This is simply one of the best board game apps available to date. The New Star Realms update continues the Out-Of-This-World experience.
We were pretty excited to hear that Star Realms was getting a major update this week. As you may have heard, we here at Pixelated Cardboard are pretty big fans. It is an already great app getting a major overhaul, we were hopeful going in, but we could easily see how it might have gone south and mucked with a great game. How did it turn out? Here's our Star Realms Update Reaction.
This is entirely icing on the cake. The old visuals were just fine, why do a complete makeover? Well, despite my concerns, I must say that the update looks amazing. Your cards look a bit bigger as the game essentially tilts the perspective. There are numerous small visual additions which add up to make the game just a little bit better. Without explaining each minor change to this Star Realms update, it's sufficient to say the game game has added a lot more awareness of what is going on. This will help most players. The attention paid to these kind of details made the app shine in the first place, and we're glad to see that continue and expand here.
Star Realms update brought along some slight control changes made which slightly alter how you interact with cards at times. I played the old version so much that I'm having a difficult time getting used to some of the changes. I'm sure this will fade over time, but the changes to some of the zooming crossed me up a few times in the early going. That’s not to say the new way is worse than the old, I just need some time to adjust.
The switch to have a rank floor was a major change to online play. Previously, every player had a floor of level five and every loss counted. With the update, once you reach a new level, that is your new floor. This is an interesting twist to online play. The constant battle to maintain your level was always a big draw of online play. Go on a losing streak and you see your level drop accordingly, or watch it rise after pulling of a string of Ws. The feature was put in place to help the large group of players who get stuck at level five. The good news here is that you can still drop within your current level. I’m currently level 21 and it requires 22 wins to reach level 22. I was at four wins, lost a game, and dropped to 3. This makes sure that this isn’t strictly a case where the more you play, the more wins you are bound to get so the more you will level up. You still have to work for those wins (22 of them, in my case) to reach the next level. The change simply puts a floor on how far you drop. Overall, if this new system helps engage new players more, it’s a big win for the Star Realms app.
Campaign chapters within Colony Wars
Bright new graphics!
Fireworks in Space!
The big one for many players of Star Realms. Colony Wars is the standalone expansion which is basically an entirely new game under the same familiar set of Star Realms rules. The total comes out to be 43 new ships and bases added by this expansion. As advertised, it is an entirely new game in the Star Realms world. You can play with any subset of your expansions, which means if you want to throw Colony Wars in with the core set, go ahead. Or just play Colony Wars with Heroes, or Bases, etc… Any combination you want is fair game. This provides a lot of variation both in AI and Online play.
The Colony Wars cards do a great job of providing a different game than that original core set. The factions still play to their strengths, but there are new abilities added. Stealth Tower of the Machine Cult is an early favorite, it is the base equivalent of Stealth Needle, it can copy any base currently in play. The Star Empire added bases which allow you you discard in exchange for Trade or Combat. The Blob faction now has three cards which allow you to acquire a card of ___ or less for free, extending the ability of Blob Carrier from the core set. Federation now has two separate cards which provide Trade, Combat, and Authority, outside of a faction bonus ability. All factions now have cards which can be purchased directly into your hand if you have played a card of that faction on your current turn.
Overall, Colony Wars offers a different way to play Star Realms. It doesn’t have any major overhauls, but is different enough to provide some extra fun both online and versus AI. The expansion also comes with two new campaign chapters, each with six missions.
It should be noted that the Android launch had a handful of issues. The main one was a crash problem that some people had. The White Wizard Support team was active in addressing these issues and got an update pushed to Google Play within a couple of days. I had an issue where I couldn’t connect online which meant no online play and no verification of my Colony Wars purchase. Support advised an uninstall, reboot, reinstall and that did the trick for me. With such a massive overhaul to the game, bugs would be hard to avoid, kudos to the support team for getting these issues solved quickly.
This is a great update to an already great Star Realms game. The level of effort made to produce totally unnecessary, but great, visual improvements shows the dedication the White Wizard Games team has towards this app. The big haul for longtime players is the Colony Wars expansion which essentially doubles the card pool from the base game. Players of the physical version will be familiar with the new cards and abilities, those who have only played the app will find a wealth of great new choices.
Overall, this Star Realms update is fantastic. It won’t change your mind about the app if you aren’t a fan, but it should be warmly received by long time players.