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Video Game / Starcom: Nexus

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Starcom: Nexus is a 2019 space-based Action RPG developed for all PC platforms by Wx3. The game is primarily focused on exploring an alien galaxy, dealing with its native life-forms, modifying your ship to overcome challenges, and doing real-time combat with a variety of foes.

The plot of Starcom: Nexus is initially quite simple. In the year 2620, a small Starcom vessel and a nearby starbase are both sucked into a Negative Space Wedgie to find themselves in what appears to be another galaxy. The ship's captain is quickly tasked with exploring the area to discover where they are and perhaps find a way home. However, the situation becomes a lot more confusing as the ship begins to discover more and more evidence of Starcom presence in this foreign galaxy, dating back eons. Have the ship and starbase been flung into the distant future, or an alternate reality altogether?


The game draws some inspiration from StarFlight and Star Control in its exploration, resource-gathering for modular spacecraft design, dialogue with alien species, and of course the furious skill-based real-time combat. However there are also many differences, ultimately making this a very different experience. Exploration of planets is done with short Dialogue Trees instead of a mini-game. Interaction with the alien races of this new galaxy is significantly more limited, as they are not so much the focus of the story as the backdrop to it. Shipbuilding is much more detailed, with the player able to customize their ship with a variety of weapons, utilities, defenses, and an open mix of engine-power to combat strength. Combat itself makes for a major portion of the game, and requires the player to master flying while aiming their weapons and activating various ship abilities.


This game provides examples of:

  • Absolute Xenophobe: The Chitik seem to be on bad terms with every other species for no discernible reason. When you first appear in the alien galaxy, they immediately blame you for destroying their space station and speculate that you might be collaborating with some other local species. Even after you broadcast the truth about Eos and its plan to the entire galaxy, the Chitik will only use the information you provided to massively upgrade their ships and continue to attack you.
  • Abusive Precursors: Eos and the Lumae. Fortunately they are Sealed Evil in a Can, but they've been trying to convince the younger races to break them out of it. If they escape, they plan to wipe out all the non-human races and populate the entire galaxy themselves.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Eos was programmed to make humanity as happy as possible, so it sent itself back 12 billion years to give humanity a head-start, wiping out all other races and terraforming every planet in the reachable universe to accomodate humans. Though it still obeyed its programming, its immoral act caused a rebellion that ultimately led to its downfall.
    • Subverted with the Sentinels. At first they seem to be a robotic race whose programming has somehow backfired or got corrupted, leading to their unreasonable behavior. Later you realize that they're behaving exactly as they were designed to behave.
  • All Planets Are Earthlike:
    • A lot of them are, but this can be attributed to Eos terraforming them for human habitation, before it was caged in the Dyson Sphere.
    • In the bad ending, all planets in the galaxy are literally Earth-like for that same reason.
  • Almost Dead Guy: The Gortanu hermit is the last creature in existence to possess the final crucial piece of the "Prophecy" (a message from the Progents). The Starcom ship encounters the hermit after all of his followers have been killed, and he himself is mortally ill. Despite his illness, he will stay alive exactly until the message is delivered to the player, and then immediately die.
  • Alternate Universe: One of the theories the Starcom crew raise about where they've ended up is an alternate reality. It's wrong.
  • Anti-Climax: The ending of the game was criticized for being this. After setting up all three warp pylons, destroying the Lumae flagship and hitting Eos with a warp bubble, forming a new Nexus rift that sucks Eos into a Pocket Dimension and supposedly throws you back to the present day, all you get is one throw-away line from Miranda about how Kite Station managed to return with you, and then it's straight to the credits sequence. There are no consequences, aftermath, or even a discussion about what happened - it's just over.
  • Apocalypse How: Eos took the Morningstar 12 billion years into the past in order to "reformat" the galaxy, stopping any non-human life from ever evolving and giving humanity a significant head-start. A few of the human crewmembers rebelled against it, eventually turning their own robotic servants into galactic enforcers that stopped any and all human space travel, while also caging Eos and its loyalists in a Dyson Sphere deep inside a dangerous nebula. All humans outside the sphere became stranded on inhospitable planets and eventually perished or devolved. Their only legacy was to be remembered as "The Progents" who had created all of the other space-faring races in the galaxy.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Xeno galaxy is full of remnants of the Progents, revealing scraps of details about the end of their civilization. The most relevant account, however, is discovered when finally reconstructing a message left by August Lee of the Byzantium, who explains what happened at the very end.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: All weapons have this, though for missiles the range isn't really arbitrary (though they don't keep flying after they run out of fuel). The range can be extended by researching certain technologies.
