Combat occurs when you come across ships that are hostile towards you (see Ship Types below), or when you start attacking non-hostile ships. As the game progresses, the fire power, speed and defense of your enemies will increase.


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Swipe the screen inside the cockpit view to move your ship left, right, up and down. Swipe and release to move faster, swipe and hold to move slower.

Tap the screen inside the cockpit view to stabilize/centre the ship and to stop drifting.

Tap to fire the laser when the enemy ship is in the crosshairs. A succcessful laser hit will deplete the enemy's hull. Once the enemy's hull is 0, the enemy is dead.

Tap to fire a missile. This button will only be activated once you get a missile lock on the enemy. To get a missile lock, keep the enemy ship in the crosshairs for a few seconds ad the missile button will activate once a lock has been successful.

Anti-missile unit (AMU). Tap to destroy an incoming missile. This button will only be active once you have purchased the anti-missile unit for your ship, and after the enemy has fired a missile at you. Once the enemy has fired a missile (and you have the AMU installed) the button will light up. You have about 5 seconds to use the AMU before the missile strikes. Beware of incoming missiles, they can do vast damage to your ship.

Cargo scoops. Tap to tractor in loose cargo once a ship has been destroyed. This button will only be active once you have purchased cargo scoops for your ship, and if a defeated enemy has dropped cargo on death.

Energy Bomb. Tap to use your energy bomb if facing imminent death. This button will only be active once you have purchased an energy bomb for your ship. Allows you to dispose of an enemy ship instantly during battle. If you think you are not going to last the battle, drop this baby and watch them go boom! Energy Bombs are single-use items, however they can be re-purchased anytime.

Retreat/Fly past. Tap to attempt to flee the battle, or to fly past non-enemy ships.

Ship Types

There are 4 basic types of ship you will encounter in Starband:

Traders are neutral ships - they will not attack you unless you attack them. They are more common around planets with Corporate or Democratic Governments. Traders will sometimes carry expensive cargo.

Pirates cruise the galaxy looking for trouble. They will always attack you, and they are only after one thing - your cargo once you are dead. Pirates can be encountered anywhere, but you will come across larger numbers when travelling through Multi-Government, Feudal, Communist or Anarchist states.

Police patrol the vicinity of planets looking to stamp out any trouble. If your legal status is clean, then police will leave you to go about your business. The more your legal status increases towards Outlaw or Fugitive status, the more likely they are to think of you as a pirate and attack. Once your legal status hits Fugitive, you will come across Police more often and they will attack on sight. Your criminal status increases by dealing in illegal commodities, and by attacking innocent traders and police. You can decrease your legal status by killing pirates, and successfully completing encounter missions.

Freighters are large bulky ships carrying large amounts of cargo. If you have cargo scoops installed, you can have a field day! They are normally passive but if provoked are a very tough opponent to beat, due to their very strong hulls and their many gun turrets.

Each of these ships also appear as mission ships when you accept an encounter mission. Encounter mission ships will be superior to the standard types of ships above.

There is also 1 miscellaneous object:

Asteroids float around in dead space and don't do much at all. You can destroy them to earn credits and to scoop up ore (if you have cargo scoops fitted).

The number and type of ships you come across during your journeys is random, but is also affected by the type of planet you are travelling to, and your legal status.


When an enemy hits you with laser fire, firstly it will deplete your shields until your shields are zero. Once your shields are zero, then any further laser fire will deplete your hull. The amount of shields and hull you have left are shown at the bottom of the combat screen. Once your hull reaches zero, you are dead.

Try and avoid enemy missiles by purchasing an Anti-Missile Unit from the Starport. If you still have shields left when an enemy missile hits, it will completely wipe them out. If you have no shields when the missile hits, it will take a considerable chunk out of your hull, if not entirely obliterate it.

When your ship reaches a critical condition (i.e. zero shields and a very low hull), sometimes an upgrade or add-on which you have purchased for your ship will be destroyed.

Shields will regenerate slowly over time, for example when you fly past non-enemy ships.