Distant Worlds is a vast, pausable real-time 4X space strategy game. Experience the full depth and detail of turn-based strategy, but with the simplicity and ease of real-time, and on the scale of a massively-multiplayer online game.
User reviews: Very Positive (371 reviews)
Release Date: May 23, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"The definitive version of the best space strategy game I’ve ever played"
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (8)

December 8

New Distant Worlds 1.9.5.10 Update and One Week Sale!

We're happy to announce that Distant Worlds: Universe has been updated again, which makes two updates in the last two weeks! This new update, 1.9.5.10 is the tenth free update since release and brings the number of fixes, changes and improvements into the hundreds. This latest update focuses on improvements to Pirate gameplay, but also adds a few other nice improvements and fixes.

In addition, to celebrate this update and the holiday season, we are pleased to offer Distant Worlds: Universe at a discounted price again (equal to the launch discount). This is a limited time one-week sale, so if you've been waiting to jump on board, there's no better time on the horizon!

Here's the full change list for these two recent updates since the 1.9.5.8 update:

CRASH FIXES

- fixed crash when viewing newly conquered colony
- fixed rare crash when calculating spaceport income
- fixed rare crash when ship performing fleet tasks
- fixed rare crash when inflicting damage on target
- fixed rare crashes in some race events

BUG FIXES

- fixed bug where games would not start when more than 256 components defined
- ensure characters with random appearance order now work properly, even when many custom characters defined and many random appearance orders used
- ensure Shakturi always properly use custom design templates when available
- bases built at planets/moons/asteroids no longer detach when built by improvised construction ships (e.g. Exploration ships) that use a subrole other than 'Construction Ship'
- ship captain characters now have their skills and traits revealed after their first battle

PIRATES

- pirate bases with Gravity Well Projectors will now properly stop all enemy ships, not just other pirates
- pirate income from controlled colonies is now never negative, even when colony has negative revenue (i.e. colony maintenance upkeep greater than income)
- maintenance costs for each troop unit now properly shown in Troops screen when playing as pirate
- in pirate missions panel in Empire Navigation Tool, now properly show Defend missions when "Showing Available Missions" and "Showing All Missions Types" (when playing as pirate)
- pirate factions now properly process *owned* colonies so that the following activities occur: troops recruited, population growth rates vary, luxury resources ordered, population race bonuses applied, etc
- pirate resort bases now properly cleaned up when destroyed

OTHER

- Ships and Bases screen now remembers last filter setting
- added troop strength summary to hover tip in Selection Panel when Colony selected and hovering mouse over 'Troops' line
- AI now more careful about selecting location for characters with demoralizing trait, may dismiss character (when characters automated)
- increased range at which spaceport tractor beams will push away invading troop transports. Spaceports will now also push away transports even when not primary target

SHIP DESIGN
- added new flee when setting: Armor 50% or Shields 20% (also supported in design template files: use setting Armor50 for optional FleeWhen)

MODDING

- increased maximum number of research projects from 1000 to 1500
- increased maximum number of components from 300 to 500


The new 1.9.5.10 update will automatically install when you restart Steam.

4 comments Read more

December 1

Distant Worlds updated to 1.9.5.9

Distant Worlds version 1.9.5.9 is now available. The patch brings new bug fixes and increases the stability of the game, as well as further expanding the modding limits. Last but not least, the AI has also been tweaked further. Please keep the feedback coming, as the developers are eager to continue supporting the biggest 4X game out there!

If you are using the Steam version, the update will be downloaded automatically.

V1.9.5.9

• CRASH FIXES
o Fixed crash when viewing newly conquered colony

• BUG FIXES
o fixed bug where games would not start when more than 256 components defined
o ensure characters with random appearance order now work properly, even when many custom characters defined and many random appearance orders used
o ensure Shakturi always properly use custom design templates when available

• SHIP DESIGN
o added new flee when setting: Armor 50% or Shields 20% (also supported in design template files: use setting Armor50 for optional FleeWhen)

• MODDING
o increased maximum number of research projects from 1000 to 1500
o increased maximum number of components from 300 to 500

• OTHER
o AI now more careful about selecting location for characters with demoralizing trait, may dismiss character (when characters automated)

increased range at which spaceport tractor beams will push away invading troop transports. Spaceports will now also push away transports even when not primary target.

1 comments Read more

Reviews

“Distant Worlds: Universe is my favourite space strategy game. Not my favourite space strategy game released this week and not my favourite space strategy game released this year. It’s the definitive version of the best space strategy game I’ve ever played and I want to share the excitement with everyone”
Rock Paper Shotgun

“Distant Worlds: Universe is perhaps the finest 4x Space game in a generation, certainly since Galactic Civilizations 2. It's a challenging and complex game packed with features that allows you to choose just how you want to play it, while accommodating a wide variety of play-styles and strategies.”
9/10 – Strategy Informer

“Its enormous, complex and - above all - fun.”
4.5/5 – Digitally Downloaded

About This Game

The Universe is Yours!
Distant Worlds: Universe is the newest chapter of this critically acclaimed sci-fi series, adding incredible new features and an exciting new storyline.  Universe is also the ultimate collector’s edition, the first time all previous Distant Worlds releases have been included in one package, along with an updated manual and greatly expanded modding support.  