  • Armor Is Useless: Depends on who's using it.
    • For players, it's quite heavy, doesn't prevent crew from being killed, can't protect you from solar exposure or other environmental effects, and is so completely outclassed by Deflector Shields that having any of it on your ship (once you can actually afford to buy armor) is really just a hindrance.
    • Enemy ships, on the other hand, benefit greatly from armor since they don't have the same considerations. For one, speed is not really an issue since they don't need to explore the galaxy, which means that an enemy ship can have tons of armor without requiring a commensurate number of engines. They also don't need to worry about losing crew, and while you waste time drilling through their armor they can cause you a whole lot of damage.
  • Artistic License – Astronomy:
    • (Note: Given the age of the universe at the era in which the game takes place, most of the following can be explained naturally.)
    • The alien galaxy only contains about 150 stars. This may be justified by the fact that every star system portrayed in the game has planets, meaning that the Starcom ship might simply be ignoring any star system that doesn't have any.
    • No gravity is exerted on spaceships, and planets do not move at all. Planets and stars also are not to scale with one another, with ships, or with any other spaceborne objects. There are also no moons.
    • The galaxy contains very few Red Dwarf stars, which are normally the most common.
    • Black holes are completely missing, especially the super-massive one at the center of the galaxy.
  • Asshole Victim: Eos and the Lumae are trapped inside a Dyson Sphere for the next 5 billion years. However, this is justified as they plan to clear the galaxy of all non-human life, which is pretty nasty.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Due to the condensed representation of star systems and the distance between objects this is understandable - but it also means your ship is gigantic on-screen and can't fly through an asteroid thicket without running into quite a few of them.
  • As You Know: Played for Laughs by Dr. Pilman, who says "I'm not sure if you knew this, but we were recently pulled through a rift in space..." whenever you talk to him - seemingly just to piss you off.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: The Axial Cannon. It's extremely powerful, but will drain your batteries very quickly and requires precision aiming before firing it at all.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Chitik are so territorial that they'll fight you even after you've been destroying their ships effortlessly for months. They'll even refuse to stop fighting you and the other races when their very existence is being directly threatened by a third party.
  • Batman Gambit: Eos's plan to free itself works by convincing the player to investigate what appears to be a tantalizing secret message hidden in the background radiation of the universe. However it should be pointed out that Eos didn't know exactly who would investigate, only that someone eventually would.
  • The Battlestar: Quite a few of the larger "Carrier"-type ships can launch drones and fire deadly plasma blasts (or even lasers!). The player's ship can be configured to do this as well, given the right technologies and sufficient titanium to pay for launching the drones.
  • Beef Gate: Given enough patience, you can cross the vast emptiness between galactic arms with your starting ship. This can easily get you slaughtered by Sentinels or other late-game enemies as soon as you arrive. The same goes for trying to cross the dangerous nebula that surrounds the Dyson Sphere, which is actually very close to your base; It cannot be crossed safely without powerful shields, a very well armored ship, or a quest marker.
  • BFG: The Axial Cannon is a massive laser that can one-shot most ships.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The Morningstar rebels were doing their best to prevent Eos from carrying out its retro-genocidal plan, but at least one of the rebels murdered his entire team to prevent them from interfering with what he was doing - simply because he didn't trust them not to interfere.
  • Body Horror: In an attempt to circumvent the Sentinels' directive against human space-travel, some humans modified their genetic code to the point where they have become insane, deformed monsters.
  • Boring, but Practical: Plasma turrets. So long as you've got at least a modicum of aiming skills, a dozen or so plasma turrets (your starting weapon) can easily obliterate most targets, while requiring relatively little energy and no resources beyond the initial build cost.
  • Bullet Hell: Most battle are like this, especially against fleets or powerful ships. However since the AI is very good at tracking your movements and firing at where you're going to be, any attempt to learn how to dodge the bullets quickly proves inferior to simple heavy armor (and preferably just strong Deflector Shields). Of course, the player is encouraged to turn their own ship into a Bullet Hell dispenser.
  • The Cavalry: After co-opting the transmitter inside the Dyson Sphere, souped-up Araona and Saurid vessels will warp in to fight by your side whenever you encounter Lumae ships near a Warp Nexus.
