A single-player science fiction strategy game featuring open-ended galaxy exploration, main story arc, ship building and real-time space battles.

This is a strategy/action game from two-man independent development team MinMax Games. Abbreviated as SPAZ the game is similar to the classic Star Control. It retails for US$14.95, is available from several online distribution outlets, and is for the Windows PC platform.

There are several key components to gameplay:

  • Exploration: gamers travel a universe and can take on various random missions, influence the balance of power between the universe's two factions (the UTA and the Civilians), and fight or bribe their way through stargates separating systems within the galaxy.
  • Economics: gamers can amass and trade the main currencies of the game: Rez (money acquired by collecting raw materials mined from asteroids) or Goons (people, essentially, captured from crews of defeated ships and sold as slaves and concubines). Rez buys blueprints and resources to build new ships, goons grease the skids when dealing with political factions to garner favor or effect bribes. Ah, the joys of commerce and politics.
  • Ship design and building: SPAZ sports a simple interface to assemble ships based on four size classes and numerous technologies including beam weapons, turrets, cannons, shields, armor, crew, engines, reactors, bombs, cloaks, and drones. Players must take into account each mission's needs and adjust designs accordingly, balancing offensive and defensive combat capabilities, cargo capacity, crew and passenger facility, and mobility.
  • Combat: Yes! Put those ship designs to work in real-time battles.
  • Humor: that's right. It's a fun game partially because it's serious about being solid and bug free. But it's a great game (except for some grind stretches) because it doesn't take itself too seriously.

Official game site is at http://www.spacepiratesandzombies.com/index.html.

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