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Mixed or average reviews- based on 398 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 93 out of 398

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  1. Jun 15, 2013
    This game, with out question, is some of the most unmitigated garbage I have ever had the displeasure of purchasing. The game itself is brutally buggy, with above average BSOD rates, and numerous crashes. A considerable amount of players are simply unable to even start the game without confusing fixes, or mods. The game itself is flat and uninteresting, with little difference between the races, and NO difference between how they react to you. The AI itself can only be described as "Game Ruining." It is intensely brutal, and utterly unforgiving in the most unpleasant way. (It also doesn't have to use the game's horrific GUI and exceedingly tedious ship design mechanics).

    The ONLY saving grace of this game is the modding community, and a plethora of rabid, active fans who are eager to apologize for their dev putting out trash, and selling it for 30$.

  2. Oct 11, 2013
    Game is incomplete, and the developer has said he's spending most of his time porting the game over to a new project based on the game that buyers of this one would have to pay again for. DO NOT BUY. It's a sad case of an indie developer taking the money, calling the game "complete" and running.
  3. Oct 10, 2013
    Honestly this game, is the reason i vowed never to purchase any indie games in alpha/beta mode. Never buy a game on its potential, because what do you get for buying it unfinished? Nothing except the risk of a bad game that never delivers, that's why from now on I'm waiting till release, so i don't buy broken promises.

    If you want tangible reasons not to buy this game then, firstly the
    game was unfinished at release, ships were missing, the game crashes often, freighters don't work properly, multiplayer wasn't implemented as promised and the developer looks like he has pretty much given up on this game and letting community modders fix his unfinished problems. Which are the people who have posted all the great reviews here for the game...

    I've seen this game go on sale multiple times shortly after "release" when it was still marred with bugs and problems, sorry to say it looked like a quick money grab. Which is made worse by the fact that any critical threads warning people about the game get deleted, further proving the point.

    I was banned from the steam community discussion of this game because i expressed my opinion that this game wasn't worth the price...

    Would i recommend this game to anyone? No.
    Simply because i feel conned for buying this game, user comments are deleted which are critical of the game... Sorry that's the last straw for me.
  4. Apr 30, 2013
    Great game i am enjoying it. It is way more fun from Endless Space which has an awful card-battle system and it feels like a better 4x title compared to Sins of a Solar Empire which does not have any deepness beyond big battles
  5. Apr 28, 2013
    ver since Master of Orion 2 was released, there hasn't really been a worthy successor. MoO3 was garbage, and several imitators have come along trying to capture the magic of the franchise. StarDrive manages to reinvigorate the 4x genre and is a hell of a lot of fun.

    I would give it a 10, but there are still some bugs that need to be ironed out. This game is definitely an indie gem t… Expand
  6. Apr 27, 2013
    First, the bad: StarDrive is a good game, but it was not ready for launch day. In my opinion it should have been delayed another few weeks. Echoing the other comments I see here, the biggest issue right now is the game instability and the late game slow down/lag. This alone is a reason to keep it in beta. I understand games these days are fluid with the ability to patch and update on the fly, however there is a certain standard of stability and reliability I think is expected of an officially launched title, and this game does not meet that criteria.

    The second troubling issue is that while the mechanics are sound, the game itself lacks depth. The research trees need to be broadened, diplomacy needs to be deeper, and there needs to be more weapons/ship components. It reminds me a lot of a game called Star Ruler, which was fun but needed some additional polish which in time was added both by Mods and the developers themselves.

    That all being said, the developer has shown to be an extremely dedicated and motivated individual, and I have no doubt in my mind that these things WILL be added, in time.

    The game itself has excellent core content, the concepts are well designed, economy makes sense, and combat is fantastic. Modding is built in right from the beginning, and multi-player is on the horizon. If anything, this game has some great potential. I hope it does not become another Star Ruler, where it was not financially viable to create another expansion/continue updating.
    If I had to do it all over again, I would still buy this game again today.
  7. Apr 27, 2013
    Overall this is a great 4x strategy space game that is very well done and has a lot of replayability. When the custom designed ships of your main battle fleet come out of warp into the enemy solar system and begin firing off missile and energy beam salvos at the defending enemy fleet lying in wait, it’s an experience that few other strategy games out there can really match.

    For a quick
    overview of the game, it is a 4x space strategy game where you start with one planet and a few ships, and expand your empire through colonization, diplomacy and war until you have gained dominance over the galaxy.

    The game takes a lot of inspiration from past space 4x games, however, there are a number of ways where it differs from its forebears. Fortunately, most of these differences work to its advantage. First of all, it is played in real-time instead of being turned based. However, don’t let that fool you, it is much more in the vein of turn based strategy games such as Galactic Civilizations or Endless Space than real time games such as Sins of a Solar Empire. You manage your planets, create trade routes, and engage in diplomacy as you would in a turn based game, and you are able to pause the action at any time. Being able to guide your ships in real time as they engage the enemy fleet, however, is a definite plus.

    The game’s largest drawback is probably the lack of intuitiveness of some the game menu screens. For example, right clicking in many of the menu screens will close it and return to the galaxy map. This makes navigating through the different overview screens easy and streamlined when it works. However, this doesn’t work with some screens, such as the fleet design screen, where you have to either press the “escape” key or click on the “x” button in the upper right corner to get back to the action.

    Additionally, some information isn’t accessible from certain screens where it intuitively should be. For example, the ship customization screen only allows you to create new designs. If you want to update an existing design, you have to go to the planet management screen first.

    One of the game’s biggest strengths are the innovative gameplay mechanics that it brings to the genre. However, this also ends up being one of its greatest drawbacks as it often doesn’t do an effective job of explaining the new systems to you. A more fleshed out interactive tutorial would do wonders to improve the initial game experience. For example, the planet automation system is a vital aspect of gameplay but it is poorly explained. It took me a while to figure out that managing a space empire in Stardrive is all about having a few major planets that you manually control, and then delegating the rest of your planets as specialized food, production, or research planets. Once I got a handle on this system the game became much more enjoyable and my empire started to hum along much more smoothly.

    Trade ships are another innovative gameplay mechanic that isn’t properly introduced to the player. Trade ships are the lifeblood of your empire and ferry food, production, and colonists between planets in your empire that need them. Automating trade ships is an important game feature that allows the AI to automatically create and manage trade ships as needed, instead of the player having to constantly make sure there’s an adequate number. Again, once I figured out how important automating them was, not having to micromanage them improved my gameplay experience considerably.

    Lastly, bugs are still a minor issue as the game leaves beta. The only serious bug I encountered was that at a certain point in the game, the sound effects during space battles became too much for my audio card to handle, and all sound would shut off until I restarted the game. I eventually changed some audio settings on my computer to resolve the problem. Aside from some occasion slowdown in large battles, however, this was the only bug I encountered.

    Overall, Stardrive is one of the most engrossing 4x space strategy games I have played. Diplomacy is fun and interesting due to the fleshed out personalities and well-crafted race animations. Ship design adds a great level of depth as each of the weapon systems have advantages and disadvantages, and each race has unique base ship layouts which encourages experimentation. Unexplored worlds can potentially yield relics with potent empire wide bonuses and a number of additional minor factions such as pirates make exploration consistently interesting from game to game.

    Stardrive is an extremely well-crafted game and I’m going to give it an 8. It’s something the 4x space genre has been needing for a long time, and if it wasn’t for the issues mentioned above it would deserve a near perfect score. It’s the most fun I’ve had playing a 4x strategy game in a while, and if you can get past the sometimes clunky interface and a slightly less than intuitive learning curve, I highly recommend it.
  8. Apr 26, 2013
    I absolutely love this game and I can't wait for the continued support it will receive. For me-it has the perfect blend of autonomy required to reduce micro-management while at the same time allowing you to personalize your empire.

    Zero has been a great dev-very in touch with his community-even releasing several bugfixes in one day!

    The game itself plays like any 4X game, but
    features the most intricate and AWESOME combat system I have ever seen. Every ship is lovingly crafted from single modules, ranging from armor plating, to guns, to nuclear reactors. Each one of these components can be damaged in combat resulting in loss off function-what happens if you're ship has a poorly defended reactor that gets hit by a volley of flack?

    You'd think this system would only be in place for a single RPG style game, but no-you have tons of these custom designed ships flying around, engaging in simulated warfare that puts your designs to the test. Does your ship have a blindspot? Well it will definitely show in combat.

    Among other things-I love the atmosphere of the game. Each race is lovingly crafted and has it's own unique personality.

    The game needs a little bit more polish, many people want balancing for troop mechanics and a few other things, but that will come in time. I know Zero won't let this hang.

    In terms of my own opinions, all I want is more content! More guns, more research, more races, more modules. That's really it-as well as some minor changes to design UI.

    Well worth its money, I've played a sleuth of 4X games like Elemental, Civ, SOASE, and a few more but so far I have to say this is my favourite.
  9. Apr 27, 2013
    Probably the most fun 4x game I've ever played. It currently has it's share of bugs and requires a ton of polish. However I've had more fun with this unfinished product then I did with Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellion, Endless space, and Sword of the stars(the first sots, I don't like the second) combined. The ship building as good if not better then Sots, the empire management and combat is better then Sins, and the planet/star system development is better then Endless space. Add on top of that the optional auto managing systems which make even me, the single worst macro player ever, able to fight on five fronts with nine different fleets and you have a great game. I just can't wait for future updates. Expand
  10. Apr 27, 2013
    This game is amazing. Anyone who is a fan of Sins of a Solar Empire or Sword of The Stars will love this game. Its got depth, graphics, sound, gameplay....everything. There are somethings that need some fixing but overall a great game from a small company.
  11. May 1, 2013
    I decided to write a review since this game seems to have polarized effect on people:love it or hate it.And justifiy why I gave it a 9 tough it is incomplete which might sound crazy.

