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:
Recent:
Very Positive (27 reviews) - 85% of the 27 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (672 reviews) - 80% of the 672 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 23, 2014

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May 28

Distant Worlds: Universe daily deal!

The critically acclaimed Distant Worlds: Universe gets a daily deal on Steam!

For 48 hours the game will get a -60% discount on Steam! Distant Worlds: Universe is a massive and epic 4x game, recently labelled by Rock, Paper, Shotgun as one the best space strategy game of all times. Few if any other games offer the same scale and level of detail of Distant Worlds: Universe. It's the ultimate space strategy experience. If you haven't played it yet, don't miss this opportunity!

http://store.steampowered.com/app/261470/

13 comments Read more

May 4

Slitherine lands on Bundle Stars! Distant Worlds: Universe at 50% off!

Amazing news!

We are happy to announce that Slitherine lands on Bundle Stars!

Starting from today a number of our games will be sold on the Bundle Stars store at a very special discount price!

If you are of a mind to save don’t miss this amazing offer. A whole Slitherine bundle comprising of three different tiers with so many titles at an incredibly cheap price. Three games for 1.99$, seven for 3.99$ and eight for 7.99$!

https://www.bundlestars.com/en/bundle/slitherine-bundle

The details of the bundle are as follow:

Tier 1: $1.99

- Battle of the Bulge
- Time of Fury
- Pride of Nations

Tier 2: $3.99 (including Tier 1!)


- Vietnam ‘65
- Ravenmark
- Legions of Steel
- Close Combat Panthers in the Fog

Tier 3: $7.99 (Including Tier 1 and Tier 2!)


- Pandora First Contact


The Bundle offer is valid until May 14th!

But it’s not all, folks. Be sure not to miss these amazing discounts on some of our other titles:

Battle Academy – 75% off!
Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front – 75% off!
Battle of the Bulge – 33% off!
Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager – 50% off!
Distant Worlds: Universe – 50% off!
Last Days of Old Earth – 15% off!
Order of Battle: Pacific – 40% off!
Vietnam ’65 – 50% off!
Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon – 35% off!

All the discounts will be valid for 72 hours.

By buying these titles on Bundle Stars you will receive Steam keys and you will need to activate the products on Steam.


What are you waiting for? Don’t miss this unique opportunity and visit the Bundle Stars store now!

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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, 8, 10
    • Processor: Pentium 4 @1.5 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: minimum 1024 x 768 resolution, 32 bit
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9 compatible
    • Additional Notes: Requires Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8 (64-bit), 10
    • Processor: Dual Core CPU @ 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: minimum 1024 x 768 resolution, 32 bit
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9 compatible
    • Additional Notes: Requires Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Very Positive (27 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (672 reviews)
Recently Posted
Aigomorla
( 32.2 hrs on record )
Posted: May 28
Not many 4x's can come close to DW.
By far the most complicated, yet entertaining game.
Want to customize ships? has it.
Want to be like putin and rain havok on the galaxy, has it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Bunnyslut
( 27.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 28
This game is love, this game is life.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
AlienWired
( 18.4 hrs on record )
Posted: May 27
Stellaris is the Arcade version of this game....

This game is by far the big mean brother compared to Stellaris.

Given it's steep learning curve, it is worth every effort to take the time and learn how to play it, it is far more detailed and much less boring to play than Stellaris and it's repetitiveness ...

I don't just recommend this game....

I HIGHLY recommend it!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
sir Evans
( 176.0 hrs on record )
Posted: May 27
TL:DR;
THIS GAME IS NOT WHAT IS ADVERTISED! DO NOT BUY BEFORE READING THIS REVIEW!!!

Possibly the most overpriced space RTS on steam. Hardly a 4X, kinda worse than Endless Space, not anywhere near the MoO2/MoO3 games.

After 170h+ of gameplay I believe I am capable of giving an honest accounting of this game.

And it is quite a mess. But before I explain why, let us clear basics first.

