Both the shield generator and O2 generators have broken and need repair. One gunner is currently in med bay, the allied fighters have retreated due to low fuel, and the comms officer is now dead. It is at this point you are wondering whether you’ve bitten off more than you can chew as more enemies fly in, and the enemy champion taunts you. You assess the situation and then give the order: abandon ship. The survivors get to the escape pods just as the Phasmids start boarding. So ends the story of the UDF ship TSA, but that is not the end of this war in Space Crew.
The follow up to the WW2-themed Bomber Crew, Space Crew can be ruthless. It starts off relatively straightforward, giving you a basic ship and some simple missions to tackle as you fight in a war between Earth’s UDF and the invading Phasmids. Initially these missions will see you going into an area and clearing enemies, escorting transports, or rescuing people. They provide a bit of a challenge and test you, but you can handle it.
Stepping up to the medium risk missions with some upgrades in tow, they have similar objectives, but immediately feel a bit more dicey. Enemies are stronger and you have to really pay attention to what your crew is doing. You have six crew members in total: the Captain who navigates the ship, the Comms officer who plots routes and can scan area for enemies or points of interest, the Security officer who can do things like purge parts of the ship, which is helpful when getting rid of unwanted guests, the Engineer who is the fastest at fixing things, and two Gunners whose main job is to shoot enemy ships.
As you complete these missions you earn research points that unlock equipment for the crew and the ship, and the money to buy this new equipment. Your crew members will also gain experience and learn new skills, but if they die then you lose them for ever. The same goes for your ship, and while you can always get another ship and can recruit more crew mates, you’ll quickly get attached to your little group.
As missions get more difficult, you have more and more choices to make, balancing between finding the right time to activate abilities and moving crew members to taking care of different tasks. For example, if the Engineer is currently boosting power they can’t just run off to put out a fire, you’ll need to send someone else like the Security officer, as I soon started doing. Similarly, when enemy fighter numbers increase you’ll need four people on the guns, deciding who you can divert from their regular job. Will you forego the Comms officer’s ability to (hopefully) call in back up?
You might get through one tense battle, but missions do not just have one encounter. Some will give you two routes to choose between on your way to the objective. One is the safest route, which takes longer and has fewer enemies, or there’s the fastest route that will likely see you battling more enemies and could see an enemy champion show up at random. These are essentially boss fights that can strike at any time, whether it’s near the start of your ship’s run or when you are stronger. They’re tough battles as they are joined by waves of their allies. In this situation the best bet is to just target the boss, because if you can defeat them or make them retreat then the other enemies will retreat too.
You will need to grind in Space Crew to make progress through the missions and the story. Your first loadout just will not cut it and you will not be able to afford the upgrades from the start. Those upgrades include better weapons that are either energy based, which are great for taking down shield but require reactor power, non-energy, which will damage enemy hulls, or a combination of the two. You will need some overlap of the two types to be effective. Other upgrades then include better shields and better armour to help you stay in the fight for longer.
The grind is okay, but the missions can get repetitive. Some of that is by design, as you will repeat missions to get to get the same rewards, but every mission boils down to going into a sector and clearing out enemies. There are some other elements, like when taking on a mothership, but even that doesn’t differ too much. It’s still entertaining, but it is grind.