    The reason for this is i havent played that fun and addictive game for a long time.The ship designing with arcs of fire commanding then your engeenering efforts in battle and seeing how they do, all
    in pausable real time, the trading economy which leads to specialized planets (you see and must protect all your trading ships), researching techs for those ships, the cool little story arcs like remnants or revorans (tough they are unfinished but what is, is cool)., the really fun space opera style races, it all meshes up into a great experience.The AI isnt exceptional but with bonuses it gets on harder difficulties the game is a big challenge, which is imho what matters ultimately.

    Now the bad the core gameplay is here and its great, but all in all the game is unfinished, Like mentioned before the story arcs are unfiinished and admitted by the dev it will be expanded later.The UI is sometimes very awkward and requires you to click a lot to get things done, so it might be tiresome. Also it might be hard to learn the game for a person new to the genre, there are some tutorials and info but generally i would say the game is low on teaching a new person. The tech tree will propably be expanded., i expect some stuff rebalanced.Me personally i had a very stable experience, with one freeze and a few vanishing sound bugs in over 50 hours of gameplay, but poeple have been reporting on forums some have big problems. Also i had no such problems even on large galaxy with 7 oponents, but some reports big slowdowns then.

    So is it in part unfishined Yeah. Is it great fun as it is?Hell yeah:).

    Admiteddly i am a big fan of the 4x genre, loved Galciv 2, Endless Space, inital Master of Orion games.
  12. Apr 28, 2013
    This game really brings back a ton of the excitement that I had when playing games like StarControl and Masters of Orion. I'm a digital artist working in the games industry and I can really appreciate the detail and crafting put into the space combat.

    While there are a lot of polish points that the game could benefit from addressing (UI, planetary and fleet management, etc) I applaud
    the makers of this game for creating a really engaging (and addictive!) experience that even a more novice player such as myself can sink their teeth into.

    I look forward to playing this game a TON more and seeing what the developers come up with next be it DLC content or a new game. StarDrive is something they could build a huge franchise on and I wish them warp speed in their efforts to bring 4X strategy games back in force!
  13. Apr 28, 2013
    A fantastic game that has a new take on 4X. The shipyard is interesting and meaningful and the real time elements give the 4X genre a bit of pace.

    The low price and the developer's commitment elevate this to an 8.

    If your looking for something new in the strategy area, look no further!!
  14. Apr 28, 2013
    Yes this game is what it says it is, 4x! I specifically checked for multilayer before buying and noted from their home site that it would be added after launch. I then checked that regular updates were being made. There are bugs, but compared to EA's track record, this game is perfect at launch!

    I thought Sins would be better than what it was, and was looking for a GalCIV multiplayer
    for the wife and myself (since Stardock punked out and wouldn't release one!). This game is not quite there yet but well on it's way. Thanks Zero, look forward to a long and happy relationship with this game. Expand
  15. Apr 29, 2013
    Star Drive is a real time 4x game with many similarities to the turn based Galactic Civilizations. It is still in its Beta phase so expect balancing issues, bugs and some unfinished features. It is hard to predict how good the game will be once it's released as there are still many issues that need to be adressed, mostly concerning the ground combat, performance and AI.

    The economic
    side of the game is pretty simple, each planet has a population cap and base food and production multipliers and can be enhanced by building improvements. Unlike in GC there is no happiness and it does not cost money to produce ressources and food, instead the taxrate takes a share of all the production and research credits, making the economic system much simpler. The core focus of the game lies in rapid expansion, logistics and combat.

    The Shipyard, the tool to design your own ships, is the most unique feature of the game. The shiphulls have slots for different components laid out on a 2D plane, more then 1000 for some of the largest ships and only 10 for the smallest. The components placed on the ship don't simply add up to a total HP, defense and firepower rating like in Galactic Civilizations, their position plays a great role in combat. Shots hitting the components damage until destruction and are then taken out of combat until they are repaired, generators cause secondary explosions that damage surrounding components and when the last bridge component is destroyed the whole ship fails clever ship design makes a huge difference, good designs can be vastly superior to the designs the AI uses, at least once frigates and cruisers become available.

    This also makes the different races with their individual ship designs fundamentally different, the Vulfen Imperium for example has pretty small ships that can be turned into cheap heavy hitting, but weak destroyers whereas the Opteris have huge ships with many slots for armor plates that can't be used for guns, making them last for a long time under heavy fire, but slow, hard to miss and less firepower for the money.

    The downside to the shipyard is that it is possible to build vastly superior ships compared to the AI. Larger groups of cheap Vulfen frigates equipped with low tech weapons can have enough firepower to destroy everything the AI may have to offer during late game, and thanks to the possibility to adapt to the designs the AI usually uses even before a war starts gives human players a huge advantage, regardless of how good their designs are. Currently there is a serious lack of challenge in the game once you survive the early stage.

    Another thing that reduces the difficulty is the lack of declining productivity increases with larger empires like in civilization where happiness is a serious issue. There is absolutely no reason not to colonize a planet; the worst that can happen is that you simply won't get anything out of it.

    Conclusion: This games core mechanics have a huge potential, but are also part of its biggest weakness players can systematically outsmart the AI. Other then that it's a lot of fun developing strategies and ship designs. Assuming most of the current issues get solved and a multiplayer mode implemented this could become a great multiplayers game, and I'm really looking forward to its final release. If you like the Genre, but don't want to be part of a closed beta (and don't trust the developer to properly finish the game) you should keep an eye on this game and wait for its release.
  16. Dec 20, 2013
    This is a game that I really wanted to be good. It has a lot of good features but the bugs make it almost impossible to enjoy. The game lag gets so bad towards end game it becomes unplayable. Game ending crashing if battles get to big. This is not a finished product.
  17. Jul 14, 2013
    Nice graphics and game mechanics, the research fields seem sparse though.

    The UI needs work BADLY, beta release badly. This game should NOT have been in the steam summer sale.
  18. Jul 20, 2013
    Ui needs lots of work, Game is buggy, research tec is boring as hell. The world seems bit dead to me, start was okay, but after that it dropped ball. Its shame that i wasted money on this game, even it was on the sale it was not worth the price.
  19. Oct 25, 2013
    Yes, StarDrive is beautiful... the graphics aren't academy award winning, yet compelling, and yes, breath taking to some degree. However if you are going to try and be the next guy to try and take a stab at writing the next MoO4 do it with some effort, don't toss in a scant few tech trees and leave the storyline half finished with enough plot holes to sink the Titanic!

    Considering that
    it's painfully obvious the developer was trying to be THAT guy who created a true MoO4, yeah, I was less than impressed. The tech trees are NOT finished, that and I'm clueless to the significance of the later story line (I wouldn't even contemplate spoiling it... seriously, a three year old could do that for you.) I mean, some of the tech even pointed to future advances, yet.... I bought a game which sort of c*ck blocked me tech wise. That as far as I can tell all of the races really have the same tech potential.... just stupid looking ships (unless you played as Human, we rock.)

    I can't move on yet, I should gripe and grumble about how annoying planetary assaults are and how useless the transport ships seem to be, however.... the tech! You see... this is 2013, almost 2014... if you are going to have tech you better have a lot of it. I mean, I think of the tech in this game and two thoughts come to mind... number 1, I miss MoO2 all of a sudden, and number 2? Meh, soggy cereal meh. I need Viagra meh. I and probably quite a few die hard MoO fans probably expected a better showing of tech considering that graphically and mechanically StarDrive is as damned close to the play style of MoO, and yet.... someone dropped the ball.

    Me is an alien! You kill me... now you get.... some poop tech and that's it.

    Yeah, so far two or three tech advances from an alien race that is like the Borg on crack, meth and gods know what else... you'd think there would be more, but, nah. 90% of that alien race apparently operated on generic pixie dust or something. And is it me... or is tech thus far really the problem, or lack of tech thereof? The spy tech is really short, like mini-me short. Ugh... tech problems, must keep writing yet getting bored!

    Let's take a breather.... the map crashed way too much, I have yet to find an option to delete save files and for some odd reason all new games carry old ship designs to new games when appropriate ship tech is researched, which ends up being a massive mess... worse? I at least can't find an option to delete ship designs, so yeah, you end up with too many designs. And OH MY GODS! That largest ship.... it takes me at least an HOUR to place weapons and such in those REALLY small boxes on that ENORMOUSLY LARGE ship! I'm not even exaggerating! My eyes were nearly bleeding afterward...

    Okay, yeah.... that ship editor, dem boxes. Dat whole hour... and realizing time passed you by and the game has all of a sudden given you a MAJOR headache. Death by ship design! Now, let's discuss artifacts.... discussion done. You can win without them, in fact... aside from being a bit annoying to acquire, they are nothing more than well... I dunno, honestly I never had any will power to mess with them... pretty much man handled every race in a maxed race game, took a dump on them during diplomacy and shoved my warships down their throats. So... artifacts, yeah.

