Friday, November 30, 2012

Endless Space - Prelude to a Free Weekend

Endless Space is a 4X space game from Amplitude Studio.  They are actively developing the game post-release using a system they call GAMES2GETHER, a very transparent approach to game development.

I picked the game up during the Steam Thanksgiving sale and have played about 12 hours so far.  It came recommended from a friend who also likes turn-based strategy games.  The game uses a minimal UI that works fairly well.  The overall feel of the game itself is a sense of detachment, as you survey the entire galaxy from a far away view.  The map is a familiar star-graph with jump lanes and wormholes connecting stars together and forming choke-points during the early and mid-games.  Later on, players can develop new ship drives that bypass node lines, opening up the map just as the ships get big and dangerous.

Amplitude has done a rather interesting thing with ship movement: fleets can interdict a system, forcing other fleets to attack them if they wish to leave the system.  This means you can use your fleets to trap enemy fleets or control access to particular parts of the map.  When combined with Amplitude's decision to start players in a "cold war" state, the early game colony rush contains the real possibility of evolving into a shooting war.  Battles look spectacular and uses a 5-phase system to keep battles short and micromanagement free.

Fleets can interdict systems, blocking enemy movement.
The game can feel a bit flat from time to time, but I think that it's definitely worth keeping your eye on as development continues.  As an added bonus, Endless Space is free to play this weekend.  So if you have a Steam account, go and check it out!
One of my early games.