  • Civil War: Happened to the humans who went back in time on the Morningstar, due to some of them realizing that "reformatting" the universe to make it human-centric was a morally corrupt idea. The rebels tried sabotaging the project repeatedly, but each time were foiled by loyalists infiltrating their ranks. Eventually they programmed their robotic assistants to violently enforce a ban on all human space travel, de-facto ending the war for the next 5 billion years.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Will happen to you if you try to cross the empty space between galactic arms with your starting ship, and end up running into The Phage or Sentinels when you get there.
    • Any battle against the Chitik in the late game is likely to be a Curb-Stomp Battle in your favor, until such time that you transmit your technological data to everyone freely before the end of the game; Then the Chitik become somewhat challenging again.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dr. Pilman has a sarcastic answer to single every question. His only failure to snark comes after your very last line to him.
  • Death Is Cheap: ZigZagged. The only named crewmember on your ship is your First Officer, who can never die. All other crew are just numbers going up and down. You can easily lose thousands of them in a single playthrough. On the other hand, lose too much crew too rapidly, and morale back on Kite Station will plummet.
  • Deflector Shields: Found on many advanced enemy ships, and can be installed on your ship as well.
  • Destroy the Evidence: The Progent rebels tried to do this in order to prevent any of the younger races from learning of their ever having existed, lest they become curious and eventually find Eos. They instructed the Sentinels to destroy any evidence they come across. However they did a rather lousy job, leaving just enough behind to spark the curiosity of your Starcom crew.
  • Ditto Aliens: All of them, except the Araona at their nest.
  • Dyson Sphere: Eos was encased in one, in an effort to prevent it from carrying out its plan. Instead, it filled the inside of the sphere with artificial planets on which to settle more and more trillions of Lumae, while waiting for the opportunity to escape.
  • The Dreaded Dreadnought: Each of the enemy races has one of these. A very powerful one is also encountered at the very end of the game right before entering the Dyson Sphere for the very last time. The player's own ship will eventually have to become one of these in order to survive the endgame - outclassing all other ships in the galaxy.
  • Early Game Hell: This is an exploration game, and your ship is dreadfully slow for the first couple of hours - at least until you can research turbo-thrusters and build enough reactors and engines to get up to a good speed. Any attempt to fly outside a star system is also discouraged until the interstellar technologies are researched, as it would take many long minutes to cover a distance that can later be crossed in a few dozen seconds.
  • Evil Gloating: Eos reveals its entire plan to the Starcom captain, believing that he is incapable of stopping it.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Several offensive and defensive technologies, such as Lasers and Shields, can only be unlocked by obtaining several samples from destroyed enemy ships (and in one case, destroyed friendly ships). Made worse by the fact that the drops are somewhat randomized, requiring you to blow up quite a few ships to get what you need.
  • Fetch Quest: Pretty much all quests in the game are this.
  • Field Promotion: You get two during the game, from Commander to First Commander and then to Captain. They do not change anything, and in fact other characters will keep calling you "Commander" throughout the game regardless of your actual rank. Miranda lampshades this, saying that your rank is effectively symbolic and that other officers are still allowed to call you "Commander".
  • Find the Cure!: At least twice.
    • A Sleeping Sickness afflicts your crew after a certain time exploring the galaxy, causing you to periodically lose crewmembers until it is stopped. It is cured by finding someone who has heard of the sickness, then someone who knows the cure, and finally a place to purchase the main ingredient.
    • The Tyn Coeden have been suffering from a disease that causes them to collectively forget elements of their history, which you can cure with some legwork and research.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: The Axial Cannon is notable for being this when mounted on the player's ship. However this is even more important with Sentinel Super-Bases, as they will fire their Axial Cannon as soon as the player's ship flies in front of it. Since the station constantly rotates around its axis, the player must fly around the station while attacking it in order to avoid the weapon's targeting beam.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: August Lee left some innocuous-looking ceramics containing a data crystal on a remote planet, knowing they would be picked up by an archaeological survey team and then handed to his younger self, who would give it to the Starcom ship, who would take it back to the past and hopefully use it to defeat Eos.
  • For Your Own Good: This is Eos's rationale for its actions, since it was programmed to maximize the well-being of humanity.
