This is a screenshot of the video game 500 Years Act 1, featuring the player's space ship firing a machine gun at an enemy space ship which is also firing a machine gun at the player's ship. The player's shields are mostly full and the enemy's shields are down. In the background are stars and a planet. The enemy's ship is moving away from the player's ship and the player's ship is moving upwards.

500 Years Act 1 Review

Genre | Top Down Shooter Space Opera
Developer | Poorwill Games
Platforms | iOS, Android
Website | http://www.poorwillgames.com/pages/500YearsAct1.html

500 Years Act 1 is a top down space combat adventure game. The player takes control of the captain of a ship that is launched the eponymous 500 years after humans have left Earth to establish colonies. The player’s colony was attacked by aliens called Ants and enslaved until recently. The player must fly the ship around the universe in an attempt to find other surviving human colonies and prepare for a possible return of the Ants. Gameplay includes exploration of the universe by moving from system to system, top down space combat, and dialog trees.

500 Years Act 1 contains eight species, thirty eight planets, twelve systems, nine weapons, three crew members, and five ship statistics including armor ,energy, engines, computer, and shields. The player controls their ship by setting its movement heading with one dial and its facing with another dial. Moving in the same direction the ship is facing is faster than moving in another direction. The weapons on the player’s ship fire automatically at the targeted enemy. The player can switch targets by pressing the next or previous target buttons. The player’s ship will not fire at enemies that are not targeted.

Ships in 500 Years Act 1 have both shields and health. Shields recharge after a time and health does not, except for the player’s ship’s health, which recharges after each fight. When the player enters a battle their ship and the enemy ships are in random locations. Sometimes enemy ships are close by the player. Other times they are at a distance. The player chooses which weapon to equip before a fight begins. Some weapons are more effective at close ranges while others are more effective at a distance. If the player loses a fight they can restart the fight or skip the fight. During some battles the player faces a large number of enemy ships which have a small percent change to kill themselves each time they fire their weapon. If a large number of enemy ships kill themselves in this way, the player is more likely to win the battle.

The graphics in 500 Years Act 1 are in a hand drawn style. They depict portraits of characters the player speaks with, enemy ships, planets, and illustrations that give information during cutscenes. The sounds in 500 Years Act 1 include the sound of guns firing, the sounds of people cheering and saying “yay” and “woo” and clapping when the player wins a battle, and and voice saying “caaaaaaaaaptaaaaaiiiiin” when the player’s ship is destroyed. The music in 500 Years Act 1 is in the style of MIDI music and features a piano.

The player has various choices in conversations in 500 Years Act 1, such as whether to fire on sight at pirates or attempt to reason with them. Often every option available to the player leads to the same result. Unless the player equips level two engines on their ship, some enemy ships are fast enough to fly backwards indefinitely, firing at the player’s ship. If the player has not equipped a weapon with a long enough range to fire at the enemy ship, the player will likely lose the battle. The story in 500 Years Act 1 includes torture, slavery, animal cruelty, and aliens. The number of unexplored systems the player can visit at any point in the game is restricted to two or three during most points in the game.

This is a score for an objective game review.