    As for the planets, well... they also seemed to need more tech, in fact I sort of wish the planet scape wasn't so small... I mean, no matter how large the planet you still always have the same amount of map space, which itself well... somehow represents an entire planet of people. I'm guessing the developer is the dude who thought our planet was square back in the day, cause the planets in this game are very square, sort of. On the space map, we see planets! But on the management screen, squares, MORE friggin squares! Arg...

    Okay, I know... you want some positivity dontcha? The Terran ships looks cool, that and apparently the dev loves Cthu'lhu, and who doesn't? The game mechanics are actually simple after you spend a hour or two playing, you do have to balance research and trade... but...

    The ship design system is... painful. Yes, it is comprehensive, but the largest ship can mess up your eyes (eye strain). The tech is limp, sorry, but it is. The aliens are sociopaths... their hot and their cold, yes and then no.... you get the idea.

    "Oh mergerd you landered on the planet I wanted firsted!"

    Seriously, as if I knew... and then I made them my.... expletive. Final words, no, I'm not going to rate this anything more than a 4, and that's me being a nice guy. I'm not saying the game is dog turd, but it ain't entirely MoO either. Game like this will never improve until consumers as a whole bring out their beat sticks and spank some dev butt.... as for StarDrive? Meh.
  20. Nov 1, 2013
    [quote="Zero"][quote="Murundi"]Hmmmm, strange.... I seem to remember someone, somewhere saying that it was IMPOSSIBLE to fix the OOM errors. How odd, the great and mighty can make mistakes? I must have imagined it.[/quote]

    So what's the point of this comment? It's just trolling. I put in some serious homework time to try and fix this OOM error and I get for it? What do you want
    from me?[/quote]

    This sums up what you will get into if you purchase this game. The Developer gets enraged when called on either lies, or if not lies, then conclusions that he has come too that may or may not be fact. He says something, dismisses it, goes onto something new, then is shown that it maybe is possible if you just look at it in a different more experienced way.... since you are brand new to this Job and doing it all by yourself you should know that you may just not know everything.

    Saying things are impossible, then retracting because everyone is having OOM issues with a game that has been deemed "finished product" because you are "Happy" with it. I don't think you are "Happy" with it, I think you realize that you have been caught 2x saying something now and then flip flopping on it because you know it is a concern of more than just a "Vocal Minority".

    Fix your first game so it is playable before you start construction on your second game, period.
  21. Dec 23, 2013
    Do yourself a favor and stay far far away from this pile of garbage. Please understand me when I say I am absolutely not the type to give games a zero score out of spite. In this case, however, StarDrive deserves nothing more. The developer is known to have blatantly abandoned development before actually completing the game (but not before making obscene amounts of money from early adopters who made the mistake of expecting to one day have a completed game). What little the developer has said on the matter seems to suggest that the issue is general incompetence in terms of game-design resources. In other words, he's hit some brick walls in the development process and doesn't know how to progress beyond them. Many customers who paid full price were lured in with various promises from the developer of multiplayer and a bunch of other features which were dropped. Even that wouldn't necessarily be a show-stopper if the game could actually be played from start to finish under most circumstances. As things stand now, if the "out of memory" errors don't get you, the glaring holes in crucial game-play elements will. What the developer has done in this case is nothing short of completely unscrupulous.

    Being as he abandoned StarDrive, you may be glad to know that he's now decided to call StarDrive "StarDrive Vanilla" whilst he develops a remake on an alternate engine. He has stated that the snubbed adopters of so-called "StarDrive Vanilla" are welcome to purchase the remake (at full price of course barf).

    Actually, instead of simply avoiding StarDrive, you might want to also avoid any titles produced by ZeroSum Games and Iceberg Interactive. The fiasco that is StarDrive has revealed that both the developer and publisher are not at all concerned with the sentiment inferred by this review, which is ***EXTREMELY*** wide-spread, I assure you (check the Steam forums for this game if Zero hasn't deleted the relevant posts, that is).

    Only consider purchasing this most-of-a-game if you have no intention of ever seeing it in a completed state. Also, be prepared to encounter game-killing bugs, a complete and utter lack of any gameplay elements which go even slightly beyond the absolute bare-minimum, and a developer who not only openly declares himself "unconcerned" with customers' (quite valid) problems, but actually goes out of his way to publicly censor or scorn anyone who dares bring any such things up.

    Do not believe the people making recent posts about how the game is being "updated on a daily basis" or anyone who says it's being worked on at all. This has been discussed to death on the Steam & official forums... The game has been abandoned by the developer. Anyone saying otherwise is LYING. Case in point, "ProfessionalGuy". He posted this very day, talking about how the game is constantly being improved & updated "almost on a daily basis". This is simply not true. There has not been any meaningful update in... I can't even remember when the last *REAL* update was made/distributed.

    I didn't believe it until now, but there were rumors about how supposedly fake posters were going around submitting favorable reviews for this game on various rating sites... Well now I believe this to be 100% true, because I can think of no reason which adequately explains ProfessionalGuy's review (specifically the score of 10 and the statement that the game's development is active and not in fact abandoned). It's not just him either. There are many such review all over the internet which are flat-out lies. Don't believe it. Do not give ZeroSum Games or Iceberg Interactive any more money.
  22. Dec 9, 2013
    This game had potential but the end game gets boring and there must be some memory problems because my new laptop can hardly run it near the end of the game. This game should be listed as an early release. However, it appears the developer abandoned it after promising for months to keep working on the game.
  23. Apr 30, 2013
    StarDrive is an ambitious project from an independent developer that's in fact just 1 guy! In light of that, it's quite an accomplishment. Pros: Great artwork, especially in the diplomacy interface You can design your own starships from the ground up Robust planet management interface Solid 4X game, and there aren't many of these Comprehensive faction creation process that allows you to choose the bonuses and issues your civilization will have.

    Some UI (such as game speed, pausing) is missing
    Diplomacy is oddly limited, economic prosperity alone doesn't mean anything. You have to have things like artifacts, technology or colonies to trade to make other civs like you more.
    late game slow downs which really impact performance/enjoyment of the game

    As others have mentioned, it's stellar for an indie game and it has a lot of playability. Once the lategame stability issues are fixed and if people start modding it, it'll have a really long lifespan and a bright future. I'm also hoping for some sort of multiplayer mode (the kickstarter mentioned some sort of DOTA/MOBA/tabletop inspired game where you compete in quick matches with prebulit fleets)

    Overall, it's well worth the price, and I do not regret the $26 I put down to play it.
  24. Apr 29, 2013
    This is the best 4x game since Master of Orion II. That being said, Moo2 still sits upon the throne.

    StarDrive is a worthy heir. Obviously a labor of love, this indie gem was developed by a small crew with very little money behind them, and the result is a perfectly gorgeous 4x game. It feels like this is what master of Orion 3 was trying to be.

    The RTS aspect is engaging, but you
    can also pause to fine-tune your build queues. The universe is an exciting place to explore you can find artifacts that permanently improve your racial abilities, and even make first-contact with an industrial-level civilization. Like any good 4x game, a variety of strategies will lead you to victory. The artwork is gorgeous.

    One thing I appreciate about the design is that the game remains challenging throughout. As your empire grows and absorbs other empires, alien races do the same, usually remaining at roughly the same size as yours. Also, in MOO2, at a certain level of technology, a single player designed ship could easily massacre 10 computer-designed ships of the same tech level. Not so in StarDrive.

    The game is deeply engaging, and once you've mastered the controls (which, by the way, the game doesn't help you with. They are not intuitive.) it's immensely fun to play.

    In some ways, it might be easiest to describe where the game falls short:

    -The User Interface, as other reviewers have noted, can feel desperately clunky at times. It seems the designers could've taken a few cues from RTS games that get it right. The most obvious example would be using Starcraft's "ctrl-click" to select all ships of one type in the vicinity.

    Another example, you can tell a freighter to "Trade Production" meaning it will collect production from planets you told to export, and deliver it to planets you've told to import. But there doesn't seem to be a way to tell the the ship to "go to earth, pick up 15 production, and deliver it to Venus." If the AI decides it would rather take the production to another "importing" planet 15 light years away, there doesn't seem to be a way to tell it otherwise.

    -Diplomacy is simultaneously better and worse than other 4x's. Better because you have the option of folding a friendly empire into a federation with your own. This makes it feel like your relationship may be going somewhere, as opposed to forestalling the inevitable war. Worse, because it seems that a lot of fairly basic diplomacy options have been overlooked. (Really? I can't trade energy credits with another empire?)

    -Lovers of Master of Orion will have to adjust to allowing large amounts of automation to keep their empire going. The universe is expansive, and you simply can't keep track of thousands of ships and hundreds of colonies in the end game.

    -The graphics are missing some BASIC, KEY options. How about some lower-polygon models? reduced effects? Thank goodness my video card allows me to deactivate anti-aliasing for the application, because you sure can't do it in-game. I bought this laptop 2 months ago, and its fairly high-powered. I run Starcraft with max video options, Planetside 2 with medium. Until I figured out how to adjust the display through my video card, this game was starting to look like a slideshow.

    -The tech tree is not very deep. For instance, no matter how much you research, once you've put lasers and shields on your fighter craft, they will never improve for the rest of the game, because there are no other energy weapons, engines, or shields small enough to fit on them. In fact, often times it seems like you've got all this room to load cool devices on your brand new ship hull, but not a lot of cool devices to fill up all that space with...

