I will admit, I had known very little about Interstellar Space: Genesis prior to learning of its scheduled release back in May. Since then, I have learned of more things, but still not enough to have had any idea of what to expect when in the dense expanse of space. Aside from an old love of turn based strategy games…and, well, any empire strategies, really. For me, this lack of expectation attributed to an exciting experience rehashing a new spin on an old-and-loved genre.
Interstellar Space: Genesis is a 4x turn-based strategy game where you create and build a galactic empire. But, it’s also so much more than that, which is brilliant! From the start you realize the detail and scale of what is on offer. There are several races to choose from, right off the bat, each with their own unique abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Choosing your race will affect planetary colonization capabilities, and set you off in a different direction of play than the others. So, essentially, you get six different play styles to break into and perfect, should you choose to.
Visually, its everything you would expect of a traditional 4x space strategy, with as much attention to detail and story as you could season with. Every last grain of salt has been carefully thought out an implemented. This gives the player a real sense of control, immersion, and understanding of their universe. The mapping system is vast, so vast. Space exploration opens up more planets to explore and colonize as your technologies advance. And, just when you begin to think that you are having enough fun building colonies, researching technologies for planetary advancement, and exploring every last crevice of your galaxy, you’re faced with political upheaval. All because you didn’t want to share your Helium with a non-trustworthy alien race that you know next to nothing about.
Every turn within the game can propel you into a new direction of adventure. There is nothing predictable about Interstellar Space: Genesis, and that alone is enough to warrant a sneaky lookie-play. The delivery of play draws you right in to where you are really trying to strategize the decisions you make to ensure you are bettering your colonies. This may seem like an obvious direction to take; but apparently not for this one. I went in with my usual “good chick” attitude to “try and do the right thing by my colonies, based on their needs and my “holier than thou” play-titude… But, it turns out, that playing with this mentality is not only not the best idea [dah!] it’s also not strategic at all.
See, you come face-to-face with various other races, all of which have their own agendas. So, playing with the mentality of being the galactic “good guys” is just going to get you dead…in the end. The game really begs for you to use your head and work with your enemies, in order to keep them at bay. Attitudes are flippant, so how you work with and respond to every event plays a role here. These responses are built and then formed within a Galactic Council, that you a member of. For me, this was one of the best assets to Interstellar Space: Genesis. Having these communicative meetings between one or several races within the galaxy really shifted gears for the overall play style of the game. You go from 4x turn-based into RPG so smoothly that the flow of play isn’t affected at all.
The one downside I noticed with these leaders, was the lack of them. Sure, there’s a few…but not many. I think, in my however long of playing, I only came across 5. Ideally, for play repetition, it would be good to see some more leaders with different motives introduced. It seemed to be that more variations was my number one critique overall. From the start this didn’t seem to be an issue at all, quite the opposite, and I found myself praising all the details and backstories. However, after a few deaths, resulting in a few playthroughs, it became clearer that I was making decisions that conflicted with previous choices to help steer myself in a more prosperous direction.
One of the most fun and best layouts, for me, was the space combat. Having your flight teams setup correctly, with the right amount of battleships to take on an onslaught was HEAPS of fun. Even if you cark-it! Learning, through death, was one of the best aspects of this game, with the visualizations really satisfying.
Overall, I loved playing Interstellar Space: Genesis. Yes, there are some areas that could use some fine-tuning, but that is more to do with visual graphics than gameplay. And, that too comes down to more personal preferences. The game itself is detailed with so much to keep you busy setting up in-between turns that you’ll get side-tracked building fighters, setting up technologies research, organizing and planning colonies, conversing with other races, exploring galaxies, building infrastructure…the list goes on. There is so much to do that you will be hard-pressed of running empty. Interstellar Space: Genesis gives us new stuff to do that is well implemented, with just enough classic play, that merits a look.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
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