As a space bear, human or any other race, venture forth into the galaxy, create custom ships, conquer new worlds, build new colonies and defend your very existence against those who would take what is yours.
User reviews:
Mixed (1,155 reviews) - 43% of the 1,155 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 26, 2013

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Buy Iceberg Interactive - Cool as Ice Bundle

Includes 5 items: Gas Guzzlers Extreme, Horizon, Nuclear Dawn, StarDrive, Starpoint Gemini 2



“When you finally uncover the secrets to ancient alien technology or build a frigate that wins a deep space battle, StarDrive provides a sense of accomplishment few games can.”
73 – GameInformer

“Some omissions and flaws, but balanced by excellent alien races and ship design. A welcome addition to the crew.”
78 – PC Gamer

“I love that StarDrive’s master lists of ships and planets can be sorted by any column, making it easy to find the largest nearby planet or ships in your fleet that are costing you the most in maintenance.”
70 – Machinima

About This Game

StarDrive sets a new benchmark for the ‘4X Space Strategy’ genre. Starting with a single planet and a small number of space-worthy vessels, you must venture forth into the galaxy, conquer new worlds, build new colonies and defend your very existence against those who would take what is yours. How you play is your decision. Use diplomacy or brute force. Trade, spy and research your way to galactic domination. Make friends, or create mortal enemies…

The heart of StarDrive is its ship design and combat engine.

StarDrive takes a modular approach to ship design, allowing the player to create custom ships where the composition and placement of ship modules really matters to the performance of a ship.. In combat, if your portside armour is taking a beating, then rotate around and show them the starboard side! Hide behind a friendly capital ship’s shields; warp into and out of the fray, launch fighters, lay mines, and so much more.

Key Features

  • Real time gameplay with a seamless zoom from a grand strategic view to a close-up action view
  • Choose from 8 beautifully rendered alien races or design your own to lead into the stars; interact, negotiate and forge allegiances on your way to victory
  • Expand your empire and colonize all kinds of planets, terraform and populate them and build them into specialized centers of trade or industry
  • Research and unlock an array of technologies to improve your military and industrial capabilities
  • Control your ships with classic real time strategy commands or jump into the fray by taking direct ‘arcade’ control of any ship in your empire
  • Create your unique ship designs with the modular ship design system and determine your own fate in battle
  • Create custom fleet formations and set rules of engagement in the easy-to-use fleet editor
  • Steal technologies, incite rebellions, or rob your enemies blind with a rich agent-based espionage system
  • Deploy ground troops from orbit to defeat the enemies’ last planetary defenses in ground combat
  • Explore the rich universe that comes alive with random events, remnant elements, hidden treasures, deep space terrors and late-game threats

System Requirements

    • OS:Windows XP
    • Processor:Intel® Pentium® IV 2.4 GHz or AMD 3500+
    • Memory:3 GB RAM
    • Graphics:NVIDIA® GeForce 8800 or ATI Radeon® X1900
    • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
    • Additional:Please Note: integrated Intel graphic card/chips not supported
    • OS:Windows 7
    • Processor:2.4 GHz Dual Core Processor or Better
    • Memory:4 GB RAM
    • Graphics:NVIDIA® GeForce 8800 or ATI Radeon® X1900 or better
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
    • Additional:Please Note: integrated Intel graphic card/chips not supported
Customer reviews
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Mixed (1,155 reviews)
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
82.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 25
There are no credits anywhere in StarDrive. I'm not surprised. I wouldn't want to put my name to this crap either.
And don't buy StarDrive 2 either.

I've read a lot of the reviews for this game and they all read much the same, that it was the product of a lone developer who took the money and ran before the game was finished, but not many actually talk about the game beyond "it could have been great!" So to give some insight into what StarDrive is really like:

* Path-finding is appalling - Use alt+click to override if you want your ships to get anywhere as fast as possible. There is also such as a thing as too fast. Keep the FTL under 100K unless you want to watch your ships play ping pong around each destination.
* Accuracy of weapons that use munitions is appalling - You can either use beam weapons (and suffer appalling lag) or spray the battlefield with ordnance (and suffer appalling lag) to increase the likelihood you'll actually hit anything.
* Ground battles are appalling - Have more troops in orbit than there are tiles on the planet, land them all at once and then let the AI take over and forget about it. Do not bother trying to micromanage the ground battle, it is a waste of time and takes too long, so just wait for the notification saying you have taken over the planet.
* Manual ship control is appalling - There is no point of reference when you take manual control of a spaceship, the mini-map does not zoom in to help you navigate and the only way to get some idea of which direction you are travelling is to fire forward facing munition weapons and see which way they drift. It is truly horrific trying to fight using manual control, most of the time you'll just be turning on the spot hoping the enemy ships really will fly into your gunsights. That is if you can even get your ship to stop.
* The AI is appalling - Nothing can be done about this, although you can abuse it. You can bombard a planet into nothingness and then leave at least one bomber continually dropping nukes because the enemy will continually try to recolonise it until you have wiped them all out of existence. Also, the AI does not send more than four ground troops at once for a ground assault, so just make sure each of your planets has as many hard troops as will fit.
* Diplomacy is appalling - Just make sure you buy alliances before someone else gets there first.
* The interface is appalling - There is no way to delete save games from within the game. When I did finally find them the first time I did a manual search of the hard dirve they had consumed over 4GB of storage space.
* The lag is appalling - By far the worst problem is lag. You won't notice it at first, but the longer a game lasts the worse it gets (and not always because of large numbers of ships). The most impressive lag I've seen is when the final game stats run. I just get the impression it's replaying the game in the background all over again because how else can you make the final game stats lag so atrociously? It's just a map with three bar charts!

There is loads more wrong with this game, this is just a shortlist of the ones I can remember, but there must be a reason I pumped 78 hours into this monstrosity? Well, I got it in a bargain bin from an actual shop, so didn't see the reviews initially. But, the main reason I wasted so much time on it is modding. People complain about the crappy tech tree and the cookie-cutter planet development. Then just mod it. Literally everything can be modified. I had whole new branches of technology, new ship hulls (most notably the Borg and a smiley face), new artifacts, new ship modules (from armoured reactors and reactors that were armour, to guns that never ran out of ordnance and armour that was a gun and provided power and never ran out of ordnance), ships that could travel the universe in seconds, new planetary buildings, and so on. Literally everything can be modified, and once you learn how it's not that hard to make a change and then test the effects. Unless you make a mistake, then the game fails to load. Even then, with a little practice, you begin to learn how to read the error message. It is even possible to modify armageddon and have a game that never ends. (Which actually means ends when it crashes.)

So given all that potential for making improvement why do I not recommend this game? Because once you start rooting through the game files to make changes you begin to notice strange files and folders that hint at missing features and you begin to understand just how much was left unfinished by the developer and the fact they couldn't even be bothered to remove all of this before releasing the game as a finished product. Like a hint at just how much you are missing out on. But worse than that, even though you've modified every single aspect of the game so you can effortlessly hold off armageddon indefinitely, it only works if you micromanage every single battle because the AI is appalling. I did try imagining my ship commanders were just drunk bullies because they always go after the smallest, weakest enemy ship (fleet orders reset to defaults as soon as you close the fleet setup screen), expertly missing them even though you've modified the Vulcan into a minigun-shotgun with the range and fire power of a sniper rifle, all the while oblivious to the enemy capital ships playing turkey shoot with them, but I couldn't hold that thought for long because it really is a just crap programming and a crap AI. And indefinite ends when the game decides to crash from out of memory (which is impressive when not even a quarter of the 8GB available on this machine is being used) or you just can't stand the lag any longer and know that the lag in the endgame stats is most likely going to crash the game anyway.

And then you read the reviews for StarDrive 2 and see the pattern repeating and you realise the developer is never going to learn so long as people continue parting with the cash for unfinished products.

Actually, there is one final point to make about this game. I've never before come across a game that didn't have credits somewhere. The credits might run when you complete a game or be hidden somewhere in the menu, but they are always there somewhere. There are no credits anywhere in StarDrive. I'm not surprised. I wouldn't want to put my name to this crap either.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 10
i actually have more hours on this game than stated. and trust me when i tell you. all these negative reviews are true.

it's still barely playable but this company dropped the ball on this.

if you look at the game objectively and don't judge it on the false promises and lack of features, it is a beautiful cacoon that MIGHT HAVE one day turned into a memorable butterfly and be remembered as a classic game for years going forward.

its ALMOST a good game, its merely a tolerable game.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
941 of 1,062 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
90.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 26, 2013

This review was marked as "abusive" by the Developer, was taken off of the review page between March 8th 2014 through to March 11th 2014. Pathetic.