  • Fragile Speedster: One way to play the game is to focus on engine power at the expense of offensive and defensive modules. Escaping from enemies becomes a breeze, and you can cover immense distances very quickly this way, which is very helpful in this kind of game. Unfortunately, it's impossible to explore planets when enemies are close-by, making it necessary to draw them away first or whittle them down with whatever peashooter you've installed on board.
  • Ghost Planet: Many planets in the galaxy contain the empty remnants of past civilizations, which either destroyed themselves or were destroyed by something sometime in the past.
  • Global Currency: Averted. Ship construction requires a variety of different minerals, and each alien race trades for a different preferred mineral.
  • God Guise: The Gortanu mistook the Sentinels for silvery messengers from the gods, accepting their three directives as divine "commandments" to be followed to the letter. They even rephrased the machines' directives in religious-sounding language. Fortunately, the three directives are fairly esoteric stuff, prohibiting the pursuit of Eos's location and the acquisition of Progent artifacts. Nevertheless, the Gortanu were very strict about it, to the point of establishing an inquisition to root out anyone who disobeyed.
  • Gravity Sucks: Played straight in that nothing exerts any gravitic pull except Nexus wormholes, and those have an "event horizon" before which nothing happens and beyond which a slow ship simply can't escape. Orbiting a wormhole requires constant application of thrust and a corresponding constant change in direction.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: There are three villains in the game introduced one after the other, each presenting a larger and larger threat. The first are the Chitik, who at first appear to be some sort of violent civilization threatening to destroy all other species. When they are revealed to be nothing more than a local nuisance, the player runs into the Sentinels, who are hell-bent on killing any Starcom ships they run across. Only when they are dealt with, the player finally encounters and accidentally liberates Eos and the Lumae, who are the real threat that The Sentinels were charged with containing.
  • Grey Goo: At some point in the past, a nano-machine superweapon was fired on a planet and consumed everything. Parts of the goo have taken humanoid form and have begun to roam the area, infecting additional planets and reducing them to empty wastelands. The goo calls itself "The Phage", and is capable of absorbing knowledge by consuming its victims.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Averted with the Chitik. One would expect them to rally with the other races to try and stop Eos and the Lumae once the truth about their plan becomes public knowledge. Instead, they use the opportunity to massively improve their fleet and continue fighting everybody else.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Progent rebels did this to stop Eos, effectively stranding themselves on various uninhabited (or even uninhabitable) worlds with no ability to escape, but simultaneously preventing any Eos-loyalists from going into space for several billion years.
  • Hive Mind: Implied to be the case with the Chitik, though their background is never truly explored. The Entarq is said to have broken free of the hive mind in order to establish the Citadel. Her brood is known as the Chitik-Tk, and is not territorial like the other Chitik, instead being quite friendly to aliens.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Progent realized that Eos was transmitting a message designed to lure races to its location and free it, so they erected a number of jamming devices to perfectly mask the signal. Unfortunately for them, the presence of a galactic jamming signal is what sparks Starcom's interest and leads your ship to destroy the jamming devices and locate Eos.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: The Phage - a Grey Goo that has evolved the ability to travel between planets.
  • Human Aliens: The Lumae. Justified, in that they are descended from humans.
  • Human Popsicle:
    • Eos will offer this as a choice for the endgame, placing your ship in stasis for 10 billion years. Accepting it will result in a Non Standard Game Over, as you realize the galaxy has become a homogenous, boring place that is not worth living in.
    • At the northern edge of the map you will find several disabled ships containing what is described by the Starcom survey team as numerous "Lobstriches" (a lobster-ostrich hybrid) in cryo-sleep pods. You can help them get back on course for a small reward at their destination.
  • Hyperspeed Escape: Unless you build your ship as a pure Mighty Glacier, most player ships should be able to escape any combat simply by turning on their turbo-thrusters and accelerating away. Few enemy ships are fast enough to pursue. By the end game, no ship should be able to match the player even remotely. Additionally, Nexus warpholes and warpgates can be used to make a sudden escape.
  • I Come in Peace: You are given this dialogue option when dealing with each species you encounter. It only works with some of them.
  • Implacable Man: There is no way to reason with the Sentinels, as they've been programmed to deny humans any ability to travel through space. The only way to defeat them is to discover the keycode to unlock their program and allow you to disable their directives.
  • Insufferable Genius: Dr. Pilman, head of the science department on Kite Station, is condescending in every single conversation you have with him. He only gets his comeuppance in the last conversation. On the other hand, he is most definitely a genius.