Distant Worlds is a vast, pausable real-time 4X space strategy game. Experience the full depth and detail of turn-based strategy, but with the simplicity and ease of real-time, and on the scale of a massively-multiplayer online game.  

Vast galaxies are made to order: up to 1400 star systems, with up to 50,000 planets, moons and asteroids. Galaxies are so deep, fun and immersive that you won’t want to finish the game.  Build, expand and improve your empire while playing through one of the storylines, with victory conditions or in an open-ended sandbox mode.

Each galaxy is packed with life and activity. Encounter other empires, independent alien colonies, traders, pirates and space monsters. Explore star systems, asteroid fields, gas clouds, supernovae, galactic storms and black holes. Discover evidence of civilizations long since past, uncovering secrets about the galaxy's troubled history...

Best of all, you can play the game your way: enjoy a quick, intense game in a crowded sector of space or take your time in an epic game spread across a vast galaxy! 

Distant Worlds: Universe contains all of the following:


Features:

  • Truly Epic-Scale Galaxies: play in galaxies with up to 1400 star systems and 50,000 planets, moons and asteroids. Vast nebula clouds spiral out from the galactic core, shaping the distribution of star clusters in the galaxy
  • Private Enterprise: the private citizens of your empire automatically take care of mundane tasks like mining resources, transporting cargo, migration between colonies, tourism and much more. This frees you from micro-management and instead allows you to focus on a macro-scale
  • Diplomacy: interact with other empires, discussing treaties, making trade offers or just giving them a piece of your mind. Talk to pirate factions, tapping into their underground information, or paying them to do your dirty work for you...
  • Choose your Playstyle: Start with a single planet and sub-light ships, or as an established space-faring civilization with warp drives.  Play as a Standard empire or as a Pirate faction, with many adjustable victory conditions and gameplay choices depending on your actions.
  • Intelligent Automation: automate the various tasks in your empire, so that you can focus on the areas that you enjoy most. Or have your advisors make suggestions in different areas like colonization, defence or diplomacy – helping you learn the best tactics and strategies
  • Explore: explore the vast galaxy, discovering valuable resources, potential colonies for your empire and making contact with other empires. Uncover secrets that lift the veil on the galaxy’s mysterious past...
  • Colonize: send out colony ships to found new worlds for your empire. Develop your new colonies by keeping them well-supplied with a steady stream of valuable resources
  • Defend: patrol the outlying areas of your empire to protect from raiding pirates or dangerous space monsters. Construct defensive bases at your colonies. Build up your fleets to defend against enemy empires. Recruit troops to invade enemy colonies and conquer the galaxy!
  • Espionage: covertly seek out information about other empires, or even disrupt their progress with acts of sabotage
  • Research: develop new technologies for use in building your own unique ships and star bases
  • Characters:  including Leaders, Admirals, Generals, Ambassadors, Governors, Agents and Scientists, all with defined skills and traits and the opportunity to advance and improve
  • Design and Build: A very flexible system allows you to design and build the ships and star bases in your empire. Construct mighty military ships ranging from escorts to carriers and dreadnoughts at your space ports, or build mining stations, research installations or secret monitoring facilities at remote locations throughout the galaxy
  • Built-in Game Editor: fine-tune your own galaxy, adding or removing star systems, planets, asteroid fields, ships, star bases, space monsters or anything else. Modify the attributes of any empire in your game
  • Extensive Help: exhaustive, built-in, context-sensitive help is always only a single key-press away. Press F1 at any time for a detailed explanation of the current game screen, your currently selected item, etc
  • Tutorials: in-game tutorials familiarize you with all of the game elements and tools

New to Universe!

  • The entire Distant Worlds series in one package! Universe includes the Original Distant Worlds, Return of the Shakturi, Legends, Shadows and the new Universe expansion!
  • Comprehensive Modding and Customization Support: Allows adding/removing/changing most items: resources (including new colony-manufactured resources), ship components, planetary facilities and wonders, fighter designs, alien races and race families, diplomatic dialog, empire policy, custom characters, ship and base design templates, governments, plagues, research tech trees and more
    • Can customize most of the images used in the game: ships and bases, fighters, alien races, planetary facilities and wonders, characters, troops, components, resources, ancient ruins, planets, stars, asteroids, animated in-game effects and more
    • Use a previously saved and editor-customized game as a map for a new game (instead of generating a new galaxy)
    • Powerful new event system accessible from a considerably-upgraded Game Editor. Set up your own storyline in a custom map with triggered events and custom victory conditions
    • Add story triggers on specific in-game objects or events, executing one or more actions on other in-game objects (either immediately or delayed)
    • Can replace most of the user interface icons and sound effects
    • Add your own custom help files to the in-game Galactopedia
    • Switch between different customization sets with a couple of mouse clicks from the main game menu
    • Comprehensive 99-page Modding Guide that outlines how to make Mods and explains all of the settings in detail
  • A new official storyline built using the new modding capabilities, covering the first war between the Freedom Alliance and the Shaktur Axis, in which you have access to the tech required to build your own planet destroyers, establish the Ancient Guardians and research and deploy the Xaraktor virus.
 