    All in all, a very worthy effort. I'm glad I purchased it, and I will spend many, many hours on this one. I'm also glad I got it at a discount, because I feel like it comes up a little bit short of true greatness. Unless they spend a little more time fixing these issues, in 10 years, people will still be comparing 4x games to MOO2, not this one.
  25. Sep 27, 2013
    Most likely abandonware. The developer announced that he is done with this game in its (unfinished) state.
    To quote him (Zero) I think StarDrive vanilla is a fine game. I'm happy with it. I'll be patching it here and there as my whims take me. If you feel cheated by StarDrive, kindly scroll up to the upper right portion of your browser screen and click the "Logout" button. I don't want
    to hear it."
    So promised features are missing and most likely wont be delivered.
    However even without being completely finished, the game is not BAD.
    If you just need your small 4x fix you get nicely done graphics, good music and some quite enjoyable game mechanics.
    If you can bear with the existing memory leak and lag in late game and dont care about it not being feature complete you might even have a great time.
    ...and then you might consider to re buy the game in its new incarnation, it has been announced it will be basically redone on a new engine (full price for everyone). Yay?
  26. Jan 10, 2014
    This is an updated review of stardrive. I originally did a review in april 2013 and said, like many others, that this game had alot of potential. What happened is, the developer took the money and ran and never completed the game.

    This means the promises made to people who paid $25 like me were never fulfilled. Worse, the end game is unplayable because of crippling memory problems.

    Never ever buy a zerosum game or anything related to this developer again. He should be shunned and banished from game making forever.
  27. Apr 27, 2013
    This is a nice little 4x space game that is definitely worth trying out. If you have enjoyed games like Master of Orion or similar you are likely to enjoy Stardrive. As the amount of ship designs increase over time the game should get even better. I'd suggest ignoring the negative reviews, mainly due to this game being not particularly expensive and being produced by a small team (one guy apparently). In fact the speed with which he sorted out problems including shifting to multi threading during the beta days was astounding to say the least.

    There will of course be the odd dodgy decision by the AI's and the occasional crash but I would definitely recommend this game as a good example of the genre.
  28. Apr 28, 2013
    I too was waiting for a successor to Master of Orion series. This Indy seems to have captured it, there are some bugs and the tutorial is very fixed (rather than an interactive one). Still the combat is engaging and there is loads of exploration, research and colonization options to keep you engaged. Great game hopefully patches updates will add Multi-player in the future too
  29. Apr 28, 2013
    I'll give this game a 10 when the modders come out with Star Wars and Star Trek skins! This game is simply awesome and will be the best space strategy for a very long time. Zero is a genius...
  30. Apr 29, 2013
    Very deep game with descent difficulty though I imagine as I improve the game will fall onto the easy side of things. I'm really looking forward to MP as the possibilities there are amazing.

    Its got a somewhat steep learning curve and it does require a bit of micromanagement so be prepared for that. But managing everything is part of the fun. If you just want a game you can jump into
    and start blowing things up its probably not for you.

    If you have a mind for strategy and want to wrap your brain around matches that take days to finish then its more up your alley.
  31. Jul 14, 2013
    this game uses QWERTY keyboard and it doesn't allow you to change key binding. I can't believe a game can go out without this option in 2013, it's a hell to play for azerty keyboard users
  32. Jul 26, 2013
    At first I thought it was a Remake of Star Con 3, but after playing it and paying for it id rather play the original star con series any day. Its sad when a remake of a 15 year old game is crappy in story, game play is a dull mash of weapon spray... Dialogue and creative design for the characters and types of aliens is poor, starship customization is probably the best feature of this game but all in all I would rather have my money back than own this game. Expand
  33. Apr 27, 2013
    This game is a bit of a mixed bag but I'd defiantly say I got my moneys worth on the purchase. I've enjoyed every minute I've played the game and I've played for about 100 hours so far so at this point I payed about 25 cents per hour of game play, which is pretty good for me these days. However, the game is far from perfect and is certainly incomplete. Usually I would never give 7/10 to a game that is incomplete but honestly, the core features of the game are so enjoyable and are enough to save the game. If the developer, which from what I can tell is basically one guy, keeps all the promises he has made about future support for the game then I will have to revisit this review and bump up the score.

    If you are a fan of the 4x space genre and enjoyed games like Master of Orion, Sword of the Stars and Galactic Civilizations then this game is right up your alley. I've found the ship design aspect of the game to be absolutely superb. It takes a little while to figure out how to put together a good ship but it's such a rewarding experience that it all felt well worth it. Seeing the improvement from my early more flawed designs to my later more efficient and effective designs was a very gratifying experience. I was also pleasantly surprised to see the computer utilize some of my ship and fleet designs as well. If you make sure to delete your early screw up designs and keep your save file filled with good designs you will get to experience an added level of challenge to the game when you come up against your own intelligence by facing your own designs in combat.

    The game's macro level colony and economy management is simple to understand once it is explained to you. Unfortunately unless you look up the specifics you are going to have to learn by trial and error. The game only has four main resources to care about production, credits, food and science. Your credit income which is used for espionage and rushing production is completely based on taxes which mainly come from production so those two resources are very closely linked. Production, science and food are all managed by sliders and are direct trade offs, in that the more you focus on one the less you will have of the others. I think the system works and is understandable once you figure it out. I've never found micromanaging resources to be very fun and this game made it fairly easy so I think this part of the game is great.

    Combat is pretty enjoyable in this game. It's really where you get to see your ship designs shine. The ships are designed with blocks on them that you place modules on. Each module has hit points and can be hit by enemy fire. If the module runs out of hit points it explodes. Fairly simple in concept but this adds so much to the design aspect of the game. There are lots of things to think about when balancing a ship for combat, for instance ammo storage, fire power, speed and maneuverability, warp speed, armor, shields, energy storage, ect... A huge part design will be placing your power reactors because when they blow they take a fair portion of your ship with them. Placing them where they are protected and can still provide power to the ship is a challenging and fun.

    The game is unfortunately incomplete. Some races don't have as many hull designs as they should and some of the scripted events are unfinished. At it's core everything you need for an enjoyable experience is there but a lot of finishing touches and polish isn't there. The game definitely seems like it could use more variety in terms of events as at the moment there are really only two complete ones and several incomplete ones.


    Solid 4x experience at the core of this game
    Ship design is excellent
    Combat is fun to watch
    Macro management of planets is understandable and simple yet important
    Features AI to takeover tasks you'd rather not handle for things like scouting, managing freighters or even colonizing planets (especially good while you are learning as it lets you tackle these concepts when you are ready rather than all at once)
    Unique and customizable races
    This game is really what you make of it
    Built in Mod support The developer has made a lot of promises about this. The mods I've tried so far are basic but do change things up a noticeably.

    Incomplete The game still needs some things to be added and a fair amount of polish
    Learning curve This game has no instructions or tutorial so you have to learn on your own or by watching others (plenty of youtube videos out there.). Makes it a very bad starting game for those new to the genre.
    Gets tedious toward the end You'll win the war long before you finish conquering an enemy race. Would be nice if you could just force them to surrender after you destroyed all their ships and take their capital and good planets.
  34. Apr 28, 2013
    Finally a real time game. I've been disappointed by the sheer number of MoO clones lately. The graphics looks surprisingly great, the alien graphics is adorable. The gameplay mechanics is good and the detailed ship design is sound. Unfortunately, the UI still not as good as it should be, certain management tasks are (still) tedious. Yes, there are still bugs and awkward behavior in it. I would give a total rating of 7.5 (Disclaimer: I supported the Kickstarter campaign and participated in testing from very early on.) Expand
  35. Apr 30, 2013
    Very awesome 4x space action game!

    If you like Master of Orion, Galactic Civilizations, Endless Space, etc. pick this bad boy up asap.
    Some bugs on launch day, but quickly being patched out by the devs. Fantastically fun game play.

    Samurai space bears ftw o_O!
  36. Apr 29, 2014
    Incomplete game and Dev has already moved on.. took our money from early access so he could fund his new game without finishing the multiplayer after it was already promised.

    Wish this game had a map generater so I didnt have to play the same galaxy every time.

    Pritty much all you do is set the computer to auto govern all your planets and just mass a large fleet and all the AI wants
    to be your friend. Can't be friends unless you already number 1 or 2 top player already so what's the point in alliances when I can already destroy the other AI players?

    Game is pretty annoying at times also.. I spent a lot of time and resources to gain the friendship of another race just to lose it in a split second. I was invading a world with foot soldiers while bombing it from space and the AI just decided to colonize it while I was already attacking the planet and it declared hostility on me on the first auto attack that wasn't even in my control to stop.

    Another annoying part of the game is the AI declares a planet theirs and for you to leave it alone even when its on the other side of the galaxy. Try building alliances when you need to expand and every ally you have is getting upset that your colonizing their intended planets!

    After a few wins.. never went back since this is a dead game and wont ever receive multiplayer. I think this could have been a fun game if I had actual people to play with or against.
  37. Apr 27, 2013
    A great addition to the 4X genre, especially given the recent drought of acceptable 4X games. The realt-time with pause nature of the game feels more natural than turn based but without sacrificing strategy. The game is not yet perfect, but quite fun and enjoyable. The developer also provides great support and is working hard on polishing the rough edges. Also the game has great mod support.
  38. Apr 28, 2013
    I bought Star Drive on release day and I am hooked so far I have played 24 hours and I am still learning the game. The games not perfect and could do with a few bits and bobs to cut down the micro managment a little. The game has had 3 CTD but as the game auto saves often you don't lose much. All in all a very good game.
  39. Apr 29, 2013
    If you've ever played AND LIKED a 4X Space Strategy Game, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of StarDrive. This is a worthy successor to Master of Orion II, and shows significant promise going forward.

