July 24, 2013 4:55 PM | Paul Hack
Space Lord is a clever and entertaining strategy/puzzle game from axcho, with art by knivel and daringbaron, the same team responsible for The Love Letter. This game puts you in the role of the Space Lord, the entity in charge of a Galaga-like fleet of spaceships that are ready to descend upon any challenger at your command.
The designer, axcho, has called Space Lord a "level design puzzle game" and it's an apt description. Originally conceived and prototyped as an entry for Ludum Dare 25 (theme: "You Are the Villain"), Space Lord has been expanded, polished, and given a graphical overhaul. The gameplay has been retooled considerably, and has evolved from real-time action to a more cerebral turn-based style.
Each level, or wave, occurs over two phases: First you place your ships, and then the space hero takes them on in real-time. Your interface is a grid at the top of the screen and you design each wave's formation by clicking a ship type and then clicking on the grid to place one, or dragging to place several at a time. Each ship type has different characteristics, which are up to you to learn. Click "Send Wave" when you're ready.
As the Space Lord, your goal is not to defeat the player, but to create a fun experience for them. Your waves can't be too hard nor too easy, or the player will quit in frustration or boredom. There is a happiness meter at the bottom of the screen, and you need to fill it to 100% and keep it from reaching zero. Keep an eye on the meter and listen to the player's feedback to find out what works and what doesn't.
The highest scoring designs will be saved in a hall of fame, and can actually be played. See if you can defeat other Space Lords by playing Space Hero.