Sound: 4/10
- Terrible music. We surely need more dance/rock/techno for a strategic game, where we need to pause, think and plan in advance.
- All those woooshes and beeps. Intefrace has limited amount of sounds, reuses the same alert sounds for different events which can be confusing as hell.
- Ship sounds are sub-par. Apparently cheap sounds used from over internet.
- No vocalizes to speak of. Never.
- Sounds lags and distorts many times.
- Ambient noise from starports and while constructing ships. Imagine looking at your homeworld and having to listen to pneumatic drill for a 15 minutes. FFS, I am pretty sure they would use plasma cutters/welders for construction in space!

Graphics:7/10
+ Minimalistic graphics, exactly what you need for a large scale strategy.
+ You can mod in your own ships (hello, S.P.A.Z. carriers!)
- Very limited planet graphics. Ugly. There seem to be mod that fixes that
- Game visibly suffers in default settings from too many ships on the map. This problem (solution described at the end) is caused by fighters, each and every one of them processed the same way as other ships. Meaning a fleet of 10 carriers with 100 fighters each will take as much processing power as 1000 destroyers.
- The above mentioned issue is so pronounced, it makes large-scale battles virtually impossible to watch.
- Possibly the worst interface of 4X games released in the last decade.
- - - Why do I need to have 3 buttons doing the same, but have no list of key shortcuts anywhere inside the game? Why cannot I rebind them in menus?
- - - Why not give me resolution setting, so I could actually choose, how about that?
- - - Why the few pixel gaps between buttons and status window, so that I could hit that space and loose selection of my choosen ship/planet?
- - - Why cram the logs above, why not let me rewind it without entering message history?
- - - Why no real message settings, so I could block the annoying popup windows?
- - - Why no central control screen for AI settings with all those automation sliders so that I could actually FUKKEN DECIDE ON THE POLICY FUKKEN AUTOMATED AI IS EXECUTING?!?!?
- - - Agent succes/failure displays american jet fighter pilot picture, SERIOUSLY?!
- - - No mass 'Retire' button for a fleet. Have to search for every ship in ship browser, luckily we can sort by fleet name.
- - - Default character/ship sorting is by some ID that is not visible. You can't restore it if you click any other header.

Modding:
Game was supposed to be supper modable. This is a lie - you can only fine tune several aspects of it, graphics, sound, some research/race setting.
You cannot touch the core gameplay, for example galaxy generation method, to create different galaxies. You cannnot mod ship settings, so to create a civilian ship that never runs from combat (very lore-friendly, according to some racial descriptions).
There is some huge mod out there that adds dozens of races and techs but seeing the game as cripled as it is today I really wasn't feeling like trying it.

Gameplay: 3/10
I will break this down in few different categories. It is a must, because the game suffers from certain choices that along with huge stability issues make this title 25€ at the very best, certainly not 50€.
Let me write this here only to repeat later with a solution to this, GAME CRASHES OFTEN, WIPING OUT YOUR PROGRESS!

1. eXplore
Regardless of what positive reviews of this title said, you have to keep in mind that this game was optimized and balanced for multiplayer. Single player kinda sucks.
So. Even if you decide to start a pre-warp empire in a brand new galaxy, you cannot research warp technology. Instead you are given an ability to do so, after you are visited few times from a civilisations already having it (!). These are independent (!) planets, not an empires(!) possesing advanced technology(!). You cannot interact with them in any other way than colonizing/invading.
Why is such a thing in the game? Because you require resources to build stuff and you cannot get them in the beginning, therefore independent trading vessels will conveniently supply you with them.
I shook my head in disbelief for this solution.
Now, once you do start building things you will soon realize that:
- construction and colony ships can only be build on planets, not shipyards.
- the planet building capacities cannot be improved except with a single wonder.
- this was deliberate solution to forcibly slow down player progress.

So you build a couple of recon vessels. Little do you know that you cannot group them in a fleet (nope!). They have to go alone. They will be attacked by every single pirate/space monster they meet.
So perhaps you want to arm your recon vessels so they could defend themselves? Sure, but if you do, every time such a vessel enters a system controlled by other race, your diplomatic relations will deteriorate due to "military ships violating territory". Unbelivable.
The same goes for civilian ships that you cannot control. Arm your passenger transport agains pirates only to see it blown to pieces by a race more powerfull than yours as a "lesson" with few million passengers on board! Oh and by the way if the race has greater military rating than you they will blow up every single of your civilian ship armed with a weapon they see as a "military ship violating territory" even if you transport ultra rare spice to their homeworld! FFS whos idea was that??

