This is the long-awaited starship simulator from War Balloon which did two tours of duty on Kickstarter, attracted nearly $200,000 in crowdfunded capital, and has been in development for almost two years.
In this massive Star Command guide, we will describe the basic operations of the game, give you handy tips for beating every mission in the game, and describe every room upgrade that money can buy.
Good luck, captain. You're going to need it.
How to play
The objective of Star Command is to use your weapons to destroy the enemy's ship while keeping your own starship and crew intact. In most missions, you'll also have to defeat invaders who beam aboard your ship.
Your ship is split into several different rooms. Below are the basic rooms that you will have access to in the main campaign. You'll get more - described in detail on this page - on your second playthrough.
Weapon rooms (like the laser cannon and machine gun) deal damage to enemy ships. You'll need at least one crew member assigned to the room, and standing inside it, to charge the weapon.
When the weapon is charged and ready, tap the associated red icon at the bottom of the screen and finish a short mini-game to fire.
Weapon room crew members - and bridge units - get red shirts, which means they can also attack invading enemies with laser pistols. Handy.
The yellow dodge generator room helps you evade incoming enemy fire. As long as one crew member is assigned to the room, and standing in it, tap the room and choose 'ammo' to generate a dodge token.
When you have a token and the yellow icon at the bottom of the screen is active, you will be able to dodge lasers. Wait until you are about to be attacked (you'll see red circles on your ship), and then hit the button to make an evasive manoeuvre.
Crew members in the dodge generator - or engine room - get yellow shirts and are engineers. They will fix damaged walls and put out fires when stationed near them.
The healing room recharges your shield. Plus, all crew members who stand in the room will regain health.
Crew members in the healing room get a blue shirt, which turns them into healers. Now when they stand near a wounded crew member, they will regenerate his health.
How to win
The most effective way to play the game is to assign two crew members to each of the main rooms (weapons, dodge, and healing). Put the rest in the engine and bridge for backup.
During ship-to-ship combat, you should wait for weapons to charge, and then fire when ready. Also, generate dodge tokens and use them when you are being fired upon. Finally, use bridge members and healers to defeat invading forces.
You will get tokens when you win a battle. Use these to upgrade rooms, and hire new crew members from home planets (Earth and Norfoo).
You can assign your captain to any job: he doesn't have to work in the bridge. But watch out: you'll get a Game Over if he dies in battle.
You can reassign a crew member at any time. If the mission at hand calls for more foot soldiers, reassign an engineer or healer to the bridge.
That being said, you should try to keep crew members in one job because veteran units will earn bonus skills in their chosen discipline.
Your ship cannot blow up, no matter how much damage it takes. The only way to get a Game Over is for your captain or the princess to die.
Hull breaches occur in the bridge, engine, and hallways, but you'll always be safe in the other rooms.
Always generate two dodge tokens on friendly planets like Earth and Norfoo so you start a battle with an advantage.
If your ship suffers a hull breach, get everyone out of the way or they will be sucked into space and immediately killed. Wait for your shield to repair and then get an engineer in there to patch up the breach.
This guide contains useful tips that will help you finish every mission in the game. The enemy info is for Normal mode only.
Mission 1 - Mercury (Antorian Scout battle)
Hull: 250 / Shield: 150 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: No
After you have finished the tutorial, you will be whisked away to planet Mercury. Here, you will meet your first enemy - a small Antorian scout ship - and get to make your first choice as captain.
If you choose 'open fire', the Antorian ship will have no shield when the mission starts. If you hail the ship and talk to the bug-eyed alien, the Antorian ship will fire its weapons at half the rate.
Either way, you'll start a fight. Put two crew members in your weapon room and fire away at the enemy. Use your dodge generator room, as described above, to avoid incoming attacks.
You'll be done in no time, with some new tokens and a second mission for your efforts. If you have enough tokens, build a healing room or a second weapon. You can also make a stop at Earth and pick up some more crew members.
Mission 2 - Mars (Zombie Russian Cosmonaut battle)
Hull: 2000 / Shield: 2000 / Weapons: No / Invaders: Yes
You will be attacked by zombies, and must hold out for five minutes. The ship won't fire upon you, and you can't destroy it, so you don't need to worry about shields, dodging, or weapons.
Instead, turn as many crew members into red shirts as possible (by assigning them to weapons rooms and the bridge) and station them near the zombies so your crew will shoot at the undead.
Keep moving your crew away from the zombies. Send them into the healing room if a crew member is wounded.