    I've currently rated this game as an 8, but I expect this to move to 9 and higher as some of the persistent problems are fully cleaned up. There are still some issues, but none of
    them are show-stoppers for me, and the developer is HIGHLY active and engaged on resolving these issues. The game has made truly remarkable progress in even the last two weeks, which is a testament to his dedication.

    Yes, I said "his". This title is almost entirely and exclusively developed by a single individual (apparently, some of the sound and artwork may have been outsourced, but the rest is all Zero's baby.) The fact that a title of this depth could come from a single individual makes the accomplishment just that much more impressive.

    I've now logged many, many hours with the game via the open beta and into release, and here's my personal list of Pros and Cons for the game:

    1. Extremely powerful and versatile ship and space station design system
    2. Combat and damage are all tracked on a per-shot and per-component basis
    3. Significant performance improvements make the above workable even at large scales
    4. An AI system that learns (and uses against you in the future) your ship designs
    5. Built-in support for mods right out of the gate, helping ensure future playability and variation
    6. Fleet provisioning design a fleet, press a button, and any needed ships are automatically queued
    7. Easy "refit" for ships, to allow you to easily upgrade your designs as you progress
    8. A wide variety of technologies to research
    9. A good Diplomacy and Espionage system
    10. Excellent selection of different AI opponents that truly do feel different from each other
    11. A sense of humor in the game that aligns with my own, and hat-tips to lots of the genre
    12. Veterancy system makes keeping your ships alive worthwhile

    1. Some non-standard or un-intuitive UI and controls, which can take a bit of getting used-to.
    2. Better documentation needed (this could help overcome the first point greatly)
    3. Still some performance issues in the VERY late game in some instances (not game-breaker for me)
    4. Troop invasions seriously unbalanced currently, but this is being addressed
    5. Could use better notifications at startup that the game has actually launched
    6. Certain game calculations still too opaque (e.g. how your military rank vs other races is computed)
    7. A few more diplomacy options would go a long way (i.e. allow you to "claim a planet" as the AI does)

    All told, despite some problems, this is currently my favorite game by far. When I'm not playing it, I'm thinking about it in the back of my head, wondering what I'm going to do when I get back to playing it... and if that's not a testament to being a successful game title, I don't know what is.
  40. May 1, 2013
    A breath of fresh air, I have been waiting for a game that could help fill the void left by Masters of Orion 2 and now finally someone has actually made a game that I think could be a rightful successor.
  41. May 24, 2013
    This game is not the best in the world, but then again, it may be the only recognizable 4x REAL-TIME space game that I haven't seen in the market in a long time. However many people posted negative reviews over the memory leakages or the cost of the game, but in all honesty it is foolish to rate it anything below a 6 or anything above an 8. This game was made by a kickstarter developed by a staff of 1 person, literally 1 person, so it is obvious it was priced at $29 to not only pay back investors, but to also return the cost to the developer.

    In the current form of the game, it is single player playable, but lacks multiplayer. On the good news the Developer has promised to continue patching and updating the game in the future, which grants optimism into expecting multiplayer, but in the current state it does not have multiplayer. The game also has had before patch 1.11b multiple instances of memory leakages in late game and is still be patched because of that reason. Options menu doesn't give many choices... or much at all.
  42. Jun 6, 2013
    You go into this game with a lot of hopes for indie innovation, but eventually discover that the game is incomplete, which is massively disappointing for the price tag. The side missions are broken and the games don't seem to end for hours after you've solidified your lead and win.

    Most of the fun comes from building your ships and seeing them in action, but you can't make the most of
    that fact until you unlock the technologies and chassis's, which is tediously slow to do because the economy consolidates research in with production and food. You need food to increase and maintain population and production to build things like your fleets or planet improvements, so research is always an after thought after keeping your empire stable. This makes playing small and medium maps very tedious as you wont get economies strong enough to take advantage of most of what the game really has to offer.

    Recommend your first game for each empire be set to easy and drag it out so that you can create your ship designs with an easily acquired and maintained economy, ready for more competitive games later. Replay value is limited to a couple games per empire until you're doing the same thing over and over with no real buzz that you might otherwise find in other games regardless of repetitiveness. This could be largely improved by allowing a customisation of chassis's with perhaps a limiting frame to maintain some empire specificness.

    Overall the game was fun, but each time i found myself eventually enjoying myself i would be stumped by a tedious mechanic. First it was an economy i couldn't stabilise until i had 7 moderately sourced and fully upgraded planets that could export. Scarey threats from AI that had no business making threats. Spies which remain a relatively hidden aspect of the game as well, a complicating mechanic i'd like to have an option to disable, not least because it's a needless nuisance to the economy for a game you'll buy largely for the combat.

    I feel like i've jumped from topic to topic haphazardly, but that's how the game feels, so many aspects affect other aspects of the game in a compromising way. Things that get in the way of what attracts you to it in the first place. Building your ships and sending them into battle. It's like they made the game and thought of 20 mechanics to prevent you from getting to what makes it so interesting.

    It still needs work or at the very least to be fixed and have some UI improvements and then individualising the AI would also make games more dynamic. Otherwise you might as well just play geometry wars.
  43. Jun 9, 2014
    PAID REVIEWERS> Go check all the high scores. See that 95% of them are done on Apr 26th. The release date. Do you often play a game and go review it the very same day? Do you think every single person who liked the game said "Hey, I'm going to go review this game RIGHT NOW because I JUST bought it and owned it for all of an hour or two but I have to rush off and review it. Literally, when it's THIS OBVIOUS you have paid reviewers to review your game right on release date. Go look it up. Pick one at random, it will be release date Apr 26th. If you complain or ask questions on Steam forums, you will get banned and attacked by the forum moderator. AND NOW he is releasing star drive 2, which is another game he will sell on Steam and NOT FINISH. Expand
  44. Jun 27, 2014
    Represents the bad side of indie development/early access etc. Dev takes everyone's money, and then decides to make a new game before the original is feature-complete or even remotely fixed. He then plays the victim when the community calls him out on his BS as he silences everyone who disagrees and even deletes his own promise-filled posts from the past.

    I don't think any of these
    people go into a project intending to rip everyone off, they are just in over their heads and a large-scale scam is the result. Please avoid Stardrive 2, these type of unscrupulous people are just as cancerous to gaming as are companies like EA - just on a smaller scale. Expand
  45. Apr 29, 2013
    This game is thoroughly mediocre with one really great aspect. All technical issues aside it feels lacking in content. Just open up the game creation options menu and you will be greeted by a complete lack of customizability that you normally find in a 4X game The research tree does not have much depth. There are not a very large number of ship classes. The weapons, equipment and planetary upgrades are adequate but not very interesting .

    StarDrive is mostly patterned after MOO2. With Galaxy sizes fairly small compared to a game like Star Ruler or Space Empires. Played at normal 1x speed it is real time but paced very very slowly. Many people will end up increasing game speed.

    Again it is adequate if not great in all areas except one. That is shipbuilding. Shipbuilding is one of the greatest strengths of StarDrive. No you don't have cosmetic control like Galcriv where you can build your ship out of 3D parts. But you do have a great deal of control over the actual abilities of the ship. The locations, facings and firing arcs of everything you place actually matters and is modeled in in-game combat.

    I'm not sure StarDrive is worth $25-30. I would say grab it in the bargain bin unless you are a huge fan of the genre. Hopefully mods can address the lack of content.
  46. Ndi
    Jun 23, 2013
    Like many other reviewers, I agree that the game has potential, but it is poorly implemented and executed. No tutorial to shake a stick at, no gradual introduction, nothing. Opens a screen with 4 million controls and only a hint and away we go.

    As a result, I wander around, looking for friends. You find powerful friends, you're set. You don't, it's hard and sweaty.

    Ship design is a
    chore. No templates. Lets you design a ship then refuses to accept it. Components are red but doesn't tell you why.

    Game is slow enough to be boring, but no slow enough to give you excellent tactics (a la TBS). Base design took 30 minutes to understand. Resources are limited, meaning you can just let loose and have fun.

    Basically, this game expects me to already know exactly what to do, but offers no insight to get me started.

    It could be a great game, but it's not. I see absolutely no reason to take this game up when SoaSE is out.
  47. Vas
    Jun 29, 2014
    Really, I just couldn't stand the game. It was almost an exact copy of Star Ruler, but it was worse. The UI was a bit dull and boring, and at times caused me to accidently click or unclick things and have to redo stuff. 5 hours in a normal game and I still couldn't really do anything at all. Meh, I just can't find a single good thing to say about the game, other than a slightly unique diplomacy system. Expand
  48. Oct 8, 2013
    Is this Master of Orion 2? Not quite. However, it is very much its equal. Amazingly well done indie title. Moo2 still has many bugs that require a player work around. This title may have bugs but they are getting fixed, something you won't see with Moo2.
  49. Jan 23, 2014
    I didn't give it 10 because it is perfect. Or because it is amazingly re-playable. But because for the first hundred hours it is perfectly flawed.

    Ship building is fantastic, battles are fantastic, Ai is flawed although well thought out and the levels are interesting enough to give you a different experience depending on who you spawn near.