2.eXpand
Possibly the worst aspect of the game is how you expand your territory and build up your empire.
To begin with, you have no control of your civilian fleet transporting goods from one place to the other. You can and should manually design them, as vanila designs are just too slow/too weak/have too little cargo.
But wait, worse things are to come. In order to balance against multiplayer gameplay, the game features very expensive colonisation research (more about "research" later) and you can only build your colony ships planet side, which takes like forever. No, you cannot build industrial buildings on the planet to construct things faster, there is only one, singular wonder that allows you to do that.
There is more. Some genius decided to add a certain parameter, "quality" to the planet. This defines how big population can get on a planet and below certain population levels planet brings no income, only expenses.
Doesn't sound bad yet? Let me explain: you cannot terraform planet into higher quality. Terraform facility only serves to repair battle damage to the maximum quality planet had, does not increase it over time. But why would you want low quality planet in the first place?
Imagine there is legendary building (one of a kind) or an ultra rare resource (the only source in the galaxy) on a planet with quality 2%.
This planet population won't go above 20M and will always generate -3,6k loss.
And what if this is the only habitable planet in a 2 sector radius and in a mineral rich system of 15 planets and 30 moons in total?

More bad things. Due to some weird bugs construction ships will forget the quequed tasks (I think that happens when they are attacked, pretty sure it does when they are destroyed). Fancy ordering of building mining stations few times in the above sectors of 15 planets and 30 moons?

Continued in comment section.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jon Flatul
( 87.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 26
Disappointed by Stellaris, that's why you're here, right?
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Grand1a
( 4.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 25
If this included the amount of time I've spent looking at tutorials and watchign youtube videos then this would probably already be on 100, and I still have no idea how to play this.
If you want a genuine learning experience then this game seems fantastic, I've gone manual for all of my playthroughs and by al of them, I mean the one where I haven't colonised anything and am stuck in my system.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
PotetGull92
( 77.9 hrs on record )
Posted: May 24
My first run I had to restart and turn down the pirates a bit cause they were ruining me completely, after i managed to learn a bit of the game i noticed that the AI troop recruiter is ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ and took control of it myself. I've almost taken over the galaxy and i must say, this is the best strategy game i've played.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Old_Game_Geek
( 550.2 hrs on record )
Posted: May 23
Great grand strategy game with lots of depth. Steep learning curve and difficult early on to figure out where to find the buttons for everything you want to do. But once you get past that... the amount of customization and decision making depth is really fantastic. If you're not put off by the graphics, there is an enormous amount of info available on the screen and in the menus.

Highly recommend to anyone that loves exploration, conquest, and intrigue on a galactic scale.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
quinnpa22
( 18.8 hrs on record )
Posted: May 21
I love space games and 4x games but this game just was not fun to play. I would not recommend this at all.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
W0nk0
( 30.1 hrs on record )
Posted: May 21
This is the game that I wanted Stellaris to be.The interface is a bit ugly (but also quite nice in places; the battles are really fun to watch), but it gets the job done very well. Almost every aspect of the game is more complex than Stellaris, but for me, that's a good thing. You can ease your way into the game by handing almost everything over to the excellent AI, which can manage your Empire for you pretty well. Speaking of which, the enemy AI doesn't cheat, and it shows. It all feels very realistic. Pirates will extort money from you while they can, but ♥♥♥♥ off when you get stronger. (Then, you'll have them attack your enemies for you in covert missions.) I could go on and on. I haven't had this feeling of there being so much more depth than I can possibly cover in a long time.

So, overall, after about 20 hours, I think this is a must buy on sale (those are quite frequent) for everyone who loves complexity and 4x games. I wish I had tried this sooner.

