StarDrive Review: A Harsh Decision

Even Space Bears Barely Added the Fun.
Even Space Bears Barely Added the Fun.

So as of right now, I’ve done two installments into my StarDrive review, and I’ve decided that I’m putting it on hold for a while. Why? For many reasons, but the primary one is this:

It’s not fun.

Seriously, I had time to play this game this weekend. What did I end up doing instead? I watched Arrow, I played Strike Suit Infinity and also some Euro Truck Simulator 2. I shit you not, I chose a cheesy (yet very fun) superhero show and a truck sim over what should have been an awesome space game. That may say something about me, but it DEFINITELY says something about the game. The more I think of returning to this game, honestly, the more dread I feel in my heart, and a thought keeps coming up in my mind: “I’ve got other, better games to play”. It seriously breaks said heart. :/

So take this as you will, my friends (maybe this is something of a review of the game in its own way). I’m done with StarDrive for now. It tried to make me happy, and it failed, and honestly as of right now, I don’t feel it deserves any more of my time or honestly, any more of yours either. If this blog isn’t fun, then why do it at all? ;) Thanks for reading, and I hope y’all stick around after this. :)

Author: Brian Rubin

20 thoughts on “StarDrive Review: A Harsh Decision

  1. hi Brian. I was very excited for SD. I am interested to know what kills it for you. Could it be that it just doesn’t stack up to distant worlds and it is a competing genre? Meaning that you can compare them because they are both 4x, and SD falls short of DW?

    I don’t envy this guy, he chose a massive project for one man. People can comprehend that 4x is massive, but one man programming it is so…incomprehensible even to me.I am sure mods and post release development will shape it up. If Daniel has the stamina to keep going on the project. After a break he should, it’s not like it’s selling badly, so he’s got lots of incentive to make it better and stick with it.

    Anyway…I am looking to hit Desura soon and will announce a date soon enough.


    1. What kills me, and the game for me, is that it doesn’t provide a universe that’s compelling, engaging or enjoyable enough for me to spend time in. It’s not even a thing comparing it to Distant Worlds. Something about the universe the game provides, and everything in it, feels very…”meh”. Like it’s generating a universe out of a sense of duty and mathematics rather than any sense of discovery or fun. I hope that makes sense, because it’s kind of hard to explain.

  2. Shame for Stardrive really :(. It’s hard not to raise your hopes up whenever a new 4x space game appears and it just doesn’t cut it for one reason or the other considering there are very few around.
    And I get you Brian, the “meh” feeling is all over the place, it just doesn’t evoke anything real on my gaming subconscious. It tries but fail and in a sense cuz I wanted it to be like Sins but campaign focused with much more depth…but it’s just hard to make a connection. The sad UI and poor feedback u get are mostly the decisive factors for me. Even Endless Space is much, much more satisfying with their weird combat.
    Anyway nice to read you as always.

    1. I wasn’t a big Endless Space fan – but I actually wanted to pull that one out of the bag again (now that they’ve done all their add-ons) because the game is pleasureable to play from UI and clicking standpoint. There is a richer sense of character to the galaxy + worlds. As for the combat – thankfully they added card play to the auto-resolve so we don’t have to sit through hours of the same cinematic over and over.

      1. I’ve not tried it since they added their free expansions. Might be time to revisit it.

    2. Yeah, it’s a shame that recently the more traditional 4X games that have been released have been incomplete of late. :/

  3. For the first time I find myself on the opposite side of the fence than you, Brian. Over time I’ve found the 4x space games getting harder and harder to get into because the complexity of the games spiked up. Distant Worlds is a good example of a nice concept I couldn’t get into because of the overwhelming learning curve.

    On the opposite side of that comes along Stardrive. Is it buggy? Yes, a bit. Is it generic? Somewhat, but I can’t really see how to veterans of space games that can be avoided… But is it fun? Oh yes, I find it to be very entertaining. Setting my freighters to automatically visit my planets and do their thing makes the economics simpler, Customizing my ships I find to be a lot of fun and not too complex to figure out. And the space fighting and sparring I find to be challenging and very involving.

