Version Reviewed: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Rogue Star is an adventure space sim very much in the vein of the classic Elite games. Players will find themselves roaming from planet to planet, completing missions, trading materials, and fighting pirates as they live out their career as a space pilot. While it looks great a has a lot of charm,Rogue Star's sense of progression can feel quite slow and its difficulty is prone to spiking, which keeps it from achieving its full potential.
From the outset of Rogue Star, players have an extremely open-ended space sandbox to play around in. They can gather materials to buy and sell for profit across different systems, take on missions for clients, or even become their own space pirate pretty much as soon as the basic tutorial is completed. Performing any of these tasks can earn credits, which can then be spent to purchase new ships or buy cargo at auctions.
Regardless of what players decide to do, however,Rogue Star's core gameplay revolves around randomized events that occur as they move from one space station to another. While travelling, they control their space ship from a first-person perspective and can receive hails from nearby convoys, get ambushed by space pirates, or... well, that's actually mostly it. Almost every scenario inRogue Star is a simple setup to have players dogfight in space combat using an on-screen joystick to move, a virtual button to shoot, and sidebar meters to manage shields, engines, and laser strength.
Although thecombat is pretty unique and enjoyable, the difficulty ramps up faster than most players can afford to upgrade their ship - making for a progression loop that slows to a crawl. This is because when players diethey lose cargo, which is easily the most valuable stuff in the game. They can resort to completing missions to earn credits for new ships, but this quickly turns into a grind that most won't tolerate for very long.
It's really a shame thatRogue Starso easily loses its initial sheen because of some balance issues. Although it's a relatively simple game, it looks awesome and has a ton of character. That all wears thin though when players are left having to wander between the same few planets, grinding out currency in order to start seeing and doing more interesting things.