Edit: I just noticed that the manual - over 100 pages! - is linked up on the store page. If you want to get an idea of how the game is played and how the UI feels, check pages 37++. Quite the old school, exhaustive manual, I like that!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
mattgroom
( 176.0 hrs on record )
Posted: May 20
Much better than Stellaris even after patch3.

Stellaris stutters constantly, no story, nothing to do midgame, badly put together. Wait 2 years before even thinking about it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Tårry
( 16.6 hrs on record )
Posted: May 20
Great space game
Helpful? Yes No Funny
CavityCommunion
( 88.2 hrs on record )
Posted: May 19
I gave 80 hours to Distant Worlds:Universe. A lot, lot of that time was used learning how the game works. What automation to use, which not, How to look for resources. Mechanics, etc. This can be a very good thing in a game. Crusader Kings 2 is a great example of it.

Distant Worlds, however, becomes too much. I'm not motivated to play. When I think about giving DW:U another try I'm immediately annoyed. The game could have been great, but there are too many things to keep track of. Automation can cover a lot for you in the game, but there are too many things I found I needed to handle on my own. This game requires you to pause, take a moment to clear your mind, and then focus on what your plan is. You have to really think, or maybe a better way to describe it was to run through a list in your head of things to check. 5 minutes later recheck. Again and again. Also after I returned to a save game a day or what have you later I'd forget a lot of that plan. DW:U began to feel like work instead of play.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Wipfmetz
( 65.1 hrs on record )
Posted: May 16
I can't really describe why I like the game. It's like playing a spacefaring beehive where everywhere something happens and buzzes around.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Igel
( 3.6 hrs on record )
Posted: May 14
Have played it bevore but not the Universe version . Great 4x game. Maybe one of the best ever made !!!!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Mr Raindrop
( 50.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 12
An interactive spreadsheet simulator where carelessly changing one entry can bankrupt a galactic empire. 10/10 would restart again.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Tortuga Power
( 4.5 hrs on record )
Posted: May 8
One sentence review: "Distant Worlds Universe, though very complicated, is the epitome of the idea that good game design trumps graphics."

The only game that rivals Distant Worlds Universe for immersion and number of options available to your empire management is Aurora 4X. Otherwise, if you prefer to have at least some graphics to assist your gaming experience or imagination, this is the last word in space empire simulation.

Great base game, great mods, great community support... The only problem is, just like learning how systems (e.g. economics) works in real life, learning the various aspects of this game can be intensive. There are numerous tutorials on Youtube availabe (one by myself even ), and you absolutely must use these in order to understand what the heck you're doing.

But I guarantee that if you invest the time to learn this game (assuming you like space 4X games), it will become your favorite, and remain there with Aurora 4X until DW2 is released.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Zilkin
( 50.9 hrs on record )
Posted: May 8
Best 4x game I've played.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Mytheos
( 236.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 5
Best 4x game I have ever played. If you love a solid and complex game, you owe it to yourself to buy this one.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Erik Reiz
( 64.6 hrs on record )
Posted: May 3
There is alot of reviews outthere about the game mechanics UI etc so i wont talk about them.. it works okay but could do some little work.. Anyways game is just AWESOME to the point of 15 systems with 20-22 planets. after that point it quickly snowballs to uncontrollable mess unfortuntelly. I play everything manuel and enjoyed alot but as i said after 15 systems or so even if you automote some aspects of game it is not that fun as its used to be..

but even for first couple hours of joy the become somewhat powerful empire it is worth the price.. I bought it %50 or so if you find it for that price dont miss it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
43 of 48 people (90%) found this review helpful
Recommended
198.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 2
This is, hands down, the most complex 4x I ever played.
And I've been playing it since the first release, back when it was only Distant Worlds (this version has four, I think, expansions already integrated)
It does things differently from others, and this is a very good thing.
Let me explain

The most notable thing is the existence of the civilian sector. Unlike most 4x, you aren't a god, you control the state, but not the people and you really need the peoplet to sustain your empire and, thus, must protect them and nurture them so that your tax base grows.
Though it is a bit more complex than that.
The first thing you have to understand is that resources? there are lots of those in game, and came in three cathegories, Strategic, Luxury and Super.
Strategic are needed to keep your warmachine going, Luxury enhance the value of your civilians helping their planets grow faster and more devoped (and thus more profitable), supers are technically luxury as in that they are used by your civilians but they have profound effects, are very rare, expensive and desireable that I generally put them appart (specially since all empires can restrict the trading of these resources to other empires).
Not all planets, asteroids, nevula and what not have all resources, so it si important to have multiple mines thoughout your territory and beyond to feed your industrial might.
Not only this allows you to deepen your stockpiles, buti t also lowers the price of the resource in question, which in turn lowers the cost of components that contain that resource .

