Posted: February 25, 2014
I've been insane for this game since I tried it and realized what was going on: At first it just looks like Diablo in space; a solid space-spaced ARPG with enough stat-building and ship-customizing (with the random components from blown up ships, or scenario rewards) to keep you blasting for a bit. Fans of games like EV Nova might enjoy this game just for that.
But there's more. Instead of being story-driven, the game randomly generates new quests and events as you play. An elite space monster shows up, starts gathering a fleet, and if you don't react, he might take over a star system. Then the monster starts sowing chaos on nearby colonies; they might contract a plague, get computer virus, etc. These events can also escalate if unchecked. I've seen empires lose planets to open rebellion. I've HELPED rebels escalate, and contributed to the creation of offshoot races!
Also the various species - and your guild, the Drox - all have dynamic relationships. Help a race, they like you more. Attack them, they like you less. Help their allies, and they like you. Attack their allies, and you might earn more enemies than you intended. You can carefully nursemaid a sector-spanning alliance of friendly races for a diplomatic win... or watch the network of alliances fail like a house of cards if you bungle your relationship with one of the races. That might be a good time to switch tactics and go for another type of win.
The various systems interact in what looks like a well-tuned, balanced way - no surprise because the game has been out for some time. The interactions give this game a nice emergent-gameplay edge that keeps things interesting, and there's nothing more hilarious than being a few planets away from a military victory and having the Drox Guild tell you that you MUST, due to Circumstances Beyond Your Control, ally with the race you've just been eradicating colony by colony from this area of known space.
Highly recommend for fun ARPG-in-space with a sandboxy twist.
Edit: There is an expansion out, which is not on Steam at the time of this writing. You can purchase the expansion from Soldak and apply it to the Steam version of the game to gain access to additional features. He's also said that he's working on getting it into steam. He's been providing Steam codes for anybody who purchases directly, and we can expect this to continue for the expansion.