Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition Review
When Halcyon 6 first showed its intent on Kickstarter back in 2015, it pitched a product that looked to bring core elements from other successful titles and make them pillars of which a much larger, more ambitious game could stand. Halcyon 6 released in 2016 with a positive reception, but with a few flaws that left some players disappointed. Now, almost a year later, Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition is back to address those major concerns. Were the new changes worth another release and, from a player’s perspective, a return to this universe? I’m here to say the answer is unequivocally yes.
Coming off of the wake of a destructive event that’s left your organization in complete chaos, it’s up to you to fight the invading forces that look to swallow the universe like it’s an early lunch. Step one: revive an old starbase left behind by an ancient precursor race, the Halcyon 6.
This starbase becomes your hub from which you’ll begin to collect resources from far-flung remnants of the Federation, as well as make alliances with new civilizations. It’s here that you’ll create your ships, recruit the officers to fly them, and make sure they’re well equipped for the skirmishes ahead.
From this description, you can already begin to see the various places from which Lightspeed Edition pulled its inspiration. The base-building elements aboard Halcyon 6 feel very similar to XCOM, while the exploration and resource collection reminds me of any of the classic RTS games that defined the genre so long ago.
“The grind isn’t gone, it’s just dealt with in a more equal measure.”
While Halcyon 6’s first release wasn’t something I was able to get my hands on, I understand that the resource collection was a hindrance for many – something that felt the grind was too, well, grindy. In my recent interview, Massive Damage’s CEO, Ken Soto told me how communicating with Halcyon 6’s player base really helped them address this concern. The team has re-balanced this resource collection, making for a more streamlined process. Automation is available for every planet that offers a viable resource, meaning you won’t always be making the cumbersome trips back and forth.
That doesn’t mean that the game is any easier. Resource management is a core mechanic, just as it is in so many games that Lightspeed Edition draws its inspiration from. The grind isn’t gone, it’s just dealt with in a more equal measure. To get this automation up and running, it’s going to take a little work, all while you’re fighting off the various entities that want to see the Federation as nothing but rubble.
And that’s the other major element of the game – Final Fantasy-like turn-based combat that takes place both in and out of your ships. From aboard Halcyon 6, you’re using the resources mentioned above to build a fleet with an adequate arsenal, and while many other games in this kind of genre would then just simulate the combat or something like that, you actually get to do the combat. This means you’ve got to equip ships appropriately, learn enemy weaknesses, and play to them. Using a huge tech tree, you can increase the capabilities of ships, as well as crew members when they’re on the ground dealing out a more personal type of damage.
However, Lightspeed Edition still suffers from one thing it couldn’t escape from its first release: a feature plateau. What I mean is that even though it’s got elements that cross genres and go from micro to macro, it doesn’t do any of them in a mind-blowing way. One could even say that everything it offers can be found in a more enhanced way in a number of different titles. It offers a lot, but nothing it offers is all that special.
One great example of this is the different types of resources aren’t all that expansive, and once you learn of the big three, you’re pretty much just multiplying the collection levels you receive with each shipment. The same can be said about the different types of rooms you can build aboard Halcyon 6. There are few variations, and some even nullify the construction of past rooms.
“Regardless of how well-received their initial product was, Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition is an evolution of it.”
Still, these elements, the management, the combat, the choices, they combine well with one another and create an experience that doesn’t get old fast. There’s a campaign that’ll keep you engrossed in the story of this universe that’s just as easy to avoid if you want to kick back and farm resources to make bigger and better things. Even with its plateau, the whole experience just works.
It’s not often that a team of developers will revisit their product to address its flaws. I’d say it’s more unheard of than rare, but not to Massive Damage. Regardless of how well-received their initial product was, Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition is an evolution of it. The game is in-depth, rewarding when needed, and most importantly, a hell of a lot of fun. Most definitely, you should check out Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition.
*** PC code provided by the publisher ***
- Spectrum-cross feature list
- Doesn’t get stale
- Less of a grind
- Jack of all trades syndrome