Ship components are manufactured from the Strategic resources, it is not abstracted, and generally needs several resources, in different quantities, to produce a single components.
Because of this the logistics of the game are complex, but it is generally of little immediate concern to the player, you aren't going to be manually moving resources, the traders are for that (so you better protect our mines, miners and trade ships) and do so more or less automatically, of course, scarcity of the resource modifies its price, and therefore a component might be made cheaper by having multiple mines.

Speaking of which here is where the game shines, see, because you need to protect the civilian sector, the mines and the trade ships you need more than the battleline, you also need cheap, inexpensive and discardable escorts to police your inner lines both from imperial raiders and pirates.
Spaking of which, it is important to note that this means war is more complex than throwing your fleets at the enemy. You have to protect the homefront too.
Or, if the enemy is more dangerous than you and can't fight it head on, you can try to collapse his economy by raiding his soft underbelly or by hiring pirates to do the raiding for you, you can even do that in peace time, but of course, you might just get found out.

Speaking of pirates, dealing with them can be complicated. using them as proxy might be tampting, but they aren't the most loyal of folks, and letting them grow too large might be... unwise.

The game has several modes, but have a basic divide you can be a normal empire or a pirate nation, this changes how you play the game significantly as they have completely different playstyles.
As a Normal empire, you can start at different levels of development, from pre-warp all the way to being an already stablished star nation.
I love Pre-warp start, it is impressive seeing the little ships puttering on your starting system, as you develop and industralize it, turning it into the cornerstone of your empire

While you can micro everything, the AI is reasonable and generally does a good job, though as of late I prefer to contorl where the mines get built to make it easier on my navy.

Thing is, this is not a game for everybody. It is dificult, demanding and expensive. The art and interphase could be better, but it is functional and do their jobs well enough. But it is, hands down, the most ambitious demanding and complete 4x I ever played.
Worth every penny to me.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
29 of 37 people (78%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
88.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 19
I gave 80 hours to Distant Worlds:Universe. A lot, lot of that time was used learning how the game works. What automation to use, which not, How to look for resources. Mechanics, etc. This can be a very good thing in a game. Crusader Kings 2 is a great example of it.

Distant Worlds, however, becomes too much. I'm not motivated to play. When I think about giving DW:U another try I'm immediately annoyed. The game could have been great, but there are too many things to keep track of. Automation can cover a lot for you in the game, but there are too many things I found I needed to handle on my own. This game requires you to pause, take a moment to clear your mind, and then focus on what your plan is. You have to really think, or maybe a better way to describe it was to run through a list in your head of things to check. 5 minutes later recheck. Again and again. Also after I returned to a save game a day or what have you later I'd forget a lot of that plan. DW:U began to feel like work instead of play.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
20 of 30 people (67%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
176.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 27
TL:DR;
THIS GAME IS NOT WHAT IS ADVERTISED! DO NOT BUY BEFORE READING THIS REVIEW!!!

Possibly the most overpriced space RTS on steam. Hardly a 4X, kinda worse than Endless Space, not anywhere near the MoO2/MoO3 games.

After 170h+ of gameplay I believe I am capable of giving an honest accounting of this game.

And it is quite a mess. But before I explain why, let us clear basics first.