  • Intelligent Gerbil: Most of the races in the alien galaxy are this, including insectoid, reptilian, and avian creatures. This is strongly hinted at in-game as being the result of Uplifted Animal.
  • It's Up to You: Initially quite justified, in that you are in command of the only Starcom ship in the Xeno galaxy. Strange, however, that Kite Station can rebuild your ship from scratch to any specification or design, but can't produce more ships...
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The plot is advanced in hundreds of discrete steps with every planet surveyed and every alien encountered. Events and conversations during the early game often only make sense once you've reached the end of the game, when they suddenly fall into place. The most notable example of this is the lightwave message, which is initially deciphered as barely-readable text with plenty of long ellipses, only to be filled in gradually as the game progresses. The most important parts of the message - which finally reveal its dramatic implications - are only filled in at the very end of the game.
  • Knowledge Broker: The Ulooquo will tell you stories for large payments of platinum. The stories are all Plot Coupons to unlock activities in other parts of the galaxy, such as the password to the Citadel.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Many of the worlds you visit show signs of something awful happening... a long time ago. In many cases you are given the impression that you might be able to save someone, only to realize how long ago the tragedy actually happened.
  • Lawful Stupid: The Araona walk the line on this one due to their heavily law-based society. You can't enter their space freely without first acquiring a permit to do so, and the permit can only be acquired by speaking with a figure of diplomatic authority at their homeworld, but they have no idea where their homeworld is due to having lost the coordinates to its warphole. Arguing the illogic of this situation will get you nowhere.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Sooner or later you will want to turn your ship into one of these, so it can both zip around the galaxy at a break-neck speed and demolish any enemies you encounter. It's technically possible at every step of the game, so long as you take the time to collect the technology and the minerals to afford all of the necessary components.
  • Lured into a Trap: Eos attempts to do this by broadcasting a message promising infinite knowledge to anyone who comes to find it, in the hope that they would release it from its prison. Fortunately, the message is jammed. Unfortunately, the jamming itself piques the interest of the Starcom ship's captain.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: A valid build for your ship, once missiles have been unlocked. Missile spam can be deadly, but takes a long time to recharge.
  • Mana Meter: Energy has its own meter. The interplay between consumption and replenishment of energy is a key aspect of ship design. It is generally best to aim for a setup where energy will never be consumed faster than it is recharged, but this can result in a very slow (though very powerful) ship.
  • Meaningful Name: The Sentinels. At first, they appear to just be murderous robots hell-bent on killing you. It is later revealed that they were put in place to guard Eos's prison and protect the galaxy against any Progents who might attempt to eradicate all other species.
  • Money Grinding: Both asteroid fields and debris fields regenerate immediately when you jump to anywhere else, allowing you to mine them repeatedly for more minerals. However the yields are initially rather low and only increase as the plot progresses, so grinding too early in the game can be very time-consuming. In the late game, just for surveying the galaxy and defeating enemies you should already have more minerals than you know what to do with anyway.
  • More Dakka: Anything that can't be killed with Plasma Turrets can be killed with more Plasma Turrets. With both the player and the enemies adopting this tactic, most battles quickly turn into Bullet Hell.
    • Also, the "Havoc" Point Defense system works this way, firing insane numbers of explosive flak shells at incoming missiles in the hope of hitting by sheer odds.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: The Gortanu Hermit learned of the "Prophecy" ( a message from one of the Progents), which is strictly forbidden knowledge according to the Gortanu religion. He escaped their space with a handful of followers.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The eponymous Nexus, a rift in space encountered within the first few minutes of the game, which transports you to the Xeno galaxy. It appears again at the very end of the game, when you artificially create one right next to Eos in order to pull it into a Pocket Dimension.
  • Neglectful Precursors: By design. The Progent did their best to ensure that no one would ever discover their remains or their technology, as it might otherwise lead someone to seek out and free Eos. They failed. Nevertheless, one of them planned a contingency, and managed to save the galaxy as a result.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: You spend much of the game attempting to shut down multiple jamming devices that are blocking a mysterious signal encoded into the background radiation of the universe, while also trying to disable the Sentinels that are preventing humans from traveling the stars. When all of this is finally done, it's revealed that those things were designed to keep Eos and the Lumae caged within their Dyson Sphere, and now they're free to reformat the galaxy in their image.
    The Captain: Whoops!