Once you're done, reassign your crew to their normal rooms and move on. You can spend your tokens on any rooms you didn't buy in the last mission, upgrading your rooms, or hiring new crew members at Earth.
When you're finished, head to Venus.
Mission 3 - Venus (Antorian Dreadnaught battle)
Hull: 500 / Shield: 600 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: Yes
In this mission, some Midorian refugees will temporarily beam aboard your ship. You'll also get Princess Saark, who can become a new crew member.
You'll then be hailed by an Antorian battleship. You will be given a choice: hand over the girl and receive four tokens, or protect the princess and fight off the Antorian.
If you choose the tokens, you will be given a slightly different set of missions - but the story will eventually converge.
In this tutorial, we will choose to protect the princess, as she is a skilled scientist with a triple heal range skill.
Also, we aren't total assholes.
If you're following our tutorial, you will now fight the Antorian ship. You will have to combine the lessons you learnt in missions one and two, and fight both invaders and an enemy starship simultaneously.
When you win, use engineers to patch up any broken bits, heal your crew members, and use your tokens to hire new astronauts and upgrade rooms. Then, go to Neptune.
Mission 4 - Neptune (Micari Space battle)
Hull: 2000 / Shield: 2000 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: No
You'll be no match for the Star Command flagship, so don't even bother firing back. Instead, assign your units to healing and engineering jobs and try to survive for two minutes.
Make sure your blue healing room is full so your shield will recharge at the fastest possible rate. Assign two crew members to the dodge generator and keep them in there, and constantly manufacture new dodge tokens.
Use those tokens to dodge as many incoming attacks as possible.
Assign two crew members to the engine room to make them become engineers. Now, guide these guys and gals to any fires caused by the Micari ship's lasers. Watch out for (and avoid) hull breaches, though.
Keep on top of all this and you should make it out alive, captain. To the Tarsus galaxy!
Pit Stop: Norfoo
We arrive at planet Norfoo. Here, you can choose whether or not to keep the princess as a crew member. Though it's always useful to have more bods on board, remember that if the princess dies, it's Game Over.
You'll also be able to hire new crew members. Take some time to re-hire any crew members who were killed in the Micari battle, using your newly earned tokens. Or upgrade some rooms.
Also, generate a couple of dodge tokens and attend to any fires or weak areas of your hull before setting off.
The game now opens up, so you can tackle a number of planets - namely Pip, Cranus, Naut, Seltix, and Ovior - in any order. It's entirely up to you.
Mission 5 - Ovior (Avarian Preying Bird battle)
Hull: 800 / Shield: 800 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: Yes
No matter what you say to these angry birds, you'll end up coming to blows.
Their weapons and invaders start at almost full blast, so you'll be thrown right into the thick of it.
Make sure you've got a few soldiers in the hallways to handle incoming birdmen. They have guns, so you will be shot at. Have a healer nearby, then, to fix up any injured soldiers.
After the initial attack, you'll find it's a pretty typical battle, so just follow the normal routine. When the enemy hull gets below about 200 hit points, you'll win the fight.
Fix any fires, upgrade some rooms, replace any lost crew members at Norfoo, and then head to the next planet.
Mission 6 - Pip (Trilaxian Axion battle)
Hull: 600 / Shield: 700 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: Yes
Don't be fooled by this alien's sales patter: if you agree to beam him on board, he will teleport a bomb to your ship and you'll start the next battle with a mighty big hole in your hallway.
So, refuse to teleport him on board, and you'll start a typical battle. Watch out, though: like the Avarians, this enemy ship starts with its weapons and invaders nearly ready to rock.
Invading Trilaxians will shoot back against your soldiers, so have medics nearby to heal wounded soldiers. Make sure medics go back to the healing room between fights so the ship's shield regenerates at the maximum speed.
Once you have won, fix your ship, upgrade your rooms, re-hire lost crew members, and proceed.
Mission 7 - Cranus (Cortex ship battle)
Hull: 950 / Shield: 600 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: Yes
A typical ship battle against some bottled-brain freaks. Watch out for invaders: they don't shoot back and they don't even attack your units. But they will cause fires in random rooms. Make sure an engineer is following them to clean up.
Once the ship is destroyed and all invaders are killed, you will win. Fix up, hire members, upgrade rooms, and move on.
Mission 8 - Naut (Grol 01011001 battle)
In this battle, you will be given three options: peace, power, or tokens. Here's how each battle plays out.