Sound: 4/10
- Terrible music. We surely need more dance/rock/techno for a strategic game, where we need to pause, think and plan in advance.
- All those woooshes and beeps. Intefrace has limited amount of sounds, reuses the same alert sounds for different events which can be confusing as hell.
- Ship sounds are sub-par. Apparently cheap sounds used from over internet.
- No vocalizes to speak of. Never.
- Sounds lags and distorts many times.
- Ambient noise from starports and while constructing ships. Imagine looking at your homeworld and having to listen to pneumatic drill for a 15 minutes. FFS, I am pretty sure they would use plasma cutters/welders for construction in space!

Graphics:7/10
+ Minimalistic graphics, exactly what you need for a large scale strategy.
+ You can mod in your own ships (hello, S.P.A.Z. carriers!)
- Very limited planet graphics. Ugly. There seem to be mod that fixes that
- Game visibly suffers in default settings from too many ships on the map. This problem (solution described at the end) is caused by fighters, each and every one of them processed the same way as other ships. Meaning a fleet of 10 carriers with 100 fighters each will take as much processing power as 1000 destroyers.
- The above mentioned issue is so pronounced, it makes large-scale battles virtually impossible to watch.
- Possibly the worst interface of 4X games released in the last decade.
- - - Why do I need to have 3 buttons doing the same, but have no list of key shortcuts anywhere inside the game? Why cannot I rebind them in menus?
- - - Why not give me resolution setting, so I could actually choose, how about that?
- - - Why the few pixel gaps between buttons and status window, so that I could hit that space and loose selection of my choosen ship/planet?
- - - Why cram the logs above, why not let me rewind it without entering message history?
- - - Why no real message settings, so I could block the annoying popup windows?
- - - Why no central control screen for AI settings with all those automation sliders so that I could actually FUKKEN DECIDE ON THE POLICY FUKKEN AUTOMATED AI IS EXECUTING?!?!?
- - - Agent succes/failure displays american jet fighter pilot picture, SERIOUSLY?!
- - - No mass 'Retire' button for a fleet. Have to search for every ship in ship browser, luckily we can sort by fleet name.
- - - Default character/ship sorting is by some ID that is not visible. You can't restore it if you click any other header.

Modding:
Game was supposed to be supper modable. This is a lie - you can only fine tune several aspects of it, graphics, sound, some research/race setting.
You cannot touch the core gameplay, for example galaxy generation method, to create different galaxies. You cannnot mod ship settings, so to create a civilian ship that never runs from combat (very lore-friendly, according to some racial descriptions).
There is some huge mod out there that adds dozens of races and techs but seeing the game as cripled as it is today I really wasn't feeling like trying it.

Gameplay: 3/10
I will break this down in few different categories. It is a must, because the game suffers from certain choices that along with huge stability issues make this title 25€ at the very best, certainly not 50€.
Let me write this here only to repeat later with a solution to this, GAME CRASHES OFTEN, WIPING OUT YOUR PROGRESS!

1. eXplore
Regardless of what positive reviews of this title said, you have to keep in mind that this game was optimized and balanced for multiplayer. Single player kinda sucks.
So. Even if you decide to start a pre-warp empire in a brand new galaxy, you cannot research warp technology. Instead you are given an ability to do so, after you are visited few times from a civilisations already having it (!). These are independent (!) planets, not an empires(!) possesing advanced technology(!). You cannot interact with them in any other way than colonizing/invading.
Why is such a thing in the game? Because you require resources to build stuff and you cannot get them in the beginning, therefore independent trading vessels will conveniently supply you with them.
I shook my head in disbelief for this solution.
Now, once you do start building things you will soon realize that:
- construction and colony ships can only be build on planets, not shipyards.
- the planet building capacities cannot be improved except with a single wonder.
- this was deliberate solution to forcibly slow down player progress.

So you build a couple of recon vessels. Little do you know that you cannot group them in a fleet (nope!). They have to go alone. They will be attacked by every single pirate/space monster they meet.
So perhaps you want to arm your recon vessels so they could defend themselves? Sure, but if you do, every time such a vessel enters a system controlled by other race, your diplomatic relations will deteriorate due to "military ships violating territory". Unbelivable.
The same goes for civilian ships that you cannot control. Arm your passenger transport agains pirates only to see it blown to pieces by a race more powerfull than yours as a "lesson" with few million passengers on board! Oh and by the way if the race has greater military rating than you they will blow up every single of your civilian ship armed with a weapon they see as a "military ship violating territory" even if you transport ultra rare spice to their homeworld! FFS whos idea was that??