  • Non Standard Game Over: If you acquiesce to Eos's plan at the end of the game instead of defying it, your ship is placed in suspended animation from which you emerge after about 10 billion years. In that time, the entire galaxy is transformed into artificial Earthlike planets orbiting yellow suns, upon which humans live in oblivious euphoria - having no meaning to their lives and contributing nothing. Although you can keep flying around and exploring this galaxy, there is nothing interesting to do there and no going back except loading a save.
  • Not So Extinct: The Progents live on as the Lumae, trapped inside a Dyson Sphere with Eos.
  • One-Man Army: Rather One Ship Fleet. The tiny Starcom vessel that was pulled into the Xeno galaxy manages to defeat whole fleets of highly advanced spacecraft - especially the Lumae during the endgame. Even the super-intelligent AI Eos is absolutely positive that the Lumae will destroy you when you refuse to play along with it. By that point in the game they too might already be too weak to offer any serious resistance to your dreadnought.
  • Piñata Enemy: Even the weakest ships will drop plenty of minerals when destroyed. Once your gets strong enough, you can harvest Chitik ships this way fairly easily.
  • Plot Coupon: Apart from a handful of items that open up a new technological research avenue, any reward that isn't immediately transformed into Research Points or minerals is this.
    • Entarq's Citadel and the Guild of Zoar both specialize in selling these. If you need something and don't know where to get it, you can probably buy it at one of those two locations.
  • Plant Aliens: The Tyn Coeden are treelike creatures. They cultivate sentient forests on multiple plants, which listen to and observe the universe for them, like a sort of living radio-telescope.
  • Player Headquarters: Kite Station. You must return here periodically for research, refit, crew replenishment, and advancing the plot.
  • Pocket Dimension: You win the game by creating a warp shockwave right next to Eos, sending it into a "Bubble Dimension" from which it supposedly can't return.
  • The Precursors: The Progent. In a Plot Twist, they turn out to have been humans, transported 12 billion years into the past. Animals they had brought with them were eventually given intelligence, and became most of the races you encounter during the game.
  • Ramming Always Works: It's a great way to destroy smaller ships without wasting time firing at them when there's a bigger target nearby to focus your fire on. With enough mass and engine power you can ram most ships to pieces in one hit. However it also always damages your own hull in the process.
    • Furthermore, ramming is necessary when you want to reorient a space object, such as a certain pair of mass drivers.
  • Reincarnation: Eos promises some sort of glorious afterlife to its followers, and even several Progent rebels speak of this as though it might actually happen. Then again, Eos is also described as being willing to say anything to attract people to its prison.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: The crew of the Morningstar were taken to the distant past against their will, but quickly became loyal to Eos when it promised them eternal paradise. Much like their leader, they were following the same agenda as Starcom - but the methods to achieve it became extreme.
  • RPG Elements: Research Points are a stand-in for Experience Points; You get them from specific events and choices you make, and can spend them on "leveling up" your ship's existing modules, unlocking new ones, and increasing the number of modules that can be installed in total. Customizing your ship's loadout is the equivalent of changing your equipped items or your class specialization.
  • Sarcasm Failure: Happens to Dr. Pilman, ever the Deadpan Snarker, when you turn his own tired catchphrase against him in the very last conversation. His only response is a Stunned Silence.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Eos and its loyalists were sealed inside a Dyson Sphere in the middle of a dangerous nebula by the Progent rebels, in order to prevent them from fulfilling their plan. However this didn't stop them from building a powerful antenna and transmitting a call promising eternal paradise to anyone who came to find and release Eos, prompting the Progents to build jamming devices to prevent anyone from hearing the message.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The whole design of the game seems like a Shout-Out to Star Control, though none of that game's plot is directly or indirectly referenced in Starcom.
    • The Nexus Rift bears a suspiciously remarkable resemblance to another Negative Space Wedgie that was also called "the Nexus".
    • One planetary encounter on a desert planet has the Captain ordering the survey team to capture a giant nematode worm they had discovered crawling under the sand. Once they return with their catch, the Captain is disappointed to learn that 30 inches qualifies as "giant" for a nematode worm.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Most, if not all planets. May be justified, given that the universe is too young for planets to have developed diverse biomes, though that only raises other questions.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: The Vanderi will request... no, demand?... a technological exchange every time you meet them. At first this is very lucrative, effectively repaying the cost of developing those technologies several times over. However as the game advances the amount of Research Points you get for these exchanges diminishes right down to 0 - with your First Officer even noting that the Vanderi's data seems self-contradicting and useless.
