Space Station: Frontier in Review – Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, it’s space from work we go!

Tower Defence is one of the most represented genres on the iPhone. And as such, it seems that almost every idea possible has been already implemented and that it’s impossible to think of anything new. Gladly, Origin8 has just proved this statement wrong. The creators of the excellent Sentinel: Mars Defense (TMA Review) and Sentinel 2: Earth Defense (TMA Review) fixed path TD games have recently released their first entry into the open field TD variety: Space Station: Frontier.

As with any Tower Defence game the purpose is to keep your base alive as long as possible. In regards to the 10 campaign levels in Space Station, the time you have to survive for to complete the mission is defined by either plain minutes or the amount of crystals you have to mine. And yes, here is the first thing where the game expands beyond the classic TD mechanic.

Crystals are the game’s currency. They are slowly produced by the space station itself, but in extremely low quantities. The main source, however, is the surrounding asteroids. And here is where Space Station game makes a leap into traditional RTS gaming – you have to harvest resources by building mining stations close to the asteroids.

Building is reminiscent of classic RTS’s and puzzle games. The most notable feature is that all of the segments outside the space station require power in order to construct and operate. And to get this power, they must be connected to the station (or an external generator). All of the connectors have a limited length, so you have to resort to nodes to build a pathway for the electricity to flow. An added headache is that the nodes can’t have more than 4 connections, leaving you to build vast networks to keep your external systems running. There quite a number of different building available to be created, most of which require blueprints to be purchased from the main menu for credits. These are earned by completing missions.

But don’t get too distracted by the construction works or you’ll miss the enemies. They come in 4 varieties which vary in speed, size, power and weaponry. Among them are small fighters to massive Dreadnaughts which house an infinite number of fighters. To help you defend from the onslaught, a number of defensive structures are available for construction. You can build either the quick firing laser tower or the slow, but area-affecting missile launcher. But be careful on relying exclusively on the seemingly more powerful missile – the Battleship class enemies have defensive stations of their own that shoot down the missiles. To further enhance your own defensive capabilities, you can build interceptor guns of your own that shoot down enemy torpedoes. You can also build repair drones which help you recover from attacks. Almost all of the structures can be upgraded up to 3 times to enhance wither their speed or range. And if you find yourself overrun, you can trigger the station’s EMP gun to temporarily stun any ships which are in range.

Space Station: Frontier is an extremely polished product. The graphics look great, the interface uses the tried and tested approach found in many other TD games that works and the performance of the game is excellent. For social networking addicts, there is full OpenFeint support with lots of achievements available to be unlocked. And for the die-hard gamer, there are the survival and mining modes with endless waves of enemies. The only thing I really missed in the game is a full-pause mode.

Space Station: Frontier takes Tower Defence games to a whole new level. It is really a breath of fresh air and the only thing that could possibly make it better would be the addition of more types of buildings and enemies. In any other respect, it is simply a new benchmark of the genre. The mix of new concepts implemented in the game brings a new layer of strategy and tactics to Tower Defence. This is definitely a must-have game.

With this I declare Space Station: Frontier officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Space Station: FrontierDeveloper: Origin8
Reviewed Ver:1.0.0Min OS Req:2.2
Price:$2.99App Size:8.6 MB
  • A lot new ideas excellently implemented
  • Great graphics with flawless performance
  • Openfeint support with lots of achievements
  • No pause-and-build mode
  • Could use more variety on enemies and defensive structures

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More TMA Tower Defense reviews can be found here:

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