 

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP3, Vista, Windows 7 or 8
    • Processor: Pentium 4 @1.5 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: minimum 1024 x 768 resolution, 32 bit
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9 compatible
    • Additional Notes: Requires Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows Vista, Windows 7 or 8 (64-bit)
    • Processor: Dual Core CPU @ 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: minimum 1024 x 768 resolution, 32 bit
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9 compatible
    • Additional Notes: Requires Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer
Helpful customer reviews
96 of 99 people (97%) found this review helpful
199.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
Quick Summary:

Distant Worlds is the most complex space 4X strategy game I've played in my 15+ years of gaming. Where it lacks in flashy graphics, it makes up for in vibrant, uniquely immersive gameplay. While it's not without flaws, I definitely recommend it to any would-be galactic emperor looking for a thoughtful space 4X experience.

Pros:

  • Its galaxies are bustling with life and activity. DW provides pretty much the most engaging simulation of a sentient life-filled universe I've seen to date.
  • A rich and unique economic system: Your civilian taxpayers are actually running their own private economy with ships and bases you can't control.
  • You can automate pretty much anything, letting you focus on controlling the parts you most enjoy.
  • Every little ship has a competent AI allowing your empire to fend for itself even without constant input from you.

Cons:

  • Colony management is rather simplistic.
  • Research is done by advancing through a fixed tech tree just like in the Civilization series. I consider this a con because it makes large parts of each game play out rather samey, hurting the otherwise great replayability.
  • Due to the complexity, DW isn't an easy game to get into.
  • There's no multiplayer mode. This isn't a con for me but it might be for some.


Detailed Review:

I've played many of the space 4X games out there including Master of Orion 2, Imperium Galactica 1-2, Pax Imperia 2, Galciv 1-2, SotS 1, Endless Space, Space Empires 4-5, Star Ruler, Lost Empires, Armada 2526, etc and to me what sets Distant Worlds apart from all of these is that its galaxies feel "alive" and real to a degree that I just haven't seen in any other space 4X game to date.

They are living, breathing worlds filled with hundreds to thousands of ships, each with their own agenda, going about their daily activities around the clock: civilians hauling cargo, tourists visiting resort bases, military ships patrolling trade lanes, pirates raiding, ancients scheming... all in real time. There's always something going on.


At the core of this bustling activity is the economic model that's one of the most richly conceived ones out there.
For once the people that you're taxing for income are finally actively present in the galaxy - they're running a private economy, buying freighters from your shipyards, hauling resources to wherever they're in demand, carrying tourists to your resort bases, migrating in passenger ships from colony to colony to avoid high taxes, etc and they do that completely without your input - in fact you can't even control them directly but merely influence them (e.g. by designing better freighters for them to buy) which gives DW a bit of a Majesty-like charm.
All of this isn't just a small sideshow either - these civilians actually make up most of the interstellar traffic in the game.


The part of your empire that you directly control is also a lot smarter than in other games. It's not a completely helpless child that needs babysitting with even the most basic tasks such as resource flow or self-defense.

Resource flow for instance is handled by the aforementioned private economy *if* they have enough money to buy and maintain their own ships and bases after paying your taxes.

As for self-defense, even on full manual control, your ships can be given individual AI that automatically assigns them to civilian escort, patrol, defense, etc duties across your territory according to your empire's needs (and yes they're smart enough to refuel/repair without you). You just build them and they'll handle the rest *if* that's what you want but you can also take manual control and have them follow your orders only.

In either case, you can leave your ships completely unattended because it's possible to configure their design to e.g. kite enemies with long range weapons, close the distance for short range attacks, board and capture hightech enemies for disassembly, etc so that they fight exactly how you want them to even when you aren't looking. And it's always a glorious moment when your automated defense fleet first defeats a pirate raid without any input from you.

In fact part of DW's appeal is that when building your empire you're basically creating and nurturing a complex self-sufficient system with the aim of making it more efficient than the rival empires.


An interesting quirk is that you can automate just about anything from research to foreign policy, military operations, espionage, etc. On full automation, the game essentially plays itself. That'd be like watching a pure AI vs AI match in other games. Only here you can influence your AI by taking control of certain decisions. One possible playstyle is to only control one aspect (or just one fleet, or ship) of your empire while leaving the rest to the AI which makes it feel like you're just a minister/general/fleet admiral/ship captain instead of a supreme ruler.

