StarKnights, KnightSoft's sequel to Metal Knights, is a strategic thriller based in space. Players start with a small fleet and a few structures, and build mighty empires. These empires become capable of producing much larger ships and the weapons therein. The ships, testaments to economic and strategic growth, then enter grim combat in an attempt to conquer the Universe.
StarKnights resembles a combination of games from the computer to the tabletop. In the beginning, you must choose a type of character. This character slowly accumulates skills in specified fields, such as defense, trade, and production, among other things. There are eleven skills in all, which are built upon by gathering experience points, which in turn come from the processes of establishing colonies on foreign worlds, or eliminating adversaries and their ships. There are five character types, each with their own specialties. Those of you who enjoyed 'Dungeons and Dragons' back in college would appreciate this long-term feature.
There is an annoying abundance of games in which you may destroy first without building. StarKnights is not one of them. Like 'Civilization,' one must build an empire before building units. You must have a strong industrial base to wage a true war. The greater your economy, the more you can build. In StarKnights, the hulls of the ships you build consist of rather fundamental resources, but the components, such as weapons, shields, and engines, are somewhat more exotic, requiring superconductors, magnetic cells, nanostructures, and many other specialty products. A diversified empire is far more effective than a generic one.
Of course, there is always the problem of availability. On occasion, there is no access to the planets required to produce nanostructures, antimatter, magnetic cells, et cetera. Only rarely is there an abundance of these types of planets. Should you need such supplies, there is a Tradepost to turn to, in which other players may trade with you. Should you have a surplus of any particular resource, you can sell it, and use the proceeds to purchase whatever you currently need. I have yet to hear of a game that uses a trading system as effective as the one employed in StarKnights...
StarKnights lacks a technology tree. This is replaced by a more effective production tree. 'Colonization,' by Microprose, has the only production tree I have seen as of yet, which comes nowhere near the sophistication of that in StarKnights. Aluminum Oxide plus energy yields aluminum, which combined with carbon fiber and advanced chips forms ship structures, which are in turn assembled into hulls. Carbon fiber is produced from coal, and advanced chips come from silicon, gold, and germanium, the latter coming from germanium oxide and energy. This is merely a portion of the tree. Of course, the production tree is easily understood, and most players catch on within their first few missions. The game itself will actually manage your production tree for you until you learn the process.
Once your ships are built and outfitted, they go to battle. The melee function, which resembles 'FLEET Tactical Combat Simulator' by Smoke and Mirrors, includes many important aspects in true combat. Speed is a major issue, along with power systems. You may install three ion cannons on a dekko-type hull, but it is rather unlikely that they will recharge quickly, and the ship itself will be rather slow. Space is limited on hulls, so Dreadnoughts are somewhat harder to create. This reinforces the beauty of fleet-building. Every ship has strengths and weaknesses, so no one ship will dominate the entire game. Throughout the course of dozens of games, skill level increases offer players experience with a wide variety of hulls to work with.
And so, StarKnights is a bountiful game, mixing the wonderful aspects of other games. I never did mention the prequel, Metal Knights, which was greatly improved on to provide the user-friendly interface offered today. To learn more about the game, read the rest of the StarKnights web site! To learn even more than that, download the game and try it for free! This wonderful game can be played on your computer individually, or if you prefer, online, where you can share strategy with hundreds of other players worldwide! To start, click here to see the download page.