    Might be a case of different strokes for different folks but frankly I like a MOO light game more than a Distant Worlds epic. Give it some time and patches and try it again! — By the way, your blogs are the best. :) Hope no hard feelings!

    1. I don’t mind that it’s trying to be more on the light side of things. Light 4X games can be awesome, such as Spaceward Ho!, for example. I’m glad you’re finding it fun, but the fun isn’t there for me right now. :)

  4. I have started watching a StarDrive LP a week ago or so, but then I stopped after a few episodes, mainly because of the reviews and opinions from all over teh net. I find it a promising game from the looks and videos, but lacking in many ways (as many said, the lack of feedback from the game being the most obvious drawback).

    I will continue to watch SD’s development and if an expansion or two make it better, who knows?

    Thus far Distant Worlds keeps me entertained fully (and I am saying that with the caveat that I watched many more videos on that than I had a chance to play it – mainly because of its “complexity”, for which I first need to gain more knowledge from others :).

    1. Yeah, I’m totally gonna keep an eye on it and revisit it once more “there” is added, because right now there’s just not much there there. I really want the game to be awesome though. Glad you’re enjoying Distant Worlds too.

  5. please give the game some time, he is one guy with his first game, think about star ruler needing time to mature or sword of stars still needing time, please get involved in the community and give him ideas on how to improve, the game has great potential, at least make a list of the top 5 things that could improve the game, could you go into more detail and say more about how distant worlds did things better?

    1. Oh I totally plan to revisit it once it’s had more time in the oven. The game indeed has great potential, but right now I need:

      1. More connectedness – right now I don’t really feel connected to my empire or what happens to it.
      2. More meaningful events – Right now the events in the game that I’ve encountered feel fairly weak and afterthoughtish.
      3. More randomness – Many of the systems encountered in my playthroughs only had planets in them. No space monsters, random civilizations, black holes or anything else that might add variety to the universe. It feels very plain.
      4. More transparency – How am I making money? What are the victory conditions? Why did my colony ship get killed? I just feel like there’s more the game could tell me.
      5. More options – Is there a diplomatic victory option? If not, why not? How about scientific?

      The game is like the foundation to what will be an awesome house, it’s just right now the rest of the house isn’t finished, you know?

  6. You know two things that would’ve made me absolutely fall in love with the game?
    1. Gal Civ 2 style ship editor, at least for hulls; I want to make my own style!
    2. Multiplayer

    Without those, you’re right. The fun runs out pretty quick. I finished one game, and I thought the effects were great, its a beautiful game and a very well executed plan. Thing is, if you throw a party and your guests run out of things to do, they leave the party.

    1. See, I’m not a multiplayer person at all, but this — “Thing is, if you throw a party and your guests run out of things to do, they leave the party.” — is perfect, and applies regardless, I think. Well said. :)

  7. I bought the game too and i play something else too, haha… more specifically Sins: Rebellion in my case.
    And to certain degree i would say my reasons for that are similar> i just does not immerse me as much as Sins does. In other words, Space Bear Samurai are not as cool, as it may seem initially.

    1. Welcome to the comments Timmah!, and yeah, you’re likely hitting the same “meh” feeling I am with the game.

  8. Thanks and yeah – its a shame really, as it is IMHO actually a good, well done game. It just seem to lack that bit extra, which would make to want play it more (often).

    1. You’re totally right, one can tell there’s a great game in here, it’s just not cooked enough. :/

  9. M8 you are right. With me i first thought it would be fun to explore and dig for artifacts but it got sour. I simply can not seem to find the time to explore or dig or play around with my ship designs. The AI is always bugging me with WAR, WAR, WAR. Eh go screw yourself.
    P.S Like your blog

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