Endless Space might look like just another space themed 4x game on the outside. But after playing through its beta I can safely say that this indie studio is giving us something more to work with. Like many other strategy games it takes a little bit to learn what’s going on. And once you do you’ll learn that Endless Space is bringing interesting and unique content to the playing field. But instead of focusing on graphics and mechanics that have yet to be finalized, I’m going to preview a couple of specific features that gives this game originality.
Endless Space has 8 playable races that each have unique traits and goals. And unlike other games where the race you choose dictates small changes like starting technologies and special abilities or units, Endless Space’s races very heavily on how the game will be played.
To start, the different alien species have a variety of backgrounds. You have common races like the technologically advanced and religious groups. But then you have unique groups like the Carvers. The Carvers descended from insects and don’t look or act like races I’ve seen in other games. They lack the ability to have any diplomatic relations. They also devour everything on their home planet so they need to constantly expand their colonies to survive.
Every civilization has the ability to dominate the solar system with force. But for many civilizations this kind of victory is unrealistic. For instance one race has weak soldiers and builders. But they are a technologically advanced race that can win the game by unlocking all technologies. Other ways to become victorious include colonizing enough planets, and being a good diplomat. This set up really makes Endless Space a strategy game unlike others. Each player is trying to win, but in different ways.
Learning new knowledge and technologies is a constant feature across the 4x board. But Endless Space takes it to a new level. There are four basic technology trees: Exploration, Diplomacy, Galactic Warfare, and Applied Sciences. Things that you’d normally take for granted like the ability to negotiate with other players and colonize new planets are locked without the right technologies.
Colonizing a new planet, for instance, can require numerous different technologies. Each environment requires a different technology to make inhabitable. A dessert planet would require different knowledge to colonize than an artic planet or a planet with no ozone layer. Then, once the colony is set up there might be problems with the world like poor soil or radiation. Each of these problems requires different technologies as well.
It’s the same way with the diplomatic tree. In a game like Civilization we take for granted the ability to make peace treaties and trade goods, money, colonies, and ships. But in Endless Space each of these actions requires certain bits of technology to do. It’s the same way for the other two technology trees. Making each piece of technology specific makes picking the right technologies at the right time very important.
4x Strategy games focus on micro managing troops, colonies, and the empire as a whole. And while it takes a little while to get a hang of it, Endless Space makes this management seem natural. It’s layout allows the game to be played informed and easily.
Your race expands by conquering star systems that each have up to 6 planets. Each planet is an independent world that needs to be colonized one by one. But all of the individual world’s improvements are done on the star system menu. This is also where players build ships and improvements for the star system as a whole. This is a great set-up because instead of micro-managing 40 individual planets at once you’re only managing 10 star systems.
On a broader scale, the empire menu is where big decisions are made. Taxation and budgets can be changed from here instead of within each star systems window. It’s also a place where you can quickly queue up the next improvement or ship that each star system is made. Endless Space has created a video game world that allows players to zoom in to individual worlds, or zoom out to the entire empire and easily preform the same actions.
And while there are many more aspects to Endless Space that I could cover, it’s these things that spoke to me as original or helpful features. If you’re into strategy games then I defiantly would recommend this game when it comes out. Its adding new features to an old school genre. Look forward to a review when the full version comes out. If you have any questions about Endless Space leave a comment below!