Posted: February 9, 2014
From the screenshots and video, I was excited to see another entry into the 4x genre, however, after playing for 20+ hours I have come to the conclusion that this game is not really ready for "non-beta" release. There are just so many things that are not ready, not implemented, not documented or explained, that it is simply not an enjoyable experience.
This review was written with the current "release" version of the game as of February 9th, 2014.
So, the list :
Non existant. You mean you want to build 3 of mother ship 1, 2 of mother ship 2, and 4 of mother ship 4? Not gonna happen unless you manually go back to each planet where ships are building and do that manually.
Not only is there NO build queue, you are locked into 4 ships of each "class". 4 scouts, 4 transports (including colonizer), 4 cruisers and 4 motherships. What does that mean? That means you can only have 4 ship designs of each type and if you want to make a new one you have to over-write another one.
Those two aspects of basic functionality being missing or kludgy really reminds of games from 1980.
This is probably the most tedious space combat of any of this genre I have played in a long while. I started playing games on the commodore VIC20/Commodore 64, and I've played quite a few of these over the years. It is just very convoluted and tedious.
Want to turn your ship so your weapons face a target? Good luck! Click on the screen and it may rotate 1/8th of a rotation...PER TURN.... Which may or may not be the direction you wanted.
Targetting in combat is flaky. If an enemy ship occupies the same square as one of yours or very close to it? You can't target that enemy, at all, by anything. Zooming in or out does not help and all you can do is move that ship which now means you have pointed one or more of your weapons away from combat.
Its hard to call these things quests. You get a random message, about something that happened that you may or may not be anywhere near ( it tells you your "fleet" flew by XYZ even though you had no ships anywhere near there, ever.), then when you try to step through it, the next "step" may or may not exist, work, or even be understandable.
"No Mr.Pirate, i want the REAL hammer!, Fine, come get it! meet me at XYZ". Go to XYZ, nothing. Survey entire system. nothing. Survey each planet. Nothing. Station fleet at XYZ for 3 real time hours, nothing.
Terraforming - This is probably the most confusing tech in the game. The "manual" has exactly one occurrence of the word terraform in it, and it is a sentence that basically says "Yup, it exists". What does it do? nothing. Researched to level 10 and those limited habitat planets arent improved. Sure you can now colonize "toxic" planets, but it is not at all clear if terraforming made that possible, or other techs.
There is no information, the description in game says nothing useful, there is no method to initiate it no discernable effect from it, and the manual is utterly silent with respect to it.
Weapons and other systems are normalized to the point of simply being clones of each other with a different name. Yes, there are minor "effect" differences, but again, like most systems/things in the game, you have no idea if it is really happening, working, or even implemented.
Aside from only having a maximum of 4 ship designs for each type before you have to over-write a previous one, there is no method to modify one design to the next as in a refit. In fact, the only "refit" in the game that exsists is that you have to fly a colonizer ship to a planet with a starbase before it can colonize again. lets say you have a cruiser with laser cannons on it and you want to instead have that existing ship re-fit with a newer design that uses plasma cannons. Nope, Can't do it.
This is a base feature of almost every game in this genre.
There is absolutely no customization. Ships have 8 "hardpoints" for weapons, 2 on each side, 2 front, and 2 at rear. There are no ship layouts as in its appearance, no anything except, put weapon here or not, make it light, regular or heavy.
--Strange stuff, bugs, etc--
After playing for 10 hours, the Varaians (the ancient energy race and progenitors of EVERYTHING) are the strongest, largest, and most powerful empire in the galaxy and all of a sudden, without being attacked by ANYONE, they are simply "defeated". Poof. They evaporate. No one was attacking them (I am in all of their systems with an alliance with them). They just simply decide to stop existing.
They had so much military power that the very few times anyone aside from me (with an alliance with them) wandered in, just a couple of their ships utterly wiped out whatever flew by and then bam. Gone.
This was the third occurrence of this happening to a race, they just decide they don't want to be in the game any longer and poof.
There are more issues, oddities, and things (most notable documentation) missing, but this is long enough already with enough specific examples.
This game is simply not ready for prime time yet. I applaud a new indie developer for trying to break into the market, truly, i realize its a tough thing to do, but even with that said, it can't change the reality of what this game is and is not.
I didnt go into it expecting a multi-million dollar budget production, but I certainly did go into it expecting something with far more playability.