Welcome, my friends, to a new thing I’m gonna try here on Space Game Junkie: Textual review thingies! These will basically be textual summations of how I felt about the game after playing it for its Let’s Play series. I’ve broken this down into common questions that should cover all aspects of the game, how I felt about it, and whether you should get it. This first article of this type will cover Polaris Sector, Slitherine and SoftWarWare’s recently released 4X. Enjoy!
How Easy Was it to Get Into?
It wasn’t bad at all in this regard. The game had a pretty solid tutorial, and with the game’s exceptional UI (which I’ll talk about in a minute), I really had no issue getting into the game at all.
What Did You Think of The Game’s Usability?
This game had an excellent UI, one of the best I’ve seen in a game of this type. From the smart pausing for specific events or ship movements to, my favorite, the “Plan Colonization” button, the UI seemed very fluid and fun. I had little issue moving around the game’s various screens and systems, and found manipulating the game an actual delight.
Was the Gameplay Challenging and Fun?
Yes, it was challenging, but not for the best reasons, which I’ll get to in a moment. The AI is competent and presents a good challenge, and the various events and challenges the game and its systems throw at you are definitely worth overcoming. I had a great time colonizing planets and researching technologies, and the combat was fun too, if a bit simplistic. However, there’s one area in which the game really pissed me off…
Did you Find any Glaring Flaws with the Game?
Yes, the implementation of pirates. Pirates are a staple in games like this, and usually I don’t mind them, but here, it was kind of glaring that they were cheating. At one point, pirates began to flow out of a system I’d already explored and was neighboring a colony of mine. I’d not seen anything there previously, and no pirates had gone through my system to establish a base there. Even if there WAS a base there, I couldn’t see it in the game itself, so the only way I could really deal with them is to destroy the garrison they left there, but then who knows when another would appear? They also appeared overpowered, having multiple ships in the time it took me to build one. The pirates really took me out of the game, so I was happy for the option to turn them off.
How Did it Look and Sound?
It’s actually a very pleasant looking game, with lovely graphics and, I think, great sound. The music is charming, but what I really loved were the background sounds that changed depending on the planet type you were currently looking at. A really nice touch, that.
Are you going to Keep Playing It?
Yeah, I believe so, though it’s kind of in a bind timing-wise. With Stellaris coming out in just over a month, and other 4X games to take up my time such as the Master of Orion reboot and others, it’s competing for time in an already crowded field. I’m sure I’ll revisit it in the weeks to come though.
Which Were Your Favorite and Least Favorite Parts of The Game?
Favorite part was the UI, easily. This game made the workflow of managing an empire a breeze, which I really appreciated. Least favorite part was the pirates.
Should I Buy It?
That depends. Personally I think it’s a very competent, well-crafted, solidly-written and challenging 4X game, though I am worried about what appears to be some blatant cheating. Overall though, if you love 4X games and want to see how well-crafted a real-time 4X game can be, definitely check this one out. It fills its own slot in the niche and should fit along nicely, but will it be overshadowed by the upcoming juggernauts that are Stellaris, Master of Orion and Endless Space 2? Hopefully not, but a crowded field is about to get a lot more crowded. If those games weren’t coming out, I’d say unabashedly buy this, but with those games on the horizon, the decision becomes a lot more muddled. Overall, I’d say an enthusiastic yes, you should buy it, but with the caveat that it might be outshined within just weeks.