I just recently got the beta, but have already noted a few things worth spelling out as problematic.
First and foremost, it is simultaneously easy and tedious to take islands. I'm not sure if this is an issue of "enemy strength" or not, but I found that just loading up a single manta with rockets and missiles, flying into a location, finding the AA, locking on and one-to-two-shotting them with missiles seemed to be the most effective way of killing installations and taking over the island without much, if any difficulty. Once an AA turret appeared, aim in carefully or lock on, fire, biggest threat gone. If you keep a stockpile of mantas with rockets/missiles ready, this gets even easier since you can dock one and swap to another as necessary. Hoping the manta AI is smart enough to do this without player intervention, on the other hand, is a fool's dream. They'll happily run into a carrier's quad cannons without a second thought given the opportunity.
But, this makes taking bases fairly tedious, since you're not really commanding a carrier fleet. You're just sending up a lone ace to do all the work and then sending in the clean-up crew after the significant threats are killed, namely the AA turrets. Walrus' are never worth sending in until you can cap the base.
Both of these problems seem to be related to a couple primary issues. First, there is no incentive to throw units at the problem. Especially given the lack of scout drones and the suicidal vehicle AI unless manually piloted, combined with the agonizingly slow production rate even when you tread water to speed it up makes it so that I didn't want to scout islands unless I did it myself, manually, and, more importantly, I didn't want to waste vehicles because they took a long time to fully replace with how agonizingly slow it is to produce a new manta+rocket/missile+primary armament of my choice. I want to keep my chess pieces until they're guaranteed to survive, instead of risk losing them and suffer a 10 minute production cycle to replace one. This may not be an issue when you have 15 islands with a healthy amount set to resource acquisition and production, and can keep a healthy stockpile of units at the ready both on your ship and off, but during the demo this definitely appears to be a problem.
Speaking of the Walrus, the hook attachment for the manta is surprisingly difficult to use. I couldn't find a way to tell a manta to automatically pick up a walrus, and had to do it manually every time. I'm unsure if this is due to my inexperience with the game, a feature not-yet implemented, or something else, but it certainly could use some elaboration. Furthermore, given the currently bad AI, the strong turrets, and the difficulty at traversing terrain efficiently and effectively, this makes the Manta the bread-and-butter vehicle to use, while the walrus is, at best, a secondary force or a cap-and-hold force with no other motive for its use due to how difficult they are to even get in place. Additionally, like everything else, the AI is terrible with them. I manually controlled a single walrus with a machine gun and took on 2 other walrus at the same time because they literally never fired a single shot at me. This seems to be an issue of turret firing arcs more so than a completely bad AI. The Walrus turrets seem to just have absolutely no declination on their weapons, especially the front mounted ones, and they don't know how to get the required declination to actually shoot things. This is a huge problem in walrus combat and self-preservation.
Likewise to the Mantas, I never wanted to throw Walrus' at the problem because replacing them is absolutely painful as well. I'm not sure how this would translate into a full game when one would be pushing 5-10 islands just producing resources alone, but this is certainly a problem.
Onto the carrier itself. Just like everything else, the AI on the carriers, both of them, seems bad. They have difficulty maneuvering around obstacles, can't push in close to islands without manual control, the manual control itself is sluggish and lacks a manual override until the carrier's orders are either cancelled, which can't be done from the full-screen view with the hotkey, or run their course. Then, when you manually override it, it only accepts one command at a time. You can't hold "forward" down and nudge left or right to turn. You have to let go of "forward" and then push to turn. The AI for maneuvering the carrier seems to suffer from this as well, and it only wants to pivot in place until it can move in a straight shot instead of powering the engines fully and using a rudder to turn while under power. Furthermore, when you fullscreen onto the carrier at any point, all of your guns, the 4 quads and the plasma, stop firing. This can be fixed by going to another unit and going back to the PIP view of the carrier (haven't tested with the gun control view) but not being able to fullscreen while in combat engagements simultaneously destroys the aesthetic beauty of such a fight and your ability to properly maneuver the carrier.
The enemy carrier AI, despite being void of the issue of having the guns fail because the AI commander wanted a close-up of the action, is best described as pants-on-head retarded. In the initial engagement, the enemy carrier is almost always going to win -- until you get behind the enemy carrier. At that point, you put the offensive plasma cannon as top repair priority, stay behind the carrier, and use the quads manually or automatically (the ones that survived) to kill the enemy guns. Once those are down, you can safely launch your non-expendable vehicles and kill it without much difficulty because the AI carrier can't run away, period, because you're shooting into its engines, or maneuver its offensive gun properly to punish your carrier, at all, assuming you didn't safely destroy it from behind the carrier off to the side with a quad, which the AI has no answer to.
Furthermore, I managed to run into an enemy carrier at an enemy island I was taking just after I took out the third required jammer. I ran away from its location to the other side of an island, maneuvered a manta into position to kill all AA turrets from safety with missiles, manually dropped a walrus via a hook with a hack module to the command center, and took the island, all of this taking ~5-20 minutes, and the enemy carrier still hadn't found its way to where I was, nevermind contest my attempt at the island. I took the island, then it showed up, then I ran away from it and baited it, it destroyed 2 quads and my plasma, I maneuvered behind it, and then wrecked it because it had no answer to my superior positioning nor any units to throw at me, assuming my quads wouldn't have picked up those units to begin with because the carrier defensive weapons are insanely powerful compared to mantas and walrus', assuming they can get shots in to begin with. Combined with the low amount of non-expendable craft, this is a problem.
Those are the major problems or bugs that I'd describe as game-breaking. The slow production combined with no time warp when stationary, the non-expendable units, the poor AI all around, the ease of killing the enemy carrier despite it having the advantage at any point in the game, the easy-but-tedious nature of taking over an island with non-expendable units.
As others have stated, the barques like to get stuck on terrain for the most mundane of reasons when they're at the destination island and you're on the other side of it. Can be fixed by moving the carrier closer, but still shouldn't be an issue to begin with.
But enough of the faults I noticed, some suggestions in the short time I played.
First and foremost, I'd love for this game to have a coop, even if the time warp system has to be replaced with a simple warp system to move around with production sped up. I'd love to have 2 carriers against either 1 super-strong enemy carrier or 2 enemy carriers. Or even just have 2 commanders on 1 carrier, where one person handles production and plays primarily as an RTS, while the other goes action game on the enemy directly controlling vehicles.
I'd like to be able to time warp anywhere to speed up production without needing to burn fuel to tread water. The game slows to a crawl when you run out of resources but need items built, especially since you burn a lot of fuel trying to get items faster.
I'd like to be able to select an island and tell it to refocus on a different task. Defensive islands are nice, but I find it far more practical to have more production than a singularly difficult to take island. In fact, given how resource starved the current game is, defensive islands appear to serve no actual purpose other than to prevent resource acquisition to delay taking more islands, and to delay taking low-value islands themselves. Perhaps if defense islands were turned into stockpile islands with the same defense, so that you could always move where the barques depart from, this would make those islands strategically important. Especially if you can attack them and steal enemy resources, or they yours.
I'd like to see the Walrus unit gain more prominence. Either make it significantly stronger, significantly more expendable, significantly faster, or in general just more useful beyond capturing/building the island. I never use them because mantas are safer, faster, and easier to dismantle the 3 generic points and then go after the command HQ itself, soften it up, and only then move in my walrus to take over the HQ itself.
Now, this one's a strange nitpick. When I think of a carrier, I think of aircraft carriers. Proper aircraft carriers as they exist now, even the smaller fleet escorts, still had 23 aircraft on them, give or take. This game has 4 aircraft, 4 ground units. More customizable, but less quantity. Modern super-carriers throw around 90+ aircraft. As I understand, never having played the original, that the original only allowed for 4 of each unit, which I believe is why this game does similar. It would be interesting, however, if instead of having customizable units, the system were retooled so that you could have significantly more, but weaker and non-customizable units to throw around. So you have 90 mantas that can swarm the enemy base and see larger, more clashing battles. This is a pipe-dream request, and if it wasn't done, I'm sure someone would create a mod to do swarm tactics that had tech trees for upgrades and a few highly specialized but high-volume units to throw around, but this would be a nice thing to have to make it more RTS-like. Would end up being similar to battlestations of the pacific/midway, though, so I'm unsure if this would be something people would want, especially the fans of the original CC. Even if the units have to materialize out of hammer space, would be nice to throw around a ton of units instead of a small spec ops team to somehow take over an entire base.
Additional things that'd be nice to see. Tech trees. Especially if it means the enemy carrier is stronger than yours, I'd like to see a tech tree to upgrade my units, carriers, production of islands, island defenses, and so on. Would add more strategic depth to the game, make it so you can't just sneak up on the enemy carrier and game-over it right there, and so on.
It would also be nice if there was an "invert vertical for mantas" as a separate option than invert vertical period, though keep both. As well as having individual sensitivity sliders. On the subject of control, the mantas in general seem sloppy and sluggish, and it'd be nice if they were tightened up with mouse controls.
And, finally, it would be nice if the firing arcs on the carrier weapons were capable of hitting more directions, especially the offensive gun. Or it would be nice if there were just more guns all over the carrier, even if they were weaker in the process.
That's all I can really think of right now. I apologize if I missed something in a dev blog, am getting too presumptuous, redundant, or otherwise missed things or am being too harsh of the game.
As I see it, this game does have some strategic depth, but there's a lot of things holding it back. The poor AI, the long production times, the non-expendable and tiny amounts of units available to throw around, the limited island count due to the current build, the lack of strategy in taking islands due to the poor AI, non-expendable units, and the ease and power of throwing rocket-propelled explosives at the problem, the lack of overall strategy in the game. It's basically, currently, as simple as taking an island faster than the enemy can take yours and moving onto the next. No tech tree limits overall strategic options, the limited AI prevents needing to think about how to take islands beyond being cautious, and the limited number of fragile units makes it impractical to use units in strategic ways without risking valuable resources that aren't easy to replace.
Overall, though, it's worth noting I have an overall positive impression of the game. It's tedious and overly easy at the present, but this is still beta, and the numerous problems have time to be worked out. As one final note. Music, this game needs more of it more often. The few times music does play, it's actually fantastic, and I'd like to hear more of it.