The ability to automate things also makes the late-game mop-up period a lot less tedious. In other games, I often just quit once I reach a point where nothing can stop me because the game is practically won and the only challenge left would be to endure the tedium of rinse-repeat steamrolling whatever is left out there. In DW, you can finish up by declaring your wars, putting your military on full auto and watching your good hard work come to fruition as carnage ensues without the hassle of having to manually control all of that.


Naturally you also have most of the standard/good bits from other 4X classics such as custom ship design, diplomacy, research, espionage, pirate factions, assignable characters (scientist, governor, etc) with developing abilities, random events, hidden tech, abandoned ships around the galaxy and so on.


There are also some extras like the logistics system - in DW your ships generate their energy from fuel which will limit how long they can travel or fight before needing to stop by a gas giant's mining station or a spaceport to refill their tanks. I also really like the pre-warp starting condition where you're confined to your first solar system until you develop some type of warp drive due to the simple fact that your impulse engines are too slow and would take forever to reach even the nearest star.


My primary complaint would be that the research aspect which is exactly like the research in the Civilization series (and most other 4X games) is too static. Since technological progress essentially defines how these games play out, if the tech tree is always the same, then each game will also start feeling the samey after a few playthroughs. Fortunately in DW, 1 playthrough can be very long - I'm 137 hours in and only played 2 games so far.

Of course, this isn't a negative point in the sense that most other 4X games handle research the same simple way (remarkably, one of the few exceptions was good ole MoO2). But I hope game designers will someday inject some dynamism and randomness into this most overlooked and outdated aspect of the 4X concept.


My other complaint would be that colony management is rather simplistic. Setting taxes and race policies is pretty much the only meaningful "management" you can do as there are very few buildings to build and most have no economic impact so there's not much you can do to customize colonies.


Last but not least, it deserves a mention that the first few hours of DW can feel quite intimidating in various ways: If you don't use automation, it can feel overwhelming while if you use too much automation, it can make you feel unneeded. Don't let that discourage you though because with practice it will all become second nature and you will eventually do much better than the automation so just experiment to see which learning style suits you best.

At the end of the day, if you persevered, Distant Worlds will reward you with an epic space 4X experience that you just won't find anywhere else.
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113 of 165 people (68%) found this review helpful
105.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 3
Distant Worlds seems real cool, at first; but then, after a while, you realize that the AI is not playing by the same rules as you. Not by a long shot.

The AI will often field a gigantic space fleet, even if they still only have their homeworld because they're too incompetent to colonize another planet. You have to pay maintenance, which limits the size of your fleet; apparently, the AI does not.

Let's say you start as a pre-warp empire, and all your AI opponents do, too. After you discover warp drive and explore the galaxy a bit, you'll find that some of your opponents just sit on their homeworlds forever and don't expand, while others expand impossibly fast and will have 10 times or more the colonies you do. The first couple games, you think that they expand so much faster than you because you are new to the game and don't know what you're doing. The next couple games, when you understand how the game works better, and they still expand absurdly faster than you, you realize that it's not you, it's the AI cheating. A lot.

After a while of playing this, I began to get the impression that the AI empires are there just to harrass and annoy the player, rather than actually try to win. For example, you might have this space empire of around 10 colonies; then the AI empire next to you that consists of only it's homeworld decides to embargo your homeworld. They send their impossibly huge fleet to surround your homeworld. How could they think they could get away with this? You're 10 times bigger than they are. Well, their fleet is almost as big, or maybe even bigger, than yours, because they cheat horribly; but why don't they just declare war on you, then? This action doesn't help them in any way; you get the impression they have no motivation except to annoy those they don't like.

Once war starts, the AI will throw fleets at you. Over and over and over. And will invade the same planet again and again and again, which is nigh impossible to stop, even with a huge fleet guarding the planet. Really, the AI worlds are just spawn points for hordes of ships which they throw at you; even though they will build mining stations, I suspect they don't even have to worry about resources like you do. It might seem like a crazy comparison, but after a while, I began to feel like I was playing Gauntlet (the old coin op, as in "green elf needs food, badly") instead of a 4X strategy game.

Look, I've been playing 4X games for years. I realize that making a decent AI for these types of games is an immense challenge. However, the AI in this game is so bad, and cheats so blatantly, they're really just not very fun opponents. Considering that there's no multiplayer, it renders the entire game a pointless waste of time.
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26 of 30 people (87%) found this review helpful
374.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
Bought this game one month ago, initially thinking, "Yikes, pretty steep price, but look at those user reviews..."

246 hours of playtime later, learning each and every aspect of the game, getting blown (away) by how much depth and detail there is...