This was a total waste of my $29.99, I bought it under the pretense of Multiplayer being released first major patch after final release from my Friend who recommended the game. The Developer has come to the conclusion that by changing the Engine and flushing out his original Idea for a game, that he can now make ANOTHER game and wants money for it, the full game that he originally wanted to make but couldn't. This is the result made by a very poor decision long ago to use the wrong Engine <Sunburn> for his project, an engine that Microsoft dropped and everyone in the know knew was a dead-end, months before Zero decided to release the game as Final. Nothing about the programme changed between final beta release and the first day of Final Release in April.
The above mentioned Steam Group is a place for free discussion about Stardrive, and its Developer that You are going to purchase a beta, abandoned game from. The Developer will finish it on his whim alone, that could be years or decades. These are all direct from the developer, but sadly I can't direct you to the correct site to see them, he has, or has had his Minions, delete threads full of direct quotes from Zero you simply wouldn't believe if I wrote them here, thinking I was a Troll. I hope this shows I gave 90+ hours trying to play this game, and never completing 1 game. Buy this game if you like someone lying to you all the time, some do I suppose.
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616 of 687 people (90%) found this review helpful
12 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 18, 2014
This game was never actually finished before it was abandoned by the developer so that he could start work on a second game. The store page continued to promote features that were never implemented for months after it was clear that they were never going to be added to the game. Making matters worse, the developer has demonstrated extremely bad judgment when interacting with customers that shows a lack of professionalism. This combined with a loyal but rabid fan base make this game a toxic property that is best avoided.
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289 of 305 people (95%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
68.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 11, 2014
Bought the game in the early days for full price, was listed as Multiplayer and promised many features. Multiplayer was NEVER added and none of these features we were told would be implemented, made it in to the game. The Developer secretly worked on the second game behind the scenes, using our money to fund his work rather than finishing the first one and then even having the cheek to Kickstart the second game for even more money? Only to then sell this second game back to us again, at full price! Complete rip-off. Now we're left with nothing but a broken demo. I will NOT be buying the second game and funding such a dirty, cheap money making scheme and I'd advise that others do the same. The only way these developers will learn NOT to cheat their customers, is if they have no custom. As bad as EA as far as I'm concerned.
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251 of 266 people (94%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
83.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 31, 2014
Edit #2: I'll just leave this here.

An unofficial StarDrive group, where discussion is open and not censored. The Steam forum is pretty heavily moderated and the developer has a habit of deleting threads and banning people left and right before and during a big sale, so this is where people go to talk about the game however they like and not risk having their threads deleted because they didn't like the game.


I bought this game when it was in Early Access and... I thought it was amazing. Full of promises and ideas. Back then, the developper was promising updates pretty much left and right. Multiplayer was to be added to the game. Rare resources, laying mines, better diplomacy, being able to make joint operations with allies; all of these things were to be added to the game... But none -- NONE -- were implemented. The game you can buy right now is very much the same game I bought in Early Access, minus a few bugs. Hell, some core features such as the freighters are still buggy...

So, that being said, is this a good game? Well, it's an okay game. I spent several hours on it so obviously it's not totally terrible. But the thing is, most of these hours (I'd say two third of them -- yes, that much) was trying mods and messing around waiting for the content update to come. When the Developper announced that he screwed up and decided the game was done and could not be updated anymore because of engine limitations, I stopped playing altogether.

To make up for it, the owners of StarDrive will get a discount on his next title and access to some kind of multiplayer mini-game is going to be free. The thing is : his next game is going to be a turn-based strategy game. I bought a real-time strategy game. His next game is going to get as close to a MoO2 clone as he can. Good things for the fans, I guess, but that's not what I bought.

So, to sum things up: this game is half-finished, features are lacking, it lacks polish and is very, very rough around the edges and is developped by one of the worst indy dev ever as far as PR and "I care for my customers" are involved. There are better games out there to spend your money on.

But hey, that's just my opinion.


