Epic Astro Story

Epic Astro Story
Epic Astro Story Cover
Platforms Android, iOS
Genre Sucky space simulator
Score 3  Clock score of 3

All good things must come to an end: I just finished the first Kairosoft game I would call bad. I’ve played a few Kairosoft sims that were unbalanced or boring, but never both. Epic Astro Story is the official low bar among a great series of games that range from training a soccer team to running a game design studio.

Epic Astro Story is a space colony sim where you build up an industrial/tourism complex on an empty planet while sending out away-parties to explore the darkness around you. While traveling through caves, mountains, and deserts, your team will fight against local bad guys for the right to the land.

I’ve had great success with Kairosoft games so far, most of them have clicked really well with me and my tastes, but from the start I had issues with Epic Astro Story. Here’s my review.

Like most Kairosoft titles, you’re juggling multiple aspects of the simulation at once. In Epic Astro Story, you’re tasked with exploring the unknown planet you landed on while simultaneously trying to attract tourism to it to an array of aliens. On paper this sounds decent, but the execution is poor and leads to possibly the worst outcome of a mobile game: boredom.

Exploration brings a first to Kairosoft games: actual fighting. You can equip your away-team with weapons and armor, boosting their attack and defensive stats as much as possible with equipment. Pay the away-team fee to send them off to unexplored territory, and watch as they slowly tread across the bottom of the screen indicating their progress. Every once in a while they’re report in with canned responses about how they just found some rare item worth money or are feeling happy or simply need more cash to continue on the mission. At the end of the cave/mountain/desert they’ll fight a battle and that’s that. If you win the battle, the territory is yours, if you lose, your away-team comes back ready to fight another day.

Epic Astro Story Battle

I won’t get into the sort of disturbing idea of tromping across the wilderness, beating up the local indigenous animals with the express purpose of building hotels and factory on their land (because I’m a heartless bastard and really don’t care about that aspect), but I will get into the fact that this is extremely tiresome. Some Kairosoft sims experience a bit of lag time as you wait for funds to come in or the next race to start, but this only amounts to maybe 10% of the total time. In Epic Astro Story you’re sitting around for 80% of the game time waiting for something to happen. Most of that time is spent watching your away team walk slowly across the screen.

The single, inevitable fight at the end of each mission is mildly entertaining as you can actually see your team battle it out with the monsters of the forest, but the math behind the battles is simple and dull. Pocket League Story and Grand Prix Story are great games that translate a matrix of numbers into an exciting soccer match or F1 car race. Epic Astro Story’s battle system translates a matrix of numbers into what is essentially a pre-determined back and forth hack fest. I hit you, you hit me. Whoever hits the hardest is going to win.

I guess Kairosoft deserves props for at least providing any battle system, but the effort is weak compared to some of their other recent games.

Epic Astro Story City Building

As for the tourism/city-building aspect, the world map is laid out like a grid, and each building takes up exactly one square. You need to balance housing for your workers/fighters, hotels for tourists, farm fields, mines, factories, and roads. In most Kairosoft games, the economy is usually broken so you’re making too much money, but in Epic Astro Story the economy is just plain broken. There’s no explanation how farm fields interact with factories, converters, and exporters, but producing things is basically how you’re expected to make all your money. Mix in tourists and how they can seemingly step into part of the supply chain and mess up your quantities and I’m extremely baffled.

But even though the tourism economy is broken, the away team members are pretty much self-sustainable. It all feels so very pointless. And you know what bothers me the most? It takes 10 years to explore your whole planet, one set of squares at a time, but you have access to rocket ships that travel to other planets! How can you not just survey the ground and map out the planet? How am I able to travel at the speed of light before I can build a bridge over one square of water?

An unsatisfying attempt at city-building and exploration from Kairosoft. Think I need another break from their games.

Overall: 3 / 10


Year 16 Totals

  • Final Money: $14753.5
  • Final Research Points: 637
  • Friendly Planets: 6
  • Developed Land: 100
  • Relations: 1400
  • Technologies: 37
  • Residents: 40
  • Products: 13
  • Special Developments: 26
  • Guests: 15174
  • Total: 646,863