Peace: Hull 5000 / Shield: 5000 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: Yes
In this peace mission, you will have to defend from a very powerful ship for four minutes. There are also invaders to deal with.
These creepy faceless aliens will multiply as they walk around your ship, so it's imperative that you surround them with gun-toting red shirts and kill them as soon as they land on your ship.
Their weapon - a powerful laser beam - is deadly, so station a healer nearby to keep your soldiers alive.
If you win, you will receive one blue token.
Power: Hull: 800 / Shield: 600 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: No
This is a standard ship battle. There are no invaders, so concentrate on firing your weapons, generating dodge tokens, and fixing up any fires caused by the Grol's weapons.
Win, and you'll receive one red token along with a skilled alien soldier called Lothaar. Handy.
Tokens: Hull: 800 / Shield: 600 / Weapons: No / Invaders: Yes
To win tokens, you must kill four aliens in hand-to-hand combat. They will multiply as they walk around your ship, so it's imperative that you surround them with gun-toting red shirts and kill them as soon as they land on your ship.
Also, they don't wait for their buddies to die before teleporting onto your ship (they arrive roughly every minute), so you'll have to split up your forces to tackle all four aliens.
You don't have to worry about dodging or repairing in this mission, so use engineers to replace dead soldiers and healers.
Kill all four and let time run out, and you'll get your prize: two red tokens, a yellow token, and a blue token.
Mission 9 - Seltix (Vocar Inquisitor battle)
Hull: 525 / Shield: 900 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: Yes
It doesn't matter what you say here: you will enter into a fight with the Vocar.
This is a standard ship battle. But watch out for invaders: they are extremely powerful and should be tackled with caution. Once the enemy ship has exploded and all invaders are dead, you will win.
Mission 10 - Jupiter (Antorian Dreadnaught battle)
Hull: 800 / Shield: 1200 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: Yes
Once you have finished the missions at Pip, Cranus, Naut, Seltix, and Ovior, you will be asked to return to the Solar System, and to planet Jupiter.
Here, you will fight the extremely powerful Antorian Dreadnaught. Take it on with everything you've got, but look out for invaders.
There are two types of invaders. Big bulky ants can't shoot but can do melee attacks, so keep your distance. Smaller ants carry guns and shoot, so use your healers to keep your soldiers in fighting form.
Once the enemy ship's hull is in critical condition, you'll win the battle. Heal up, upgrade your rooms, and head off to Uranus!
Mission 11 - Uranus (Antorian Dreadnaught battle)
Hull: 600 / Shield: 750 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: Yes
The Star Command ship is full of traitors, so choose 'blow that human vessel' to immediately destroy the ship with a bomb. Now, you can concentrate on the Antorians.
The battle is very similar to the last fight in the Antorians, down to the same types of invaders. If you finished the last fight, you'll know how to complete this one.
Now, dust yourself off, fix yourself up, and head to Saturn.
Mission 12 - Saturn (Antorian Dreadnaught battle)
Hull: 600 / Shield: 900 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: Yes
Another Antorian battle now. Similar stuff to the last two battles, but now you'll have to face fire ants, which create fires when in close quarters combat with your crew. Needless to say, you should keep your distance from these icky bugs.
Once the ship has been destroyed and all invaders have been killed, you will be victorious. Your next mission is at Earth, so you'll need to head to Norfoo for replacement crew members.
Mission 13 - Earth (Human Capital Ship Olympus battle)
Hull: 1000 / Shield: 1100 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: Yes
This will be the hardest mission you've fought yet: a very powerful ship, and lots of strong invaders (ants with guns, charging ants, fire ants, and humans with guns).
Here's how I finished this mission...
First, I filled the weapon rooms to capacity. Then, I put as many crew members as possible in the bridge. Then, I filled the healing room, and put the last crew member in the engine.
I then split the crew relatively evenly, and hid them all in the weapon rooms. This way, I would be able to kill intruders as they come through the doors with a small army of soldiers (and a healer for backup).
Hopefully, your ship will hold out as you hit the Olympus with a barrage of laser and machine gun fire. And if you're really lucky, hull breaches in the hallway will kill some invaders.
Once you're done, fix yourself up, assign the crew members that Goorn hands you, and head to Antoria.
Mission 14 - Antoria (Antorian Dreadnaught battle)
Hull: 850 / Shield: 900 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: Yes
Another tricky Antorian Dreadnaught battle. After the ship started to become overwhelmed with Antorian invaders, I used a similar tactic to the one above to survive long enough to destroy the ship.
