by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
After my review on the excellent Sins of a Solar Empire the other day, I was hungry for more galaxy conquering. Having an extra day off over the Easter weekend provided me with all the excuse I needed to pick up a copy of Lost Empire: Immortals. On my way home, humming along, I started musing over my upcoming domination of the galaxy. My good mood was easily explained by the fact that, unlike Sins, Immortals is turn-based. I generally prefer my conquests to progress at my own pace, taking my time to plot out the best course for my people. What I didn’t know at that time that I was in for a bit of a disappointment.
The razor-thin plot of Lost Empire: Immortals tells the story of a lost civilization called the Eonians that once ruled the galaxy. At the brink of extinction, they sought out six promising races and gave them the technology needed for space exploration and colonization. Their hopes of reestablishing their empire with the help of these races could not prevent their demise and now, without guidance from the Eonians, the six races are left to fend for themselves.
Select your race and up you go
Setting up a new game is as simple as can be. Select your race and click on start. There is a choice of map shape and size but I’ll get to that later. It isn’t easy to get started with Immortals as the interface is unclear and if you are a turn-based space veteran, you will likely be looking for features that just aren’t there. Question: “How do I open the planet window to build structures on my planet?”. Answer: “There is none”. Your planets upgrade themselves slowly but steadily, depending on how many mineral resources you leave available to them.
The rest of your minerals are used for building ships. Ship parts need to be researched first and research is funded through your tax coffers. Besides minerals and credits, food is the last resource and often proved hard to come by. A successful empire tends to grow quicker than its food supply, making fertile farming planets one of your most valuable assets. You can control the distribution of your resources through sliders in the Empire menu. Moving the sliders for credits (influences research) and minerals (reserve minerals to either improve planets or build ships) is easily understood but it took me a trip to the official forums to figure out that sliding the food bar over 100% adds to combat morale.
Planets have different qualities and finding the right one for your purposes is of immense importance. Upon visiting a planet with one of your ships, you will see the planet’s ratings in the areas of food, mining, production, trade and biospheres (for population). Some planets are utterly useless in all of these areas while others excel at one or almost all of them. Gaining control of a couple of resource-rich planets will go a long way in ensuring your survival. Once you have colonized a new planet, you can assign it a role to suit its resources. Ideally, you would assign a planet rich in minerals the ‘mining’ role so that it can use the resources with optimum efficiency. If you are especially strapped for another resource, or need a defensive presence in the region, you can also assign it some other role entirely.
Discovering the discoveries
A good leader knows that research should be one of his foremost priorities. Well, there is lots of research to be done in Lost Empires: Immortals. So much in fact, that it will make your head spin. On top of that, the research paths are incredibly long and - due to the sheer amount of options - mildly chaotic to boot. You can run several research projects at the same time which is helpful because before long you won’t be able to choose what to research anymore.
On the plus side, many technologies can be refined upon simply by researching them again and again. By doing so, you can truly customize your empire in any way you see fit. Do you want to be a production powerhouse and be known for having the most efficient mining operations in the galaxy? You can. Would you rather have plasma weapons that can cut through ship hulls like a hot knife through butter? Provide enough cash for the research and it will happen sooner or later. Research can be boosted by colonizing planets that have traces of the Immortals left on them.
No Pros and Cons at this time