Last Updated on Samuel Franklinby
Gaming Archive #7 – Starfall Tactics (Starfall Online)
Learn more about the history, development, launch and ultimate shut down of the spaced themed MMO of Starfall Tactics (officially released in 2020 under the name Starfall Online) developed and published by Snowforged Entertainment. In this latest gaming archive entry Games Finder dives deep into the lifecycle of the Starfall Tactics MMO, if you want to learn more about why we publish this series of gaming archive content you can read about its purpose on our first gaming archive page.
Before diving deeper into the history of Starfall Tactics below I also want to share the story of my own history with Starfall Tactics as this is the basis for much of the information included below. I first heard of Starfall Tactics through the Steam Greenlight program sometime around late 2016 as I often spent a lot of time exploring this Steam feature to find new and interesting upcoming games that were trying something different. While I’d never dived too deep into games like EVE Online due to sheer scale and time commitment required I’ve always enjoyed other spaced theme games like FTL (even publishing several gaming guides for the game) and dabbled in a few single player ship to ship (or fleet to fleet) combat games over the years although none had ever really stuck. Something about seeing Starfall Tactics on greenlight though intrigued me given it seemed to the be at just the right level of customisation and depth I had been looking for while also being impressed with the screenshots and videos of the game for such a seemingly small and new game development team.
Unfortunately for me I never had the opportunity to actually play Starfall Tactics after it released on Steam as I was deep into Escape From Tarkov at that stage (also made by a small Russian developer) and missed the release window entirely before it was removed from the Steam store sometime in early 2023 from what I can tell. This means that Starfall Tactics joins my large directory of games that no longer are available to play.
The History of Starfall Tactics / Starfall Online
The first video on the official Starfall Tactics YouTube channel was released in January 2015 and showed in game footage (from Unreal Engine 4) of space ship battles and space stations demonstrating a reasonable amount of development work had already been invested into the space themed MMO. A few months later in May 2015 a Kickstarter campaign was launched seeking $45k to develop this deep and highly customisable space adventure and despite 437 backers the MMO title fell short by around half of its Kickstarter goal in June 2015. During this period though the game was able to achieve Greenlit status from the now retired Steam Greenlight feature that would help enable the games eventual release on the Steam platform.
Despite the unsuccessful campaign Snowforged Entertainment pledged to continue development on Starfall Tactics with their new found community of interest and pushed forward into an Alpha/Early Access roadmap and eventual full release. A year later in June 2016 Starfall Tactics held a pre-alpha test event that included community rewards to the commanders brave enough to step into the universe with this playtest including customisable fleets, quick matches and the open world of thousands of planets of other players and pirates. Updates were relatively slow although included a number of dev diary entries, a devlog in mid 2018 and even a domination tournament where players fought with spaceships for control of a portion of the galaxy. During this time the Russian based development company from Siberia appears to have had just over half a dozen employees developing the game content and received media attention from the likes of MMOHuts and PC Gamer.
The full release of Starfall Tactics (now renamed to Starfall Online) occurred in February 2020 on the Steam platform and appears to have been removed from sale sometime in early 2023 where the game acquired a mixed review rating from just over 100 reviews. As noted above I unfortunately missed this release window despite following the game loosely over the years but from the Steam reviews the comments about gameplay all seemed positive with most of the negative reviews focused on the lack of player base that hurt the MMO element. Of particular praise was the ranked game mode that focused on PvP fleet versus fleet combat and considered to be the most polished element of the game, It would have been interesting to see how the game would have faired had it been a single player focused game with multiplayer elements or focused heavily on the ranked mode instead given this feedback but unfortunately we’ll never know as the game was not developed further leaving it suffer the same fate as many other MMO games.
Starfall Tactics Features
Starfall Tactics was primarily designed to be a real time MMO strategy game that focused on tactical combat between customised fleets of ships of the player base from various blueprint designs. Allowing players to assemble a unique fleet to explore the galaxy or fight other players the game was split between the ranked PvP combat focused mode and the classic exploration mode that included PvE content against pirate and other faction enemies. These three factions known as the Eclipse, Vanguard and Deprived were each seeking to increase their claim to the galaxy through ship to shop combat with players able to align themselves to one of these factions while seeking out their own progression.
Regardless of this the spaceships you commanded were at the centre of your adventure with spaceships having various classes that could each perform different roles in your fleet to create that blend of strategic gameplay. In addition the six different ships (frigate, cruiser, battlecruiser, battleship, dreadnought and carrier) players could modify each with 4 different modifications before applying customisation to engines, shields, shield regenerator, armour, weapons and special equipment to create hundreds of combinations and in turn strategies to use. Building on this further the Starfall Tactics experience offered tactical combat and advanced damage system whereby players had to consider real world physics be it projectile speed, line of fire and structural damage to your components.
Starfall Tactics Media (Screenshots/Video)
Below is a selection of Starfall Tactics screenshots and video for archival purposes: