Posted: April 24
Quite possibly the worst 4X "strategy" game I've ever played, this game is hampered by a terrible UI, arcane game systems, and game-breaking randoms.
1. The terrible UI
I haven't moved a guy and yet its beeping at me when I try to move him. Never tells you what's wrong. Just PING PING CHING CHIME. Its like WTF?
Select guy 1 from planet and move him. Oh I get a second move? Nope, auto-selected guy 2 whom you never clicked and whom you needed to garrison a planet and now he's off someplace else leaving critical planet exposed.
Clicking a specific location and WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY GOING?? WTF through enemy territory when its not even the shortest path!!! ARRRGGGHJHH
2. Arcane Game Systems
Despite an INCREDIBLY ANNOYING and PERVASIVE tutorial system that constantly interrupts your gameplay, the game systems are totally arcane. For example: nothing tells you what the collapsed wormhole thing is, even when you really need to know, or how to get around it. Nor does it tell you how your 5 destroyers, by far the most advanced in the galaxy, is beaten by 5 corvettes from a far inferior race. Nor does it describe why supposedly-"nice" races whom you're not at hositities-with, simply waltz in and start invading your worlds. Do they even read their own fiction??? Or... more likely still: there is no differences in the AIs and the "fiction" is just a fascade that has no bearing on the races true intentions. WHY HAVE FICTION IF THE GAME DOES NOT FOLLOW IT. You're just being deceptive!
3. Game-breaking Randoms
Was in a game tonight, and found myself on a dead-end part of the galaxy behind a collapsed wormhole... twiddling my thumbs for something like 40 turns before I could research the technology to get past it, and by then, most of the galaxy was already taken. They should probably have in their galaxy-generation algorithm, some kind of invalid state checker which will prevent the game from generating maps that prevent the player from actually competing in the game.
Worse still is the combat system, which... I kid you not... consists of picking 3 "cards" for 3 "phases of combat", a formation, and a firing doctrine. Now... your cards rock-paper-scissors against the "cards" that the enemy selected, and somehow this is what they call strategy. Seriously? Selecting cards, by trying to out-guess an AI (which is probably just randomizing) is the tactics of game combat? I made better combat systems when I was 10. Literally. War of the Worlds board game. Was awesome. Much better than this abortion of intellect. Worse still is that there are blatantly invalid ship configurations that are invalidated by your card selection. I made a fleet of laser-heavy ships, and upon first engagement discovered there are NO laser-based cards in the early game.
A good game designer respects their player. You do this with a good UI, short non-invasive (preferably -fun- tutorials) that cover the basics and, if they want you to start the game a certain way (like "Lasers are better towards the end-game") will warn their players away from gimped configuratrions... or even-better: make it so all the configurations work if used properly. They don't take the lazy way out and make you use "Battle cards" that are actually quite meaningless. And they will check their random generator for broken starting configurations.
I hate to say it, because I like indie games, but this one actually FEELS indie. Completely unprofessional.