    A perfect 100 hour game.
  50. Feb 6, 2014
    I been wasting a ton of time(fun time) in fact about 365 steam record hours(not steam play throw in many more hours). I simply love this space space strategy game. its almost like old school turn base but its real time. so use pause alot when clicking on some things. reminds me of starcontrol and starcontrol two. But you can built a empire!

    Ship design is for me the heart of the game,
    ship hulls are different for different civilizations. The fun part is how you use different components into the ship design to beat the other civilizations. since they have access to the same tech research as you. seeing your superior designs destroy them!! LIke a fleet of meat into your meatgrinder!

    For example my favorite is the Kulrathi aka bearmen their ships might not be the fastest(not too many engine slots, you can put in different type of engines into that slot). but their fighter are the largest in the game. I love putting in fighter bays(they spawn fighters(free fighters)) into all my Titan ships(they are the largest hull type every civilization gets, each civilization has different sizes and shapes of that hull). I love putting in remnant shields onto the fighters and tons of weapons and no wrapdrive only thrust. They can be respawn from the carrier. Park the carrier slightly farther away from the fighting. wave after wave of fighters just destroy anything in their path.

    With many patches later they fix the Remnant quest. Also remnant tech is always the most powerful in game. There are a few mods out there but the ones that still out there is fun.
  51. May 6, 2013
    I haven't come across all that much in the way of bugs, and while it isn't perfect I'm confident that many of the issues will be fixed soon. Even as is though, I've had a lot of fun and have certainly got value for money out of the game, so I'd happily recommend it.
  52. May 31, 2013
    StarDrive is a 4x strategy game that I have beta tested and played a few mods on top of that. Here is a summary of what I have noted: Positives: +Customization is amazing. You design everything in regards to your ships. +Galaxies can be gigantic or small depending on your preference. Combat in empty space (away from solar systems) is rare in a 4x. +Direct control and massive fleets. Direction and speed are a factor and you can take control of a single ship even while a massive fleet follows behind your flagship.
    +AI acts like a unique race. Certain races are cowardly, others will betray you in a heartbeat, others are focused on honor and will declare war on you if you are caught using a spy network.
    +AI uses custom designs. As someone who has designed AI before, I find this incredibly badass.
    +Game favors modability. This insures that the game will continue to improve.

    -Late game is slow. AI will not surrender even after you have beat them into the dirt (even if you have 1000 ships and they have none).
    -Bugs. Orders reset after you load a saved game. Some systems slow down in the late game. Game crashes.
    -Default ship designs are inefficient, making initial AI weak.
    -No multiplayer. Would love this. Unfortunately, the developer has stated no intention of adding multiplayer without selling it as some sort of DLC.
    -Planet management is limited in comparison to most other 4x (such as Hegemonia or Endless Space, from my experience). This is more obvious the longer you play the game. After awhile planetary management becomes a choir that must be completed before the awesome space battles can take place.

    Overall, I recommend it. Especially if it goes on sale. If it had multiplayer or good planet management, I would love it. As is, it shows promise but I don't find myself wanting to keep playing after beating the game once.
  53. May 23, 2013
    Stardrive is a solid 4x space strategy game. It doesn't bring anything new to the genre, but does incoporate some tried and true functions in interesting ways. The fully customizable shipyard was one of my favorite parts of the game, though others find it dreadfully complicated. Basically, if you're a fan of 4x space strategy games, you'll probably enjoy Stardrive.
  54. May 7, 2013
    StarDrive has fantastic space combat mechanics. Its really cool when fast fleets clash together. Combined with the fully customizable ship editor its a game to remember. Also positive is that you can create your personal version of one of the standard races of the game. But the game has its dark sides. When to invade invade a planet with ground troops (only 2 troops types per race!) the preparation for it is a lousy click-orgy. To be a really great game there should be more of everything... more tech, more ship types, more troops types, more races, more graphics a larger galaxy. Expand
  55. Jul 28, 2013
    Game isn't bad but it's not great either. It's an RTS 4X game which I'm not a huge fan of to begin with, but the slow speed of ships to go places, even when cranked up to x5 speed, is just too much. Sure, you can crank the speed up to absurd levels, ie 50x, but the game starts to stutter a bit. By far the best aspect of StarDrive is the ability to build ships. At first glance it looks just like every other space 4x game with this mechanic, but it has an added layer of depth. If you make a huge, heavily weaponized cruiser but fail to armor the ship's power source, you just created some expensive space scrap. Unfortunately, the RTS approach again undermines this. The speed at which you can unlock new technologies (the tree is much smaller than other 4x games) often means you've unlocked a couple new upgrades by the time your ships get to where they need to be for combat. Not a bad game but I found it less fun than other games like Endless Space. Worth grabbing on sale if you enjoy RTS/4x. Expand
  56. May 4, 2013
    StarDrive is a 4x space strategy game played out in real time. These kind of games rely heavily on their AI, Ship Combat, Universe Lore, and Random Events to spice up the game. StarDrive understand this and attempts to deliver on this premise.

    AI The AI in StarDrive is both well made and full of horrible flaws. For example, the AI is great at building fleets, attacking and defending
    its worlds, and has a good diplomacy system. You wont find the AI flipping between war and peace randomly in this game. Nor will you find it hiding from a fight. The problems begin to turn up when the player doesn't do what the developer expected. For example, it's a completely valid strategy for the player to build no military what so ever and go straight for the most expensive Titan class of ship... and still win. This comes from the AI not recognizing your extreme weakness in military affairs. If you don't "cheese" the AI it's a fun game. Just be aware it's not brilliant.

    Ship Design StarDrive has some of the best ship customization I've seen in a while. Want to build a ship full of shield generators and layers of armor around one BIG gun? Go for it. Or a ship with minimal shields, no armor, and stacks and stacks of phaser banks on it? Yeah you can do that as well. Designing ships is a lot of fun. Expect to spend quite a bit of time placing each module, determining where to put your power plants (which explode and take out nearby subsystems!), shield generators, weapons, and armor. If customization of your fleet sounds like fun this is your game.

    Ship Combat Ship combat is a largely hands off affair. Your fleet vs Their fleet. Expect to give the general "Attack!" order and then watch your ships fight bravely until one side is eliminated. Watching your ships catch fire as they take damage. Observe as enemy ships shields fail and their weapons start to go offline, is always fun. Their are many different types of weapons that each have their own specific usage. The ship combat is fun.

    Planet Invasion Grab your space marines and land them on the planet.. and just wait for your side or their side to get wiped out. It's a completely hands off approach where you just wait for one side to win. You can also just bombard the enemy population and re-colonize the planet if you so desire.

    Lore & Random Events Both of these are completely missing from the game. Random events DO exist but they never change the outcome of the game. Remember how in GalCiv 2 the Dread Lord could return and kill everyone? Don't expect that here. Also, the lore of the game is sadly lacking. Beyond some very basic single line bits of text nothing is ever explained about "who these people are" or what their motivations are. Also missing is flavor text about the shiny new weapon you've just unlocked.

    Conclusion StarDrive is a pretty good game. If you're a fan of 4x Real Time Strategy then StarDrive is a pretty good game for you. I personally feel that StarDrive should be sold at the $20 mark as while all of it's core mechanics hold up... it's a complete miss on the universal lore and random event packages. As such, StarDrive is a good game a content pack away from a great game. If you're looking for a new RTS game of empire building it's not a bad choice.
  57. Sep 16, 2013
    This game is a blatant MOO (Master of Orion) clone and it doesn't hide it (why would it, the first 2 MOOs are the best space 4X games ever). It took everything MOO did right (oh moving those little men from one assignement to another) while introducing interesting ideas (for example Store/Import/Export options), operational area for ships... But it lacks in improving some things: ship design is horrible (even MOO2 had a better interface for ship design), fleet creation/management is buggy, space map interface is buggy and lacking features (limited zoom, very hard to tell what's going on when full zoomed out...). This is a good game but somewhat still looks unfinished. I bought it when it was on Alpha, then passed to Beta, then to Release without very much changes and still some known bugs unfixed.

    I understand a very small company made this, but this doesn't excuse charging 30$ for a clearly unfinished game. I would have loved to wait more in Beta and see these issues fixed.

    Still looking for a game that can rival with MOO2.
  58. Jun 23, 2013
    i would normally give it an 8 but im astonished that it was developed by a single developer (also paid an artworker for art but its all on his own) gameplay is good, interface needs improvement and love the shipbuilding of it.
  59. May 23, 2013
    I rather enjoy this game, and is a great game for any person with a great deal of patience. The ship designing makes for in depth combat balance potential and the overall UI is usually pretty straight forward. Up until the end game on the larger maps, the framerates tend to be quite stable and allow for fluid gameplay.