Edit #1: the multiplayer mini-game has been abandoned as well. Yes, that is yet another fail to put on Zero Sum Games resume. Also, that discount I was talking about? The one the owners of StarDrive will get? That will just be a Steam coupon with an expiration date. Great, eh? Way to tell your customers to hurry it up or screw you, Zero. Way to go indeed.
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485 of 553 people (88%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 25, 2013
This game had a ton of potential but was abandoned by the developer for greener pastures after he decided it would be good to start on a sequel while charging full price to everyone (including the people who have bought this unfinished project). It was initially released with a ton of bugs and still has many things that have yet to be fully fleshed out much less finished in any considerable degree. The ship designer and the battles that rarely take place are the only positives to take out of this game.

The diplomacy part of the game is very shallow indeed. With races declaring war on you with little motivation beyond your empire's progression crossing a line set by their predetermined level of aggressiveness. The same goes with positive interaction. It's very much a game of watching a bar go up or down to get them to do something you want to do.

Empire building is also shallow and unfinished. There is almost no internal management other than building a shallow level of building sets that make all your colonies resemble one another after only a colony or two. Rebellion takes place when your treasury drops below a certain level and only in this manner. Civilization 2 has more in depth internal management than this title.

Military matters are hampered by two things: The lack of any meaningful artificial intelligence and the small tech tree present in the game. The tech tree is the smallest tree I've seen in a 4x game (and smaller than some RTS games like Rise of Nations or even Age of Empires). The AI assembles the same, tired fleet makeup and then throws it at you. This means pretty much every single game plays out the same way regardless of the galaxy size. The one saving grace in enemy behavior is that the game saves your custom ship designs and then uses them against you in subsequent games should you choose another race to play as. I would love to see other 4x games incorporate this feature into their titles so I'm faced with much more difficult fleet makeups since they were designed by myself or other players who post their designs for others to use.

All in all, I'm very disappointed in not only the way this game turned out, but the developer's behavior on the steam forums once people heard he was abandoning any serious development on the game on an interview. He would ban people who warned others about the state of development and has had meltdowns on multiple gaming forums when confronted about the issue. Do not give your money to this studio. Other 4x's like Galactic Civilizations II or Distant Worlds do this genre much more of a service.
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343 of 384 people (89%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
20.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 1, 2013
Game "released" missing core features. Updates are few and far between. Seems like the dev decided to slack off once people bought it on early access.
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349 of 397 people (88%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 18, 2013
The developer of this game calls the game finished, I find that hilarious and misleading! The game has a good concept but I'd warn everyone to stay away. He's currently working on a new game and left this one to rot.
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346 of 397 people (87%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
112.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 25, 2013
the game is nice and has some really good features but the dev abandoned the game early into its life so it gets boring quickly without mods.
the ai is pretty terrible.
no different research for the different races they all share the same tech tree.
not much interaction with the ai beside talking,spying or becoming allies with them.
has no story line to speak of even though it has secrets to unlock and had another race which was removed because the dev said the game was complete even though their was only one option with them.
i recommend you wait for it to go on sale before you even think of buying the game because at the price it is with the features you get its not worth it.
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Recently Posted
23.9 hrs
Posted: October 23
It's simply not a complete game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
That Guy
0.8 hrs
Posted: October 20
Developer quits developing to develop another game which he quit developing.
nothing final about either games.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
26.2 hrs
Posted: October 17
Not super happy fun time!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
46.5 hrs
Posted: October 15
Not much replay value to it and never seemed to have been finished.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
406.0 hrs
Posted: October 12
Dev abandoned this unfinished game. It was so promising. Falls apart at end game. Still a lively modding community. Not suggested unless you want to mess with the mods.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
34.5 hrs
Posted: October 3
Multiplayer was never added, crashes frequently.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.4 hrs
Posted: September 24
Seems legit! Reminds about old space games for DOS, such as masters of orion and strange adventures in infinite space (or even as a mix between the two). There's a time based turn system, in which turn based resource gathering and building is paired with real time (or accelerated/slowed down) space travel.

Small enough to be enjoyable, I think.
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50.1 hrs
Posted: September 23
Abandoned before it was truly finished, and what is there, is actually just quality 4X gameplay - to a certain extent.

The game offers some refreshing mechanics that work well and completely customized ship building 'FTL' style. Ships consist of internal blocks that can be populated by modules, of which placement is also important and a tactical aspect.

The end result is a very enticing ship building and testing game, with a hint of 4X to tide you through to the nicest technologies and ships. If you are looking for a deep 4X, you are in the wrong place.

On sale, I recommend this game. Get it cheap, or move on to something better.
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