StarDrive

More info »

StarDrive

Preview

Combat and conquest at the forefront

First contact (cntd)


By now, my fleet of souped-up fighters was ready. Eager to test their mettle in battle, I sent the fleet off to the drone-invested star system. This time around, my fleet beat the bejeezus out of the enemy drones. The new design had a significant impact on their effectiveness, a trend that continued with following designs, especially on ships with larger footprints. Properly laid out, swarms of small ships can take out bigger ones and vice versa and diversity in ship roles can go a long way.

My colony ship underway, a new race called the Draylock knocked on my virtual door. They agreed to a non-aggression pact which suited me just fine. Almost the moment I ended the conversation, however, the Draylock ambassador opened up a new dialogue to tell me that they had laid claim on the system that I had fought so hard over to clean out. She told me that settling the system would mean our relationship would turn sour. Obviously I wasnt going to let go of my prize so easily so I gave the order to colonize regardless, to hell with the consequences.

Mastering StarDrive


From here, things quickly spiraled out of control, a third race called the Vulfen popped up out of nowhere, promising to exterminate me at the same time. I put up a valiant effort defending my planets and managed to destroy the first two enemy fleets but ultimately failed against the third. With my air defenses down, the enemy ground troops took my planets in short order, but not before the game would give me hope that I could still come out on top. Both the Cordrazine and the Draylock declared war on the newcomer but their help did not arrive in time.

Somewhat confused at the speed at which everything went down, I started a new game and managed to stay in the game much longer. It is clear that StarDrive is not easily mastered and while I was defeated a second time, I was still hungry for more.

Tinker-time


StarDrive adopts some of the alien races from Master of Orion but any comparison ends there. There simply isnt enough depth and the real-time element is an undeniable game changer. With its focus on combat and conquest rather than on developing planets, StarDrive has more in common with Imperium Galactica. Dont get me wrong, you can and must develop your planets to be successful, but the real-time nature of the game keeps pulling your attention to the overall map.

Additionally, the Beta version of StarDrive is stable but a little rough around the edges when it comes to its interface. Moving about requires heavy scroll-wheeling and windows some windows are closed with an X whereas others require a right-click of the mouse. There are other things, though nothing too major and the developers have a month of tinker-time left to smooth things out before their game needs to live up to our scrutiny.