StarDrive, a 4X strategy game by ZeroSum and Iceberg Interactive, is a promising title for the gamer who is easily able to rack up hours in a meticulous campaign of subterfuge pacing, and final victory. StarDrive is a hybrid between RTS and turn-based strategy genres. Desperate for survival, eight colonies of the galaxy seek salvation on distant planets. The indefinite agitation of these new pioneers will spark treaties and warfare, and entice players and CPU alike to heed the warnings of their colleagues.
The game is subjected to release in a little less than a month, and many players have already started to chat up he forums on strategies and quick, helpful facts that make the game run. When this title drops, expect to see more support from the already devoted fans. During the tutorial sections, hints at a Wiki page have also been comfortably mentioned here and there. Information is a vital asset to any strategist and ZeroSum recognizes that and intends to have a strong start in user support.
To add even more to this list of high expectations, the Main Menu screen already has a section for Mods, clicking on it starts a filter that does the searching for you. How neat is that? Getting fan-made mods for this title requires no searching or manual file manipulations—they’re just a click away.
The beginning of each game has the player choose a character race to take control of, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The Kulrathi are Savage and receive stronger infantry units, great for last-line defense. But because of their “Ponderous” nature, fighter pilots have their damage and accuracy dampened. The beta already features four game difficulties: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Brutal. And the games pace can also be adjusted if waiting around simply isn’t your style. This is for advanced players only. Because there is no audio cue that tells the player about battles in space—it is easy to lead a scout to its doom just by exploring the systems unprepared.
Economy in StarDrive is very easy to learn and tries to keeps itself as automated as possible. Rather than micro managing villagers and to construct building or harvest farms, a system of sliders determines the ratio of the three obtainable resources: Food, Production, and Research. The fourth Asset to your Empire is Credits, which is earned mostly with high production rates within colonies and another taxation slider that stops a percentage of their other resources and converts it into Credits. Players can also expect Research Trees and Diplomacy screens similar to the popular, Civilization games.
Diplomacy interaction is where the game can feel a little off or unfair against the computer. In one instance War was declared within about 10 minutes of the beginning of the match with little interaction at all. Your options for communication are just as varied as other popular titles, but the AI transmissions are very discrete. Sometimes they can be helpful, but are sometimes too aggressive.
The game’s pacing falls somewhere between the fast pace of an RTS and a turn-based Strategy. At any time by hitting the space bar the game will pause and allow players to move at their own pace in a single player game. Pay attention to the upkeep costs of ships and buildings, too. This will sap production and credits from your Empire and it is an easy way to go bankrupt. Automated Governors are useful to the new player, but according to Forums they have no contingency plans yet for a serious debt. Having no money will eventually cause rebels to land on home planets and kill the civilians. Effectively causing strategists to rebuild their once thriving colonies. The domino effect continues, as the more money is spent fixing this issue, the more likely another planet will join the rebellion.
One feature already in the game that sets it apart from the rest is the Shipyard Design screen. This section pauses the current game and allows players to create their own custom ships to be used—from cargo Transports to massive Frigates. Pre-made ships for each colony all fail to use every upgrade that is unlockable with Research Tech. And StarDrive expects player to utilize these new weapons and perks on their own will, with their own creativity.
The game will unmistakably take more than a few playthroughs to fully comprehend all the components and possibilities it has to offer. Online matches will also be a thing of the full release, that many will look forward to. Playing eight player PvP matches will truly test superiority of the StarDrive universe. Fans who have already purchased the beta will get a discount on the full release later this April. By then, fans from across the globe will be filling up the wikis on this one. Mods will soon follow, and the community will be flowing with custom content and advanced strategies that will give this game many more deserving play hours.