    However the game is not without it's issues. Some of the ship
    layouts are not quite symmetrical and it bugs the out of me whenever I come across it. Having to switch from auto to manual on all the planets from a race that joins with me in a federation is another bother. No Auto-fill with select armor option in ship design for those last touches can make finding that last empty slot frustrating on the Capital and Carrier ships. And then the end game lag that is experienced saps all the fun out of committing genocide against the myriad of races that were left. Having to design ships for every level of weapon and ship building tech in order to remain competitive at all points in the game is something that stands in the way of this ever being viable in a multiplayer setting and thus why I can forgive it for not having a multiplayer mode yet. Expand
  60. May 4, 2013
    Best game since MOO2, Imperium Galaktica 2 or Bird of the Federation. I think in the moment the developer has enormous balancing problems between the diffrent weapons in the game. More different nonhuman races were desirable. For example insectoids or machines...
  61. May 9, 2013
    This is my first time review, and I wonder Metacritics bad decisions. Why usually reliable Metacritic is publishing only bad reviews because there are good critic reviews. Over half of those are 7-9 out of 10!
  62. May 10, 2013
    I think the game is excellent, sure it has a learning curve, but thats what I like, nothing dumbed down. Some aspects of the game may appear to be bugs but actually are not. Real bugs in the game are not really a game breaker.
  63. May 10, 2013
    There's a problem with StarDrive it's so damn good, but it's just a little bit off finished; not quite polished and user-friendly. This does not stop me giving it a hearty 9/10; it could well be a 10/10 if all the bugs and UI gripes and gameplay quirks are ironed out. The important thing also is that I believe they WILL be ironed out as the developer is still there, talking directly with individual

    What makes this game special then? A few things spring to mind. The level of player-control of fleets and ships is truly magnificent; to the point where the ship designing and combat is a game within the game itself.

    The ship designing isn't just like GalCiv where you put on x modules and that gives you a set of numerical attack and defence ratings for some horrific rock-paper-scissors system. No; the ship design is what-you-see-is-what-you-get. The design of your ships is simulated in real-time in front of you when you see the screenshots of people fitting shields and weapons to a ship hull, those weapon types and locations are actually there in the 3D game firing, and damage to ships is entirely locational and interactive a salvo of torpedoes to unshielded engines will leave you dead in the water; a shot punching through to a reactor will detonate it, potentially causing a chain reaction if you haven't got internal bulkheads to dampen the blast. If you want to survive a salvo of anti-frigate missiles, you'll need point defences, and their arcs of fire will need to be carefully aligned so that you have proper coverage. Basically, the ship design isn't just a set of auto-combat numbers; it's an entirely real, fully-simulated system.

    The implementation of structures platforms and stations; orbital and deep space; for numerous different purposes is brilliant, and uses the same ship designer. The Economy is relatively simple, but functional and non-intrusive; the player doesn't regularly have to worry about going and tweaking things constantly. It has room for future expansion; but the best thing is that we know this is already on the drawing board for the Devs, and the game is entirely open to modding.

    And that's another important point modding isn't only allowed; modding isn't only supported; modding is actively *encouraged*. The lead developer himself frequently has stepped into the modding boards to lend support to individual modders having problems, and the game itself includes a mod manager and is easily accessible. There are areas that are not yet moddable; but this is not by design, and they are being opened up in future.

    There are bad aspects, especially unpolished bits...

    The UI is good in some areas (with some excellent automation options), but awful in others (the inability to mass-control behaviours or orders on grouped ships such as scrapping), and can be generally a bit painful and unrefined, such as with mis-aligned text occasionally depending on the resolution the game is run at. It does need a lot of love and better user-friendliness for getting around the game.

    There are still many little bugs and lack of options that were raised in beta and not yet fixed or implemented; proper game settings, certain interface issues, some gameplay quirks that have been known about for a while. And whilst these bugs are being fixed, certain *needed* features for a released game are being relegated to second place whilst bug-fixing occurs.

    The game feels like it was released early; like it's still a beta, so I can't honestly give what is otherwise a brilliant game a 10. The reason it keeps a 9 is because of the confidence I have in the developers to address not only its deficiencies, but also to support and expand the game over time; they seem genuinely committed to not only providing fixes for existing issues, but continuing to develop the game.
  64. May 10, 2013
    This game is pretty awesome, its focus is mainly on ship design and combat. The diplomacy is ok (and better than moo2 unless your on hard mode or brutal). Planet management is very similar to moo2 with some new things thrown in. All it needs is multiplayer (which is coming!). It can be really fast paced with a lot happening in the begging as you explore and search for remnants/artifacts then if you arn't at war it can be slow, but chances are someone will declare war on you if you play with 5 or more races. Sometimes it slows down towards the mid and late game but what keeps me coming back is the ship design. It is really intricate and fun and probably the most important part of this game other than straight combat strategy. If you loved SINS or MOO2 this is an awesome addition to those that is faster paced, easy to understand but hard to master. Expand
  65. May 11, 2013
    It boggles the mind to see professional game critics review this game in its current beta state, pointing out its flaws and bugs and not understanding that their lackluster review will hurt the game. I can understand user reviews, but to professionally review this game when it's not even out of beta is an insult to game development.

    StarDrive is a gem, but it isn't perfect. This game in
    it's current state must be judged fairly and the bigger picture needs to be looked at. To see the potential that this game has you would have to witness it yourself and don't rely on the flimsy so-called professional critics who get paid to understand this but fail to do so when writing up their reviews.

    Not since GalCiv2, Space Empires IV and Distant Worlds have I been this excited for some new blood to come into the space strategy scene. My only major gripe with StarDrive is that it isn't turn based, and I'm still holding out hope for a turn based optional feature later on, if it's possible. Strangely enough though, the real-time mechanic works really well with StarDrive, and I find myself wondering how the other mechanics could work in a turn based environment.

    As it stands, StarDrive is bursting with potential and juicy features that have yet to be fully implemented. The AI itself and diplomacy is perhaps the weakest part of StarDrive so far along with its light tech trees that are not fully fleshed out as of yet. However, when your playing StarDrive, interacting with the AI and seeing it in action, you can definitely see the evolution in its design. If you played any of the earlier buggier releases, only then could you appreciate how far it has come and see where it is going.

    AI in a game like this is very important, and sometimes a developer can take the back burner with AI development. Thankfully this isn't the case here, as I believe Zero is well aware of the AI shortcomings and development is constantly evolving and ongoing. Lets not forget that the game is highly moddable and as such, improvements with AI in this regard are to be expected. GalCiv 2 showed how a game with excellent AI can have a lasting appeal. Thankfully Zero promised multiplayer functionality on release and refinement of the single-player experience, so we can at least expect some competitive human play along with the AI.

    My favorite aspect of StarDrive has to be its Ship Designer. I cannot express enough how much I love this mechanic. Trust me when I say I've tried them all.
    Space Empires IV had a very similar designer based on the same principle of module sprite placement, but was nowhere as complex as what you get in StarDrive.
    Distant Worlds had a decent enough mechanic, similar too, but in the end too much restraint was placed on the player and limited choice of ships.
    GalCiv 2 achieved absolute freedom in style and cosmetic ship design, but the technical details of your ship, power and weapon systems mattered not; it was essentially a style creative editor.
    Star Ruler seemed like it had the best designer of them all, with its near limitless freedom in ship design, only hampered by the lack of sprites and perhaps no restraints whatsoever on building a gigantic ship that could make a giant star look like a small pea.

    None of these can shine a light to StarDrives ship designer. Sure, you don't get the cosmetic style freedom you got in GalCiv2, but everything matters! Every module you place down matters, where it's at, the purpose of the module and to how you arrange the power lines; are they efficient? Can I fit something else in there and place my power lines elsewhere? Maybe I shouldn't leave my so exposed? These are questions you wouldn't bother asking yourself on any other designer. The other positive aspect of the designer is that it's highly moddable. Already there's ship mods out there that you can install, my favorite being the battlestar galactica mod. Gotta love those vipers! Lets not forget that this is a beta, and I'm sure Zero has plans to expand the designer to even more greatness.

    Another neat little feature that this game has, is it's ability to automate several functions of the game to the AI. That's assuming you trust the AI, for the moment I wouldn't... But it's there for a player to utilize. Automating your freighters is probably one of the safe things you can do that the AI will not mess up.

    As for galaxy size and sandbox options, there are several options to choose from. I prefer to play on the biggest ones, and I do get the impression that the biggest map could be perhaps 'bigger', but maybe that's just the perspective that I have when zoomed out on the map.

    Either way, if space strategy is your thing; then StarDrive is certainly a worthy purchase. If your not keen on too many bugs, and not a fan of beta's then I strongly suggest to stay away until release (which some pro-critics have failed to do) to enjoy the game as it was meant to be played.
  66. May 11, 2013
    There are far more reviews available for this game than are displayed on Metacritic. I tried to post the links here, but the formatting wouldn't allow me.

    You can find more reviews, as they are published, cross-posted to this thread in the forums. I post whatever professional published material I find, regardless of its opinion of the game;
  67. Dec 23, 2013
    It is truly unbelievable what one man can achieve. The game is addictive right from start, well presented and is a lot of fun to play. There are still a few glitches and some potential for improvement, but Zero is putting amazing effort into this project releasing improvments almost on a daily basis. If you like 4x games, you have to grab this one!
  68. May 11, 2013
    While it is still a work in progress the game itself is really fun to play. Ship customization is satisfying, and race customization allows you to build an empire that fits your style. There are still bugs to work out, but that hasn't stopped me from logging in a ton of hours with the game already. Looking forward as it progresses. Worth the buy.
  69. May 12, 2013
    Basic comment would be: I fully enjoy stardrive.

    That said it took some time to get there. At the start I was in need, from the user-group, to get this game started as felt this had a weary steep learning curve. As I progressed and learned all the hidden features of the game it simply grew on me. The lack of multi-player is sad as I enjoyed this in Sins of a solar empire.
  70. May 15, 2013
    I enjoy 4x games and have been wanting a new space game for a while. StarDrive is a nice space 4x game that does a lot well and need improvement. It is the closest modern game to Master Of Orion (the first one) than anything I have seen. I mean it is literally MOO with graphics upgrades and real time. The battles are nice, ship design is fun, diplomacy works well and the AI isn't completely retarded.