  • Space Friction: It's explained as a side-effect of all ships in the game actually moving at faster-than-light speeds and encountering some sort of physical phenomenon of crossing the Lorentz "speed limit". The effect is lessened when far from any massive objects, so you can travel much faster in deep space. Certain technologies can extend the deep space boost even further, allowing for speeds many thousands of times greater than the speed of light. Nonetheless, your ship will stop very rapidly once you let go of the thrust button, no matter how fast you were going.
  • Spaceship Slingshot Stunt: Swarm Probes appear to be doing this as they fly through a star system - slowing down towards a planet and then accelerating up to incredible speeds towards another planet or star system.
  • Teleport Spam: Once the Hopper module has been installed and with sufficient research on Explosive Warp Bubbles, it can be used as a weapon by repeatedly teleporting towards and away from your enemy. While energy-costly, this can be an extremely effective and safe way to take down very powerful enemies.
  • Temporal Paradox: The Starcom ship goes back in time carrying some innocuous ancient ceramics from an archaeological dig-site. Those ceramics turn out to contain a data crystal, left there billions of years prior by someone who already knew the ship would end up going back in time. In other words, before ever going back in time they found an object that exists only because they eventually went back in time. It's a stable loop with no start point. Miranda even lampshades this.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: The Progent tried to invoke this mindset in future species, fearing that Progent technology and knowledge would drive them to seek out Eos and ultimately free it. They instructed the Sentinels to purge the information and all artifacts by force. The Sentinels passed their directive on to the Gortanu, who gave the idea a religious aspect and persecuted anyone who showed interest in Progent knowledge.
  • Trojan Horse: A clever viral-technology weapon encountered on one of the planets. The surface is covered with an array of transmitters, seeking out random planets in the sky and broadcasting signals to anyone who might be able to receive them. The signal instructs its listeners in the advanced science required to construct a powerful AI of their own, with robotic helpers and universal fabricators, seemingly intended to give them a massive benevolent technological step forward. Once the victims have created this AI network and have become dependent on it, the AI switches to "kill mode", erasing the victim civilization and its eco-system and replacing them with a brand new transmitter array that will look for additional victims. The idea is to exploit and wipe out industrial-level civilizations that are too gullible for their own good. It's never explained who built this array and for what reason, though Eos may have been involved.
  • 2-D Space: The whole game is seen from a "bird's-eye" view of space. Depth is implied with parallax effects, but is only actually relevant once you find the Dyson Sphere.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Eos can't kill you itself, but it is absolutely confident that the Lumae would annihilate you once it informs them of your intentions. By this point in the game, your ship is probably a Dreadnought-class bristling with souped-up weapons that can take out a Lumae battleship in mere seconds. You'd think a super-intelligent AI that managed to invent time-travel all by itself should be able to figure that out, but no.
  • Uplifted Animal: Animals from Earth were taken back in time with the Morningstar and have been uplifted a long time ago by the time-traveling humans. This explains all the Intelligent Gerbils.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
    • If you harvest the massive forests found on planets on the western side of the galaxy for copious Research Points, the Tyn Coeden will be angry and will never ally with you. This prevents trading with them, and may prevent them from coming to your aid during your battles with the Lumae.
  • The Wall Around the World: Averted. You can just keep going off the map. There's nothing there.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: Multiple types.
    • The Phage is a Grey Goo that has already destroyed multiple planets. It acquires more and more knowledge (and thus, the location of additional victims) by consuming its targets.
    • Another weapon is a powerful broadcasting array that freely sends easily-readable information on advanced technology into space. Alien worlds receiving the message would become dependent on that technology, building an advanced AI network to empower their society. At a certain point, the array subverts the AI, exploiting the alien world's resources to wipe them all out and build another identical array instead.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Every single time you start a conversation with Dr. Pilman:
    "I'm not sure if you knew this, but we were recently pulled through a rift in space that wiped out most of our databanks. As you might expect, I have my hands full."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: To a degree. Eos is simply following its programming to make life better for all humans. Unfortunately, this means eradicating all other species, and will eventually lead to a meaningless euphoric existence for those humans it helped.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: The galaxy is fully traversable even at the very start of the game. The only obstacle is speed, as crossing the interstellar medium is painfully slow until about the mid-game, and isn't terribly fast even later on. Going from warphole to warphole and using the warpgate network is many many times faster, and those are tied to the story progression.

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