Epic Astro Story Review: Kairosoft’s Great Galaxy-Spanning Sim
I’ve reviewed many a sim from Kairosoft the past few years. I love the company’s sweet, engaging sims in general, but lately (with games like Venture Town Story and Pocket League Story) I’d begun to notice a stagnation in them, a sameness that was draining their games of the usual charm. Luckily, their recently released newest sim, Epic Astro Story, shows that the Kairosoft formula still has staying power; and further, the game shows that Kairosoft still has some new tricks up its sleeve.
In Astro City Story, you manage a space colony. Your jobs are many. Managing resources, of course; attracting new colonists; drawing tourism to your planet; maintaining relations with other planets; manufacturing and shipping goods to make money. It’s all the task-based stuff that makes a city-management sim sing. A lot of what Kairosoft developed in games like Oh! Edo Towns and Ventuire City Story come into Epic Astro City. Here, they’re well balanced to keep you working without overwhelming you.
If the game stopped here, I might have again complained that Kairosoft was returning too often to their well-trod models, albeit in a well-done way. Luckily, Epic Astro Story has a new innovation: the Away Team.
In addition to the standard fare of a Kairosoft sim, this new feature has you training and sending off teams of people to explore new areas of the map and other planets you come into contact with. This satisfyingly interactive feature is more than just the standard “trigger an action, wait a length of time” mechanic so common in these sims. Not only do Away Teams trigger other events in the game (discovering resources, finding new residents, etc.), but they also usually culminate in combat sessions that have you managing combat training, developing weapons, and arranging battle formations. The Away Teams add a great layer to this game.
In some ways, the Away Team is an evolution of things in earlier Kairosoft games, like the soccer matches of Pocket League Story. But here they’re interesting; you have things to do, and the rest of the game doesn’t stop while they happen. It’s an evolution, and a great one at that.
Between the city management and the Away Team subsystem, there’s always something to tend to in Epic Astro Story. In fact, sometimes it feels like there’s almost too much going on! This is not a casual management sim. The “Epic” in the title wasn’t lying! Some players may find the amount of micromanagement a bit too much, but anyone who’s famailar with management sims in general or Kairosoft sims in particular shouldn’t have too much problem with it.
The whole game is done, as is typical, in Kairosoft’s chirpy retro style. The characters are cute, the colors are bright, and the graphics are intentionally pixilated on my Retina display. It’s coy and charming and perfectly fitting the flavor of the game. I particularly enjoyed the nods that Epic Astro Story makes to classic sci-fi, such as with the names of settlers. Jean Vicard, James Turk, and Luxana Toy all live on my planet.
Astro City Story does stay true to the Kairosoft mold, but the spin they’ve given to it here is a good one. Fans of Kairosoft who haven’t picked it up yet should do so, and players looking for a good place to start their Kairosoft experience couldn’t do worse if they start here.
Our Score: 4.5 out of 5