Now I know why there were so many "this is the best 4X game EVAR" user reviews

THEY WERE RIGHT. MY GOD MAN, THEY WERE RIGHT!

11/10 would let it consume my soul again. (going to now, in fact)
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27 of 33 people (82%) found this review helpful
169.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 19
First I want to say this is the best 4x game I have played, and I have played, Civs 4, 5, Sins all of them and modded, Pandora, galtic civs 1 and 2, sword of the stars 1 and 2. It has better depth than civs 4, better 4x than Sins, the most realistic solar systems I have seen in a 4x game.
That said, dont expect to just jump in and be the master of the game. If all you have played is Civs 5 then you will have a huge learning curve. Since in Civs 5 can be won really no matter what you do. I see in alot of these reviews for this, people get overwhelmed with all the stuff. I will say this, dont try to understand everything at once. Most of the people writing bad reviews, seem to be trying to controll 1400 star map, and do everything. While you can control everything manually, it makes it rather time consuming. The computer ai, does a great job of controlling the stuff you dont want to.
I skipped this game for the longest time due to the price, and 2d graphics, but I def regret that. This game has been one of the few i have bought, that i didnt feel i needed to have a mod running to enjoy the game. I have added some mods since I started, and they just make the game alot better.
I just want to address one thing though. I am not really sure why people are having such a hard time with the UI. Everything in the UI is customizable to what you want, I mean everything. Also everything is there easy to access, you can make your own ships, see all the aliens, see all colonies, ect. There isnt anything different really from the other 4x games. I found this UI alot easier to use than Civs 4.
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20 of 22 people (91%) found this review helpful
71.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 7
I can’t believe I haven’t played this game earlier. DWU is an enormous 4x strategy game set in space. On first sight, it can look overwhelming… but thanks to the developers, you can set almost everything into “AI controlled”. This is great, because if you just want to see a living universe in front of your eyes, you basically set all to “automated” and just see everything fold in front of your eyes. Other people preffer to micromanage every aspect of their Empire… and the game allows them to do it too! Personally, I am in a middle ground, I like to micromanage, but I do not want to micromanage all the details of this game. One simple example, early in the game I manually send my explorers to the neighboring systems to see what is out there… but once I have a solid base around me, I just don’t care anymore and I set them to “Ai controlled”… the AI can manage very well the task of jumping from system to system all the time. There are dozens of features in the game that I like and I think that are very well implemented, but I think that one to mention is the simple “ship designer”: You can basically design whatever you want in there adding components to your ship (that you research on the tech tree obviously). You do not like the basic Frigate design? No problem, just edit it, add more torpedoes and lasers… and then retrofit it to your entire fleet!! Awesome!
I highly recommend this game to all the people that love strategy games in space, you will surely not regret it!
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21 of 24 people (88%) found this review helpful
15.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 4
The Distant Worlds franchise proved to be an unusual exception for me. When it comes to games these days, I am rarely an "early adopter." Rather, I usually wait for other, more adventurous gamers to gamble their time and money before I stick my toe into the water. But with Distant Worlds it was different. I was intrigued from the first moment I saw the low-fi 2010 announcement pitch from a then unknown New Zealand development team by the name of CodeForce. There was just something that suggested ambitious innovation from the get-go. As I was reviewing games at the time, I requested a review code for the original DW game to check it out - really more out of curiosity than an actual eagerness to play the game. Long short: I quickly became hooked, as you can read here:

http://www.gamesquad.com/review/distant-worlds

Right off the bat it got a solid 8.0 from me!

Well, Code Force wasn't done yet! They proceeded to take the community feedback and wishlist and incorporate a lot of it into subsequent expansions. As you can see by my reviews for them, they did not disappoint:

http://www.gamesquad.com/review/reviewed-distant-worlds-return-shakturi

http://www.gamesquad.com/review/reviewed-distant-worlds-legends

With the release of Legends, the game had already earned a fantastic "9.0" from me! Impressive!

Of course, since then Code Force has released two more expansions, so the game has only improved (especially in light of the Universe compendium that FINALLY brought the game to Steam!). If I was to review this title today, it probably would top out around 9.5 or better!

Now, why do I say that? What is it that makes Distant Worlds so special? Simply, it is this:

