Void Destroyer is a game that tries to blend a number of genres into one product. It’s a space-based combat sim, with RTS elements such as base building and research, in addition to the ability to command any ship in your fleet in a more personal manner. It’s quite the repertoire, and Void Destroyer manages to mesh it all together fairly well.

Publishers: Iteration 11

Developers: Iteration 11

Platforms: PC

It’s best to imagine Void Destroyer as a game with multiple modes, rather than a hybrid. You can’t really zip around a battle while simultaneously pausing to issue commands, at least not without diluting the experience somewhat. There are so many ways to play, from commanding huge frigates to nipping about in a drone, that it’s best to just pick one and stick to it, at least for the first few hours. In fact, Void Destroyer’s greatest weakness is that it offers all of these options at once when you begin playing, making the difficulty curve look like a brick wall. However, if you push through, there’s a gem of a game underneath.

Overall, combat is very solid. Newtonian physics combined with fairly complex manoeuvring and speed controls really lend to the feeling of deliberate, focused movement, rather than floaty arcade action. While erring slightly more towards simplicity there are, in the developer’s own words, “a lot of buttons” should you wish to use them. This becomes very apparent when flying the larger ships, which have their own “command mode” to enable you to switch between automated aiming, movement and weapons smoothly. The ship-swapping is more than just a gimmick, being crucial to the flow of most big fights. There is also something very appealing about being able to hop from a lumbering behemoth of a ship to a tiny unmanned drone at the drop of a hat.

There is of course an RTS mode, in which you control a green wireframe model of the battlefield. Here, you can control ship production, research of new variants (but no customisation) and the construction of new buildings such as turrets and shipyards. There is also a limited, if satisfying, resource control element in which you allocate crew members on stations to generate different resources. You can, however inadvisably, play the entire game through this command interface, and will have to use it regularly even if your focus is on actually flying the ships.

The game’s primary campaign is a semi-linear story based set of missions. It’s difficult to place an accurate figure on its length, but it could average out at around fifteen hours. After completing missions, you unlock scenarios which you can play independently of the storyline. There is also a mission editor mode to design your own scenarios should you wish. The story of the campaign is quite functional. There’s a fairly standard conflict between the player’s faction and a coalition of miners, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. It’s practical, and doesn’t get in the way of the fighting, which is always positive.

Performance-wise, the game isn’t too intensive, and is quite aesthetically pleasing. It is by default, cell shaded, although this can be toggled, but there isn’t much in the way of graphics settings otherwise. On a decent gaming laptop, the frame-rate averages out at about 50 fps at the highest settings, although this can drop in large battles.

Overall, it’s an entertaining game with a novel mixture of space combat and RTS elements that combine in a reasonably enjoyable fashion. There are a couple of fairly basic additions (designing your own ships, more cohesive AI, better combat feedback –guns etc.) that could have turned this game into an absolutely excellent piece. However, it is definitely worth playing if you have a penchant for space combat.