I just got done reading the review on your site, and quite enjoyed it.
I had an easy time of it my first game, because a major exploit on a huge world is too start with the Scientists. Their ATV got me off to a fast start with exploring ruins. Quite a few ruins rewarded me with Drones, and those Drones went on to find more Drones. It was exponential growth at its finest. In between was scattered plenty of financial finds to fund the Drones. Exploration led to an explosion of my faction and really cowed the AI. It would have been nice if that would have led to them teaming up on me, but I picked off a couple of them without any complaints from the others. Another one was lost to the mid-game surge in alien attacks. I even lost a city to that surge, which was a nice change of pace.
I’ve heard others complain about the lack of response to their Economic Victory run. I didn’t bother producing Wealth, as I was mostly interested in exploring the techs. However, even after repeated warnings to the other factions that I was getting close to the economic win and a tech win, they kept giving me money. The Corporation was making some Nuclear Launchers, but never used them on me. They just offered me some more money whilst building their asernal.
Like your review, I see that my comment was a little more critical than I intended for this game. I would certainly recommend it as well, and am looking forward to starting another run tonight with the Tree-Huggers, upping the difficulty and Alien Aggression.
Yeah, the AI faction response is inconsistent in how they respond to impending victory. I reloaded a save several times right before I went for an economic victory. The first time there was no resistance. Another there was some late resistance, but not enough to impede me. Another time the religious faction came and attacked right when they got the 75% to victory warning. It is good that there is some variability, but it doesn’t always make for stiff competition. I tried another game where I essentially just grew a city really big and they all ganged up on me and killed me.
I was really kinda disappointed by this as a $30 game. It comes off as so very bland to me. The tech descriptions are nice in that SMAC way, but the techs themselves are super generic: Basically upgraded farms I, upgraded farms II, along with about 9 tiers of armour that are just… slightly improved on each other with no interesting mechanical differences. It’s a little like the awful GalCiv2 tech system of Laser 1/2/3 with slightly more interesting fluff descriptions.
My prediction was right! I can understand some people thinking there isn’t enough meat on the bones. I think I’m a sucker for Civ type games, so even though it is missing some features that I think would elevate it, I’m still having fun with it.
I would like to add that I think the ability to produce wealth to obtain an economic victory is overpowered. Late in the game I was behind militarily. I moved most of my scientists to workers and produced wealth. I made 4-5% progress towards economic victory per turn. The AI continued to give me gifts even after I passed the 75% mark. Since 1 faction had black hole generators, they may have been able to wipe me from the map if they had enough time to break the non aggression pact and wait for the cool down to expire.
There have been consistent patches (latest update was in mid December EDIT: Nope, last update was yesterday!), but nothing that overhauls the design. robc04’s post is a good primer (and links to his full review).
It’s a solid lite 4x game, comparable to Endless Space (which I prefer to Pandora). The biggest ding to it is the ultra-boring upgrades, but it also has operations, which are interesting. I like the economy, too.
I guess the main thing to keep in mind is that it is a very simple and not particularly challenging game. In a genre that overvalues complexity, I find it a nice change of pace. But it’s not a big deal, either.
Thanks, I appreciate it. Sounds like a game I would enjoy but that I should probably wait for a sale on. It’s published by Matrix, which I know nothing about. Is it likely to go on sale, would you guess?