Unlike most other space-based 4X strategy games, Distant Worlds isn't some sort of chess-like static experience where nothing happens unless a player makes it happen. Instead, DW is more like Sim City or Europa Universalis, or even Crusader Kings 2, where the player immediately gets the sense that he is but one small cog in a very large, very active galaxy where all sorts of things are happening that are outside of the player's control. Part of this is due to DW's real time environment (again, like EU or CK2) where there is constant activity on the map from the various other factions that share the galaxy with the player. But the biggest contributor to all this activity is the game's "Private Sector." Unlike every(?) other 4X game out there, DW deliberately limits the player's action to the "State" sector of his empire, which includes the military, diplomacy, tax rates, and so on. As with the real world, the private sector - the citizenry, merchants, miners, traders - are outside direct control of the player. While the player can influence their actions with policies, their day to day activities are completely autonomous. This is where DW so brilliantly succeeds! It is this private sector that brings so much life to the galaxy! In fact, this is why I often compare DW to Sim City because it can be so much fun to watch "the little people" go about their lives in a very dangerous galaxy as you do your best to protect and shepard them. For example, I recall one game some time ago where a passenger ship was attacked by a space monster (or was it pirates?) on route to a tourist destination. The ship was badly damaged and left adrift. As the supreme ruler, I had to send out a repair ship to save them, which was really cool. And, of course, I had to detail some military vessels to protect them while the repair ship did its work. THAT is the type of unique, micro focus that DW offers that so many space games just completely overlook.

I also find DW to be like Crusader Kings 2 because, with the arrival of the Legends expansion, DW now has its own cast of characters - diplomats, scientists, spies, and more - who are randomly generated, and acquire unique personality stats. As with CK2, this really adds a sense of personality to your empire (and yes, far in excess of the under cooked characters in Endless Space). And while these characters don't engage in the sort of interpersonal skulduggery that is common to CK2, they can be assassinated and killed by events. Just yesterday I had a talented energy researcher assassinated when his research base was destroyed by a sabotage-induced explosion!

Do you see what I mean by how DW is less like your typical chess-like 4X strategy game, and more like a science fiction Sim City / CK2/ EU4 hybrid? There is just nothing like this game on the market at the moment - something that fully justifies its somewhat pricey cost (trust me: it is worth every penny!).

In short, if you like turn-based, by-the-numbers, 4X strategy game where you have total god-like control over everything, this might not be for you. But if you are the type of gamer who loves real time grand strategy games that work with you to tell your own story in a sandbox environment - again, like a Crusader Kings 2 or a Europa Universalis 4 - this is DEFINITELY what you have been looking for! You don't so much play DW as you experience it. And, as with Crusader Kings, when the game is done, boy will you have some tales to tell!

Highly recommended!
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15 of 17 people (88%) found this review helpful
113.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 28
Distant Worlds Universe is the greatest 4x ever produced.
Pros:
-Cool looking Death Star like things
need I say more but I will
-ability to dictate how much micromanagement you wish to do
- As a race of hippy blue people you can exterminate every other race in the galaxy with your snazzy Death Stars
-There are quite a few mods available, with a very good community
Mix:
During late game wars things can get pretty hectic especially due to the RTS system, you can't just sit back and watch the havoc unfold
Cons:
The interface is a little clunky at times
Personal Rating: If unable to get this game, sell unimportant body parts or family members until able to get this game.
Traditional rating: 9.2/10
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14 of 16 people (88%) found this review helpful
76.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 30
If you want the short story: A game which has a third of my gaming hours hooked, and pleases the sci-fi and strategy parts of me by a long way!!! 8/10

If you want the long story, then i suggest you take a good seat, have a good brew and listen close. :)

I have always had some undying thirst for games like these, though what has always put me off them is the fact i end up diving in the deep end and not realising HOW DEEP it is. But the developers i think have cleverly thought this out, with automanage features in the options menu (and which you can set in game too so your not having to restart from scratch). Meaning you can concentrate on the parts you, the player, want to focus on.

You can even do a kind of mini-game if you will like a 2D version of EVE online :P, and set everything on auto-manage while just manually ordering 1 ship to be built and personally customised by you via the ship design screen, after it is built, you can go with it on adventures across the galaxy and (if your a hardcore roleplaying kind of person) make up your own story. Aside from having your little RPG fun on a supposed 4x RTS game, you can set it to your liking as i mentioned earlier.

Do you want to just focus on the intel part of your empire and be an intergalactic James Bond? then go do that! Just set everything on auto manage except the intel parts of it and have fun! Or if you just want to be the man with the iron fist and go on a mad quest to conquer the galaxy you can do that too. If i had to pick one reason i love this game, it is the fact that it can be tailored around your play style. As the game motto is..."The Universe is Yours"

I also love the diplomatic relations on the game, where you can form alliance pacts to trade agreements, initiate sanctions and declare war, all the usual stuff. But what i like about it is that you can check another empires relations with everybody else and not just yours. It is really useful to keep in check over the ever shifting diplomatic web of relations to give you a rough picture of who to trust or not.

I have noticed with most game modes you start with, you will have 1 empire that is akin to your race. It bugges me a bit but after a while i can ignore this and simply create some sort of back story. Say they were some sort of event that made the two forget about eachother as time went by and only happened upon eachother in modern times. The real reason this happens though i think is so you can get a jump start and have some sort of support (and maybe even a friend among the empires) so you are not completely alone, though there is the matter of finding them first, and if they end up starting in the same system as you, expect an solar civil war to take place within that system.

