The galaxy view is where you'll spend most of your time in this game. Here you can build up Halcyon 6 with different kinds of rooms that each has a different function to help you in your battle for survival. Everything you need to successfully manage your station is here. You can check your missions, see distress calls, or see what events are coming up and how many days until they do.  

The starbase itself is pretty interesting in the fact that it can build ships but other than that little tidbit of information it's kind of bland. A lot of the rooms have very basic functions like making materials or providing power. To build more rooms you have to first explore them where the most interesting part of the base happens.  There is a random chance to encounter a monster in these rooms and if that happens your ground team has to take it out before exploration can continue. Along with events that can happen while exploring, random events sometimes take place in the various rooms. There's this one event where one of your colonists gets trapped in the Matter Multiplier and you can either take him out, leave him in there or try to clone him.  I always chose the clone when this event comes up and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. If it does that event then can lead to an event where the clones revolt and want a planet of their own, which you can agree to or just take them out.    

Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition Review Base
Besides building up and exploring your station you also have to explore the rest of the galaxy.  You start with just knowing what's in the Terran borders but discover more as the game goes on. The galaxy is littered with various points where you can get supplies. Once you send a fleet to a resource point, which costs fuel to go anywhere besides back to Halcyon 6, one of three things will happen. The most ideal situation will be that there's a colony there that will gather resources for you which you either need to send a fleet to collect it or have a satellite bring them back to your station. If that's not the case the Colony is either destroyed or being attacked. If it's under attack and you repel the invaders they then start producing their resource for you.  If the colony is destroyed you can spend population to repopulate it. You can also upgrade colonies to increase their production, or evacuate it to add the population to Halcyon 6. Research is another very important requirement for survival. You can research upgrades to your existing rooms or unlock new ones in exchange for resources. 

The combat in this game is where it really excels in my opinion.  The combat is turn based with up to 3 members on each side and characters have different skills depending on which class they are.  There are three major classes in the game. You can choose between Soldier, Scientist and Engineer, each with their own skills and ships.  Most of the skills in the game either inflict a status effect or exploits one. When you chain multiple skills together it makes the combat really satisfying. The skills are also visually flashy and makes the battles very interesting to watch.

Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition: Ship Combat

As your party gains experience they gain skill points that you can allocate into different skills and passive abilities for your party.  The skill tree is probably the most prominent change in the Lightspeed Edition upgrade. The skill tree was expanded on immensely to add more character customization and let the player experiment with different character builds. This addition added a lot more depth and replay value of the game. The drawback is that it might be a little overwhelming for new players and could lead to some pretty useless characters, but none of that really took away from my experience with the game.

Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition Review Skill Tree
Along with your Commanders gaining experience your ships level up as well. As they level up you can add more powers from your commanders roster of skills to be able to use the in combat. You can have up to three sets of skills saved for each party member at any one time and can swap the sets or the skills anytime you're out of combat. Lightspeed Edition also added items that you can equip to your ships that grant them limited use skills during combat.

Another pretty big change included in Lightspeed Edition is the ability to create you're own commander.  In the original all you could do is change their name but in this one you can fully customize them to your liking.  You can change their face, clothes and hair. Along with that you can also write a bio for your troops to give them a little more personality. It doesn't affect gameplay in anyway but it still doesn't stop me from giving everyone of my main commanders their own tragic upbringings.

Graphics and audio

Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition is in the 16-bit style. All characters, monsters and ships are pretty nicely detailed for the style but the backgrounds of the battles are fantastic. The battles that take place in space or on planets are beautiful to look at with stars and terrain in the distance while the battles that take place on stations or within halcyon itself have a nice derelict aesthetic to them.The 16-bit graphic style might feel a little overused in today's market but it still doesn't make it any less appealing in my eyes.  

The soundtrack for this game is really exceptional. The use of heave synthetic music and sound effects really enhances the sci-fi feel.  Weather it is the mysterious music of the galaxy map or the more fast paced music of the battles every song feels like it belongs in this game. I even find myself listening to the OST of this game on my free time its that good.

Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition Review Ground Combat

Conclusion

While not perfect Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition scratched my itch for a good turn based RPG in an industry where they're not that common anymore.  The grand strategy elements withing the galaxy map felt a little bare but i feel is still good enough to make consequent playthroughs still interesting. Combined with a great soundtrack and a solid battle system the parts where it did fall short seemed overshadowed in the larger scheme of  things. This is a game i can find myself coming back to a couple years down the line and still have a great time with it.

PROSCONS
+ Great Soundtrack– Base Building is lacking
+ Fun Turn-based Combat– Little story and can be missed
+ Good Replay Value
7
Good

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