A game can impress us on many levels. Some games have breathtaking graphics. Others focus on story and character. Games can also impress with the care and attention to detail put into their presentation. Games like Space Frontier, however, suffer for their lack of such attention to detail when it comes to presentation. While Space Frontier may be an excellent building sim with science-fiction elements, simple things like mistranslations from the original Korean can leave a bad taste in our mouths.
Space Frontier requires you to manage your time and resources, so you can build homes and towers on alien planets. On each planet, you must meet a certain number of requirements before you can move on to the next planet. You can also strive to achieve the highest score possible, using minimal resources and completing the tasks in the shortest amount of time.
Tasks revolve around building certain structures, beginning with houses. Once houses have been built, you can also upgrade them or terraform them. Naturally, you have a limited number of robots to do your building and minerals to pay for any upgrades, so you have to pace yourself. While you’re building, you also have to keep track of different factors, like the safe level. Once the safe level drops below 80%, your planet could be rocked with any number of disasters, destroying your buildings.
The game tries to provide a fun, futuristic story to explain your building. A green-haired robot girl will escort you through the initial levels, introducing you to the galaxy. The alien locales in which you build also have themes or backstories; for instance, one planet is filled with robot graves that look like mysterious skull-shaped rocks. The story, however, is easily forgettable and not a reason to play Space Frontier.
You can’t handle the truth.
While the game has many rules, the tutorial levels tend to drag on. It seems as though the tutorials are geared more towards younger players, so any player who picks up on the game’s mechanics quickly will find building three houses quite simple. On the flip side of that, certain aspects of the game are not explained at all, and you’ll be required to make assumptions about how certain elements work.
It’s the presentation that really feels shallow here. As the game focuses on a story and characters, you’re forced to read a good deal of dialog. Right from the start, Space Frontier is plagued with misspellings and incorrect verb conjugations. While these kind of errors are understandable for a game not originally written in English, it doesn’t seem like too much to ask to have a translator or native English speaker give the game a once over.
In the end, it’s hard to hate Space Frontier. It’s bright and colorful, with a silliness and charm that come through despite its flaws. It’s also a universal app, which is much appreciated, as this is a style of game that benefits from a larger screen. This might not be the game to get hack-and-slashers or dual-stick-shooter fiends into time and resource management sims, but it is a good game for those who can look past translation errors and enjoy playing landlord to outer space.