Kevin C. Wong

Apple Arcade - Stellar Commanders (2019) [/]

Stellar Commanders is a real-time area-based futuristic conquest game. You and your opponent are on a small asteroid. You each have Uridium that builds up automatically. You each have a deck of cards with your units, have four cards in your hand and can see the next card. When you have enough Uridium you can activate a card to build a unit then draw to go back to four cards.

Activate a card then choose an area. Most cards build something in that area:

  • support to increase Uridium production for a while
  • defense to protect against missile attacks
  • ground or air units to attack nearby neutral and enemy areas
  • missiles that destroy an area
  • satellites are not buildable but used to instantly attack an enemy unit anywhere on the world

A unit will take a few seconds to build (there's a countdown and you can activate more cards or activate a unit). Once an attack unit is built you can select it then select a target and it will move there. Support and defense work automatically.

Cheap ground units have shorter range and can only take neutral territories. Likewise cheap missiles and defenses have less range. Helicopters take territory and can attack anywhere.

Everything is happening in real time. If you pay attention you can see an incoming missile and build a defense to protect the target (you can see the destination area of each attacking unit).

The game lasts 7 minutes and goes in three phases. A quick build phase where you can't attack each other. Halfway through or so a cataclysm phase where all neutral territories are destroyed (and if you don't have a path to enemy territory you can use missiles). When the game ends the winner is the side with the most controlled territories.

You can play three campaigns against the three different factions (each faction has different units). You can play online globally or versus your friends. You can play AI games where you can set the faction, AI strength, and world.

I did not find the game fun enough to play more than a bit because it goes too fast. I'm not an RTS player and I freeze up when too much is going on. There is no pause or way to change the game speed. But otherwise it's a nice small and fast strategy conquest game.