Stellaris. Or, Taking Over the Galaxy, One Star System at a Time

Welcome, Star Slime! For that is what you shall henceforth be known as while I address this letter to you and your budding strategists for conquering the galaxy.

First things first, who likes unemployment? Yes? Me too. I love not working. Or… no? Okay, you might not like this game. And I’m not just talking about unemployment in the real world, because that’d be too easy to sum up this review letter! No, you’ll also experience unemployment on the planets that you colonize and conquer throughout your journey to become the greatest space-faring civilization in your randomly generated galaxy’s history!

WOOOOOO! Unemployment!!!
  1. There are Fallen Empires. These are ancient civilizations, thousands of years old, that rapidly progressed in technological progress before falling off the deep end and stagnating for several hundred to a thousand years.

There are also empires that somehow developed and progressed to the point of FTL travel at the exact same time as your empire in the year 2200 on 01/01/2200. How exactly every regular empire in the game managed to acquire FTL travel at the exact same time as your civilization is beyond me, but hey, this game is customizable and interpretive. Write your own narrative for it! You can choose among the pre-made empires and races, or you can create your own, giving them their own copious backstory and other minuet details to create not just the basis for a perfect galactic species, but a perfect galactic empire filled with many species.

So many buildings and things to see… so little work to do…

Ultimately, I play my empire fairly standard. I’ve been trying to get as many Steam achievements as possible, so I play on Iron Man mode right now, which is great fun and hard because you can’t just save and go back when your empire is getting crushed by a 5x more powerful crisis.

I modeled my empire after the Roman Republic and called it the Triarian Republic. Parallel to Roman civilization, my galactic civilization began as a republic, then transformed into a full-blown imperial empire after I acquired Psionic traits and contacted the Shroud (basically mental telepathy equivalent to the battle meditation ability in Star Wars KOTOR II, but way cooler and the whole species can use it). I am accepting of all the galaxy’s species as long as they are subservient to my Empire’s will. The big difference between my empire and the Roman one? Mine is led mainly by a venerable group of bipedal lizards and my God-Empress is immortal (please don’t get the drug abuser trait, God-Empress! I love you, live forever).

So, Star Slime, are you ready for the worst? Because you’ll also have to fight endgame crises! Invaders from other dimensions, inter-galactic devourers, and sentient AI that tries to take over the galaxy as well!

Doesn’t this all sound like fun? Are you feeling it now Mr. Slime? Are you feeling it now Mr. Slime? Are you feeling it now? Are you feeling it…

… the grind of exploring a randomly generated galaxy. The rising unemployment of a diverse empire. Developing your species to be mental telepathics. And ultimately taking over a galaxy filled with mortal dangers that could destroy your empire at any moment and cause you to cry at all the progress you lost in-game?

Does this all sound like fun? Yes! Look, I know I’m painting out this game to be more of a time-sucking bore than it is a great strategy game, but I’ve sunk over 280 hours into the game since May of last year. This is an incredibly relaxing and slow-going game up until you get sucked into a war with a Fallen Empire you can’t beat. But the game is equal bits empire management and equal bits space-battles. And it’s entirely in real time, which is an awesome way of saying that you get to watch your empire conquer other empires without having to wait for the AIs next moves. Your empire will constantly be progressing, and the reward for picking the right technological, warfare, and economic upgrade is that you develop your empire faster and faster until, before you know it, you’ve conquered the entirety of the fictional Andromeda Galaxy! If that’s what you want to call it, of course.

Next time I’ll talk about Death Stars… ahem, I meant The Colossus.

Destroying planets full of life! Hurray!

Score: 9/10

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