    Down sides is there isn't a way to easily upgrade your ships, gameplay is slow at times and trying to quickly find a ship or base in the empire list is like trying to find a needle in a stack of needles.

    Some polishing issues aside, if MOO was fun for you then you will really enjoy this and it is a fun little game.
  71. May 20, 2013
    This Game clearly needs some work but its still fun, and still worth getting. Reviewers like Polygon and ign (who gave simcity a 95) are Morons and clearly have not played the game or are not getting payed for good reviews.
  72. May 21, 2013
    Love this game! I stumbled onto it yesterday (May 20th, 2013) and find this game a lot of fun and not to difficult to learn. I don't know if this game is completed yet, I have heard they are still working on it, but when it is I will definitely buy it. Good job guys it's hard to find a good space game like this.!
  73. May 24, 2013
    I have played every single Space game for pc and I have to say i was impressed with Star-drive, the ability to "create" custom ships and customize which direction they fire is a well thought out idea BUT.... the downside to this is they are made it look like Mine-Craft in the creation area and haven't really made it easy to use.

    The battles are amazing BUT it lags up if the battles get
    to big... sometimes I can even finish a game because there is to much going on (reason I registered here to review this)

    I gave this game a 7, it isn't worthy of an 8 because of the bugs and lack of features BUT it does have allot of potential with an active hardworking dev at the helm..
  74. May 27, 2013
    Honestly. I don't know how this game has such a low score for critics. Its not the most innovative space strategy game to hit the market in recent years but that doesn't mean its not fun. It has its fair share of bugs and flaws but overall its a good game. The game does provide tutorials but it is still hard to get the hang of. The ship builder is hard to get the hang of (for me anyway) The game does disappoint in some areas but it's nothing like i expected it to be. I bought this game because of its moddability, which i love to do. Modding is a great bonus, for any game. Also, the sound the ships makes when they enter FTL is very satisfying, as are the diplomacy animations. Until the bugs and performance issues are ironed out, a 7 will do. Expand
  75. Jun 4, 2013
    I think basically there is said the most to the game in all the reviews. But I would like to point the focus more to the circumstances of the development that has been done. So in general this game was developed by one person. If course sounds and graphics are a product of more than one developer but the code behind starring is basically a one man show.

    And for this I cannot say this
    game isn't a success.
    For me it had from the start more funny elements than all other x4 games I have ever played until know. Beginning at the kind of how you navigate through the spaces and ending by the way you can design your fleets. All real innovative and great but yet no bug free features.
    Of course the balance is not perfect so the AI in my opinion starts much to aggressive. If you don't have suitable planets near your home planet it will be very hard to expand due to the aggressive au will fight for every useful planet.
    So for the rest it might be that after midgame you will end farming the planets. But until you get to the point this game really is much fun to play.

    So for further development I hope the game gets more balancing and more end game experience.
  76. Apr 1, 2014
    I played the game a lot. is not great but its well worth getting on sale if you like what it has to offer.
    But one of the things that i really dig is code modding the game. Learning C# and seeing my changes in the game... priceless.
    Its great to change some parts of the game that frustrate me and i get to learn how to code better. Win/Win.

    you can check the code mod effort here. I
    would highly recommend using this mod in a vanilla game or in combination with other mods.

    I did a lot of work to get the troop management easier and rework how spies are used and a whole lot of carrier enhancements/ fixes.
  77. Jul 12, 2013
    This is just a fun game! This is a game where you can have little experience with RTS games and still have fun. Though the tutorials could use some work. But it can play very deep for those veteran RTS gamers. Ship customizing can be a little meh at first, but later on, you can have some fun building some devastating ships!
  78. Jul 28, 2013
    For a game being designed by a small team, it certainly manages to be great, and while it could use some work it is a great spiritual successor to the masters of orion games. The artwork and races are both quite good, the graphics are nice, and the soundtrack is fitting. It borrows heavily from other 4x strategy games for its gameplay, but manages to stand out despite that. having spent 100 hours playing it i can honestly say that i dont regret buying it at all and hope to see more content added. if you were a fan of master of orion games then you will surely enjoy this game. Expand
  79. Sep 4, 2013
    This game is awesome! Granted there are a few rough edges, but they are far outweighed by the fun of crafting your ships and then testing your designs in combat. I'm blown away by how fun the game mechanic is of being to tweak your starships to outperform! I'm suprised, but I spend about as much time designing my ships as fighting with them! Tons of great strategies to employ and lots of replayplayability. If you like RTS and you like to design and fiddle with your starships then this is it One note, however, read up a bit on how the economy works i quick glance over the wiki site on the game explained it all for me. This is probably the best buy I've made in awhile hours of fun for a few bucks. Expand
  80. Sep 10, 2013
    For years I've been waiting for something to come out that really feels and plays like MOO2 and so far this has been that game. After several games, I've got about 142 hours logged and I'm still looking forward to new content, mods, etc. for it.

    Designing your own ships, colonizing new solar systems, and the real time space combat is awesome. The colony micro-management is barely even
    existent with the governor AI's, it's actually easier to manage a space empire than it is in MOO2, and definitely easier than other similar 4X space games. The tech tree is a little more limited than I would like, but much better than other similar games, with creative sci-fi technology and cool weapons and systems to load up your ship with.

    I'm crossing my fingers that the modding community and the developer keeps pushing out content for Stardrive, it really is the coolest 4X game I've played thus far, beating out Endless Space (also quite good), Sword of the Stars, Galactic Civ 1 & 2, and Sins of a Solar Empire. If you loved Masters of Orion 2, definitely give this a try.
  81. Aug 29, 2014
    This game could have been awesome. Instead, the developer half-baked this game, took the money and ran off to build a sequel with even less content. The game remains unoptimized for even the best computers, has numerous computer-crashing bugs/glitches, and an unfinished quest line.

    Like many early access games, this one failed to deliver what it promised.
  82. Jun 29, 2014
    DO NOT GET THIS GAME. I paid full retail and the Dev just gave up and wont even give the second one for those who supported the first. The forums are HEAVILY moderated by The Doctor and the Dev lied SO much during this interview its amazing. Nothing he said was true. He promised multiplayer but deleted all references to that promise to save his own skin. I had bought the game during the alpha and its amazing how the Dev twisted his own words and promises to walk away with the money of so many people. If multiple people are saying this (Which they are) its not just someone being angry or trolling, its the truth. Stay away from this game and this developer. Support other trustworthy third parties who are making similar games or simply buy a finished product of this genre from a company with ethics and whom supports their customers unlike this unethical developer and his team of tyrannical forum moderators. The only reason someone would give a good score was because it was done before the recent drop of the first game by the Dev. Expand
  83. Jul 31, 2014
    After finding the amount of high ratings on this site I had to write a review on this game. Simply put, it could have been great. The developer promised so many great things for the game as an early access supporter. When the game launched, it was really just a flop. It was really just the beta but with a higher price tag, and the developer decided that he would use your wasted $30.00 to fund a sequel that had all of his features that he promised originally. Don't buy this game, don't support this developer, and go buy Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion. At least I can actually enjoy that game... One more note, I know that it was a single person developer, but that doesn't mean he can just stop supporting his games and make empty promises. Intrusion 2 was created by a single developer, and that game is extremely better than the mere 2 hours I put into the release of Stardrive. It took the single developer 3 years to create Intrusion 2. Why can't this developer have the same perseverance and drive that the Intrusion 2 developer has? Just because you don't like a product that you have created doesn't mean you have to abandon it and make a new game. Think about that the next time you want to disappoint people. Expand
  84. Apr 29, 2013
    This game is thoroughly mediocre with one really great aspect. All technical issues aside it feels lacking in content. Just open up the game creation options menu and you will be greeted by a complete lack of customizability that you normally find in a 4X game The research tree does not have much depth. There are not a very large number of ship classes. The weapons, equipment and planetary upgrades are adequate but not very interesting .

    StarDrive is mostly patterned after MOO2. With Galaxy sizes fairly small compared to a game like Star Ruler or Space Empires. Played at normal 1x speed it is real time but paced very very slowly. Many people will end up increasing game speed.

    Again it is adequate if not great in all areas except one. That is shipbuilding. Shipbuilding is one of the greatest strengths of StarDrive. No you don't have cosmetic control like Galcriv where you can build your ship out of 3D parts. But you do have a great deal of control over the actual abilities of the ship. The locations, facings and firing arcs of everything you place actually matters and is modeled in in-game combat.

    I'm not sure StarDrive is worth $25-30. I would say grab it in the bargain bin unless you are a huge fan of the genre. Hopefully mods can address the lack of content.

Mixed or average reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 26
  2. Negative: 2 out of 26
  1. Feb 10, 2014
    If you like games in the vein of Stars! or Master of Orion, you can sink into Stardrive for long hours. [02/2014, p.73]
  2. Dec 9, 2013
    Zero Sum Games has created a worthy addition to the 4X genre. What is more - modders are already creating more and more cool modifications for StarDrive. Ergonomics and gameplay rules should be more user-friendly, but the game itself is far from boring or tiresome. 4X fans will be pleased.
  3. 60
    For your first and second time, StarDrive brings a refreshing experience resembling Master of Orion. However, as soon as you understand its basic rules, the game is gone like through a Black Hole. [Issue#232]