What will also keep you hooked is that there are plenty of races to choose from, 22 in fact counting the guardians and shakturi in a fully customisable game. But what i also like about them is that each race has its own charicteristics, and that the victory conditions are set in a way that is more attuned to a said race. This allows for a more role play game and can introduce a fresh way of approach, so your not going in with exactly the same goal as everybody else and using the same strategy.

The victory conditions are divided into 4 sub conditions. Economy, Territory, Population and Race Specific (already mentioned). The economic, territorial and population is mostly the same but the race specific ones help create more of a diverse way of achieving those goals. But since the galaxy, as big as it is, is not unlimited, and that there will be collisions with other empires conditions, the victory benchmark is set to 80% of your total victory conditions, meaning you don't have to achieve 100% of what everything is set for you to win.

One thorny issue i have noticed is that the dialogue can be a bit user unfriendly at times and you may get spammed with messages from other empires. (especially true when you are part of an evershifting web of pacts and you end up with a seemingly intergalactic NATO vs Warsaw conflict. It is also the disadvantage of when you set the auto manage to advisors, where you get asked permission if your empire can build this and that or a new set of ships or fleet.

I have however come to terms with these issues and in the long run can be a fun game, but it does lose some of its magic after a while. As even with a standard 20 races to choose from (not counting the ancient guardians and shakturi of a fully customisable game), you eventually get to learn what they can behave like. The insectoids for example are your more angry bunch of races, some of which will just declare war on you and others just for the fun and giggles, while other races behave in a loose cannon and are just simply unpredictable, one point being all, sup, and you have no relations (but they have no beef on you so its mainly mutual), to suddenly, "we declare war on you, because we just feel like it, mad bro?" or at least thats how i see it, though usually they go less severe and just sanction trade with you instead, but it still dampens the mood with diplomatic relations. The Haakonish Race are seriously notorious for this, everytime i now see them im expecting them to ♥♥♥♥ 80% of the galaxy off with conflicts and sanctions.

So, in summary:

Pros:
Plenty of races to choose from so you are kept on your toes for a good while with new playstyles.
The diplomacy panel is actually quite easy to understand when you get used to it.
Completely customisable games.
Can set certain tasks to auto-manage so you are not overwhelmed with info, and also allows you to play your way.
Can even play as pirates. :P
Different storymodes to make a new game from.

***Cons:
Races can become predictable (even though government types can alter the factor).
Late game can be unfriendly userface wise.
Isn't exactly WOW factor with graphics, but you wouldn't mind too much given the scale of the game.
REALLY steep learning curve. but that is what the auto-manage is there for).
***Can be demanding with all the info it is gathering and processing, and in my case the Saves get overthrown and not recognised, but it doesn't happen everygame. To counter this I just use 2 saves so i can load on the previous one if the later one crashes.
***Can be demanding mid to late game when empires become large and there are many fleets going about their business.

***(probably due to the PC i use, it isnt exactly something for gaming but it can handle some, you will probably be better off though).

Overall, if your a strategy fan and a sci-fi lover, this should at least take a few months of your gaming calendar. Maybe after then it becomes a bit predictable with what may happen (such as an insectoid race declaring war on you as they are like that, nothing personal on you :D) but the fact it runs deep and there are a wide range of play styles to choose from, you shouldn't get bored any times soon and there are plenty of events that can interestingly occur that will get your curiosity spiking.

8/10
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11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
70.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 14
In my opinion this IS the game I have wanted for a very long time.

Watch the videos if you are having a difficult time getting started.

Try your best to stay away from automating activities. You will will enjoy the game more the more you do yourself.

If you have a ship that you have a specific task for learn how to use the Editor to rename that ship appropriately. For instance I use a few Construction Ships to do nothing but build Defense Bases so i rename them "Defense Builder One,... Two, etc."

This helps me keep track of what I have intended them to do.

It will be years before this one will gets old for me.
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8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
34.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 20
A deep, complex and rewarding space strategy game, where it is your job to manage your very own space empire.

Colonize planets, invent new techs, build your ships and wage war or use diplomacy. Basic stuff, really. But one thing makes it stick out to me: the civilian fleets. Every faction has their own civilians scooting through space. The galaxy feels alive because of this. You have no control over them, but you need them to generate revenue for your economy.

You can also extensively customize your starting options and generally define what kind of game you want to play. Make a peaceful galaxy for a more trade/diplomacy oriented game or ramp up the pirate activity and aggressiveness of the other factions for a more war oriented game. Other options like how advanced your faction is compared to the others, the scarcity of recources or the the size and composition of the map will make it easier or harder for you.

Graphics are outdated, the user interface is quite a mess and sound is basic. But still this is one of the best 4X space games out there.
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9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
25.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
If you ever played Master of Orion 1/2 and loved it, this game is for you. You might say... "But it's 60$ mate!". Shut up! it will be the best 60$ you ever shelled out.

