‘Twas an odd coincidence that Startopia and Double Fine’s Spacebase DF-9 alpha arrived on Steam so hot on each other’s heels. The current paucity of activities in the latter would have had me hankering for the former even if a digital postman were not able to immediately deliver it to my hard drive – it’s one of few games I still have a hard copy of lurking on my shelf. Mucky Foot’s space station-set management game was something of an era-ender, the last great gasp of the Theme Park descendant genre as-was. We’re seeing a renaissance of sorts of now, with Prison Architect, Spacebase and the craven Godus, but the fully-formed, big budget age essentially ended with Startopia (though you could argue similar for the muddled Republic: The Revolution, a deeply strange Icarus of a game from Mucky Foot’s fellow post-Bullfrog offshot, Elixir.)
I’ve made Startopia my destination once again for the last couple of days, my first extensive revisit in many years, and I’m relieved to discover that it now exudes at least some of the timeless quality to be found in relative contemporaries such as Dungeon Keeper and Theme Park.
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