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Game Info:

Flotilla
Developed By: Blendo Games
Released: February 27, 2010 
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Available On: PC, Xbox 360
Genre: Turn-based strategy
Number of Players: 2
Price: $9.95 (GamersGate) or 400 Microsoft points (Xbox 360)

Thank you GamersGate for the review copy of this game!

Flotilla is a turn-based strategy game set in an animal inhabited space universe. You and your crew are struggling to survive in the vast reaches of outer space with a fleet of two space ships. The problem, however, is that the pilot is struggling with a terminal condition and only has 7 months to live.

Every time you begin playing the game, you will be presented with numerous different planets that you may visit. The universe is randomly generated every time you start a new game so you won't have the same story on every playthrough. On your adventure you will come across several animal species with different conflicts and problems. Sometimes you are given the choice to either do the right or the wrong thing. For instance, I came across a planet that was inhabited by humans who had a sickly disease and I had to choose to either terminate them or wait until a cure is found. I'm happy to see these moral choices available in the game. When it comes down to conflict, your position is shown as self-defense. 

You will find several ship parts that help you power up your fleet with stronger weapons and armor. Depending on your luck and moral choices, You may also find some recruitable crew on your adventure that will come supplied with an extra ship. There are plenty of different types of spaceships that you will find on your journey, all of them have unique abilities with different strengths and weaknesses.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Great replay value; Excellent soundtrack
Weak Points: Short length; Mediocre graphics
Moral Warnings: Blood; Explosions; Alcohol consumption; Sexual content

The gameplay is relatively simple and enjoyable but has a steep learning curve. When you fall into a conflict on your journey, you will be presented with a battle sequence where your fleet will have the ability to take down the enemy units. You begin by instructing your fleet to do different commands such as: flanking (which increases the speed of the unit but doesn't attack), attacking (which gives you moderate speed and attack) and focus fire (slow movement but faster firing rate). Then you can control the movement of your fleet horizontally and vertically. When you end your turn, all of your commands will come to life and hopefully, you will inflict damage on the enemy units. Some weapons won't be able to penetrate the armor of a few units and the only way to inflict damage is by attacking from below the unit or behind. When you do strike an opponent, there is a gauge that builds up and when it's fully built up you can smite an enemy ship during any battle you come across. So expect some intense battles when getting into a conflict with enemies.

The music is beautiful and I really enjoyed listening to the soundtrack. When you come across assassins, you will hear deep and distressful music. When you're in battle, you will hear a nice, serene piano piece. Which is interesting considering it's not exactly a peaceful moment. Nevertheless, it's still enjoyable to listen to and helps you keep calm while in distress.

Visually, the game could use some work. Although Flotilla has it's own unique style, I would have appreciated better detail on the space units. The environments are dull but I didn't really expect much considering Flotilla is based in space. The most you'll see on the battle field are destroyed ship parts and asteroids.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 73%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 6.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 9/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 5/10

If you can't get the hang of the combat, there is a skirmish mode that puts you against an AI opponent. Also, if you have a friend nearby, you can play against each other in the skirmish mode if you have a gamepad or extra controller laying around. You can also co-cooperatively play the adventure mode with a friend, so that's a plus.

Morally, there are a few things that you should watch out for when playing Flotilla. I warn you, though, some of the things I will mention could spoil the game for you. So, for one, you will be shown some imagery that has blood in it. You will come across a goddess who is wearing revealing clothing that is similar to a bikini. There is an unskippable moment where you will be drinking vodka and partying. There are moral choices but sometimes you get punished for doing the right thing. Also, since the game is based in space, you will see a lot of explosions. I'd like to point out that because the universe is randomly generated, it's hard for me to tell you every single unclean thing in the game. So, to be safe, I'd avoid this title if you're worried about blood, violence, alcohol consumption and sexual content.

I'd also like to point out that the game ends when you visit 7 planets because of the terminal sickness that the pilot has. When you complete those 7 months, your score gets posted on an online leaderboard. So, the game ends up extremely short and disappointing. On the plus side, the universe does randomly generate when you start a new game so the replay value is really high. There is a hardcore mode that gives you a longer lifespan but with harder battles. And you are promised a unique adventure every single time you play through the game.

In concept, Flotilla feels fresh and innovative, yet, due to the game design choices and mediocre graphics, Flotilla comes out short from what you'd expect. However, don't let that turn you off from this excellent title. The battle system is great, the music is pleasant and the game feels complete. I would like to see a sequel in the future that offers a colossal universe, greater length and a deeper combat system.  Until then, I will enjoy playing Flotilla whenever I feel the need to explore a vast universe.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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