You want this game. Want to micromanage an entire empire? You can do it! Want to sit down a take a shot everytime you get trade sanction while watching the game play itself? You bet your sweet drunk ♥♥♥ you can!

You can take as much or as less responsibility as you want. This is one of the best space faring 4X that we had since freaking forever.

Buyt it. Now. Stop complaining. You can eat ramen for a few days.
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
149.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 8
This game is absolutely fabulous. It takes some mastering and learning from from various sources such as youtube and online guides.

This is a 4X which even has a story line to it, a complex but yet simple interface structure. The best way to define this game would be to take 'Star Trek Birth of the Federation' and to expand on that principle to an entirely different level all in real time.

The whole experience can be customised to your preference along with the scale. I just cant stress how good it is. It does have a few bugs but it doesn't really stop the game play. I would say the graphics could look better but its that for a reason when you are immersed in the gameplay.

If you like Civilization, Alpha Centari, Age of Empires, Birth of the Federation and all such games in that league then I am sure you will enjoy this game as a stratagy game that builds on such games to a new level.

I have personally found me playing an empire and learning from trial and error to get better and better. Do put in the time and effort and you will love it.

This is a MUST BUY!
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8 of 10 people (80%) found this review helpful
11.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 21
Best sci-fi\space 4X. The civilian economy system is designed very well and makes the universe much more alive. Very immersive.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
41.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 30
Customizable automation level, ship design, star base design, diplomacy, espionage, character management, huge scope.
Best 4x game ever made. Yes, better than Master of Orion 2.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
74.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 30
One of the greatest and most versatile 4X games I've ever played. Really well-done 2D visuals on a galactic scale, great sound design for an ever-busy universe, and the ability to delegate essentially any part of your empire to the AI. Do what you want, and nothing more. This game is the culmination of one of the biggest examples of a "diamond in the rough", and well worth the price tag. The base game and three expansions, each of which introduces a completely new way to play the game, and steadily develops the horrendous UI into something manageable (And quite pretty, once modded).

If you ever wanted to play a 4X as a Leader, Emperor, or Alpha truly would rule, this is the game. Or, you can be a space trucker and set up gas stations for your empire, as it progresses along without you. Or you can be the pirates that give said space-trucker the shaft. Whatever. Only disappointment is that there's no demo to give this a shot, but I'd suggest anyone with an interest in the genre to get their hands on a copy of this, and buy it if you enjoy it. I know I did.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
75.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 7
Not a pretty game but definitely an insanely deep game. And not mind boggling deep. Its as deep as you want it to be.

EDIT: Its also one of the few games I have played of this type with a really good diplomacy algorythm. Its actually more rewarding to win a game completely peacefully for me. Dissuading war with numerous alliances, creating wealth with numerous trade agreements, etc. As long as you have a little cash, and are fairly established, peace is probably the most viable option.

Also, my typical games have last me 10-15 hours.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
131.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 7
Best Game Since Masters of Orion!!
Needs some polishing in the UI department.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
19.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 13
I absolutly adore this game. It's very in depth and enjoyable. Pretty steep learning curve for new players, but if you keep at it it will get more enjoyable as you learn. 10/10.

- Nice features -

Very detailed in depth guide (Galactopedia)

Customization beyond belief

Very very very large maps

Nice automation feature that can be customized COMPLETELY

Interaction between other races/civs is nice

Game is extremly in depth overall, in nearly every aspect imaginable

- Cons -

Steep learning curve. Can put people off from playing too long ( kind of like dwarf fortress, hard to learn, but fun once you know)

Text is a bit iffy *Got patched, shouldn't be an issue anymore*

Kind of time consuming/addicting, if you are a busy person irl you might want something else to do that doesn't require such strategy and thought.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
171.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 26
Probably one of the best, if not the best 4X game I've ever played. Complexity is on the level of Paradox games.

UI and graphics seem like its from the late 90s but you don't play these games from the graphics.

You can also automate as much of the game or as little of the game as you want. I personally learned how to play by turning all of it off and starting in the Shadow's Age and learning how to do everything myself.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 2
Interesting real time empire space strategy...
Good example would be the expansion of your empire without the need of populating a planet or solar system.
Another feature that stands out, is that you can even play as the pirates or as a pre-warp civilization.
A massive amount of empire regulating factors are available to the player and a huge star map to explore, one of the biggest I have seen so far in this genre. Each point in space you interact with, like a anomaly/blackhole/solar system, contains its own playfield in which multiple things can happen other then just battle or population.

The cons however would be the ugly graphics and ugly/confusing UI...
You can even see the pictures within the ui getting loaded like on a webpage (white background) when you initially start the game.

If you can tollerate that, you will have a interesting game in your hands.
That can give you a lot of hours of gameplay, and lots of different scenarios.
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