Mission 15 - Antoria (Human Capital Ship Olympus battle)
Hull: 1100 / Shield: 1400 / Weapons: Yes / Invaders: Yes
Welcome to the final battle. Buckle up: this is going to be a tough fight.
Your ship will probably be quite battered from the last war, but this can be used to your advantage. Hull breaches will instantly kill some invaders, which will lighten the load for your crew members.
If you're having trouble, use the old 'hide everyone in a weapons room and slowly chip away at the enemy's ship until you win' tactic. It's a good 'un.
When you win, you will be told that there's a new ship at Phobos back in the Sol system. Let's go.
Pit Stop: Phobos
At Phobos, you will get to choose a new ship. There's the Medium Sagan class, the Medium Tyson class, and the Medium Hawking class. Like with many choices in Star Command, your options are more limited than they seem.
All three ships have the same number of rooms - two weapons, three small, and two large - but just slightly tweaked layouts.
Here are your options...
Once you have chosen your ship, take the hail from Micari and you will start the game from scratch (only with a bigger ship and some more difficult enemies to tackle). A new game+, if you will.
Units will earn EXP in tactics (red), engineering (yellow) and science (blue) as they perform actions like combat, repair, and healing.
If you get enough points in one discipline, you'll unlock a skill.
Here's what you can work towards:
10 - Triple range for 20 seconds
20 - Invulnerability for 20 seconds
30 - 300% fire rate for seven seconds
10 - Triple repair range for 20 seconds
20 - Double movement speed for 30 seconds
30 - Repair area instantly
10 - Triple heal range for 30 seconds
20 - Double movement speed for 30 seconds
30 - Heal all units in the area instantly
Rooms and upgrades
These are all the rooms you can purchase in Star Command, and their associated upgrades. Large rooms are only available on medium class ships, which you unlock when you have completed the game once.
Assign crew members to the bridge to make extra red soldier units.
|Central Command||Hull walls 25% stronger|
|Command Display||Shields +20% capacity|
|Crew Intertube||Bridge crew +15% critical shot|
Assign crew members to the engine to make extra yellow engineer units.
|Calcutron 2000||Engineers +20% repair rate|
|Synchro Maximo||Shields +15% recharge rate|
|Energy Tank||Engineers +10% move rate|
(Small) Plasma Torpedo
Inflicts a large amount of damage, but requires ammo to fire.
|Anti-Anti Chamber||Plasma recharge rate +15%|
|Quantum Computee||Plasma Token Production +25%|
|Plasmatic Ionizer||Plasma damage +20%|
(Small) Machine Gun
|Gun Control||15% extra gun damage|
|Tubular Tube Tubs||Target speed 10% slower|
|Power Bricks||1 extra target reticule|
(Small) Laser Cannon
|Encarta Console||Laser +15% recharge rate|
|Minigame Emulator||Half a second longer in laser aiming|
|Delta Oscillator||15% extra laser damage|
(Small) Dodge Generator
Produces dodge tokens, and lets you avoid incoming fire when charged.
|Compugram Logic||Dodge recharge rate +10%|
|Focal Inhibitor||Dodge token production +25%|
|Inertia Console||Dodge crew +20% dodge vs aliens|
(Small) Healing Room
Crew members are healed when in this room. Also repairs your shield.
|Work Desk||Heal rate +15%|
|Clean Room||Crew heals +200% inside of lab|
|Science Futon||Science crew +10% hit points|
(Small) Shield Booster
Boosts your shield, reducing the amount of hull damage you take.
|Armstrong Calculator||Shield boost +20% recharge|
|Overflow Capacitor||Shield depletion threshold reduced 25%|
|Spline Reticulate||Shield token production +15%|
Dead crew members are brought back from the dead. Unless they're sucked into space.
|Gamma Ray Closet||Revive tokens produce 25% faster|
|MRIFBXPK||Revive time +8 seconds|
|Franks Tank||Revival health +50%|
Provides tactical crew members with grenades.
|Mini Hadron||Grenade production +25%|
|Antimass Condenser||Grenade range +15%|
|Happy Motivator||Tactical crew damage +15%|
Engineers can build temporary sentry robots to help defend from incoming attacks.
|Whimsical Spinsical||25% more sentry life|
|Reused CPU Asset||25% better sentry firepower|
|Teredyne R-6000||25% faster token build rate|