2.eXpand
Possibly the worst aspect of the game is how you expand your territory and build up your empire.
To begin with, you have no control of your civilian fleet transporting goods from one place to the other. You can and should manually design them, as vanila designs are just too slow/too weak/have too little cargo.
But wait, worse things are to come. In order to balance against multiplayer gameplay, the game features very expensive colonisation research (more about "research" later) and you can only build your colony ships planet side, which takes like forever. No, you cannot build industrial buildings on the planet to construct things faster, there is only one, singular wonder that allows you to do that.
There is more. Some genius decided to add a certain parameter, "quality" to the planet. This defines how big population can get on a planet and below certain population levels planet brings no income, only expenses.
Doesn't sound bad yet? Let me explain: you cannot terraform planet into higher quality. Terraform facility only serves to repair battle damage to the maximum quality planet had, does not increase it over time. But why would you want low quality planet in the first place?
Imagine there is legendary building (one of a kind) or an ultra rare resource (the only source in the galaxy) on a planet with quality 2%.
This planet population won't go above 20M and will always generate -3,6k loss.
And what if this is the only habitable planet in a 2 sector radius and in a mineral rich system of 15 planets and 30 moons in total?

More bad things. Due to some weird bugs construction ships will forget the quequed tasks (I think that happens when they are attacked, pretty sure it does when they are destroyed). Fancy ordering of building mining stations few times in the above sectors of 15 planets and 30 moons?

Continued in comment section.
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8 of 12 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 8
One sentence review: "Distant Worlds Universe, though very complicated, is the epitome of the idea that good game design trumps graphics."

The only game that rivals Distant Worlds Universe for immersion and number of options available to your empire management is Aurora 4X. Otherwise, if you prefer to have at least some graphics to assist your gaming experience or imagination, this is the last word in space empire simulation.

Great base game, great mods, great community support... The only problem is, just like learning how systems (e.g. economics) works in real life, learning the various aspects of this game can be intensive. There are numerous tutorials on Youtube availabe (one by myself even ), and you absolutely must use these in order to understand what the heck you're doing.

But I guarantee that if you invest the time to learn this game (assuming you like space 4X games), it will become your favorite, and remain there with Aurora 4X until DW2 is released.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
64.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 3
There is alot of reviews outthere about the game mechanics UI etc so i wont talk about them.. it works okay but could do some little work.. Anyways game is just AWESOME to the point of 15 systems with 20-22 planets. after that point it quickly snowballs to uncontrollable mess unfortuntelly. I play everything manuel and enjoyed alot but as i said after 15 systems or so even if you automote some aspects of game it is not that fun as its used to be..

but even for first couple hours of joy the become somewhat powerful empire it is worth the price.. I bought it %50 or so if you find it for that price dont miss it.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
Recommended
30.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 21
This is the game that I wanted Stellaris to be.The interface is a bit ugly (but also quite nice in places; the battles are really fun to watch), but it gets the job done very well. Almost every aspect of the game is more complex than Stellaris, but for me, that's a good thing. You can ease your way into the game by handing almost everything over to the excellent AI, which can manage your Empire for you pretty well. Speaking of which, the enemy AI doesn't cheat, and it shows. It all feels very realistic. Pirates will extort money from you while they can, but ♥♥♥♥ off when you get stronger. (Then, you'll have them attack your enemies for you in covert missions.) I could go on and on. I haven't had this feeling of there being so much more depth than I can possibly cover in a long time.

So, overall, after about 20 hours, I think this is a must buy on sale (those are quite frequent) for everyone who loves complexity and 4x games. I wish I had tried this sooner.

Edit: I just noticed that the manual - over 100 pages! - is linked up on the store page. If you want to get an idea of how the game is played and how the UI feels, check pages 37++. Quite the old school, exhaustive manual, I like that!
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5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
18.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 27
Stellaris is the Arcade version of this game....

This game is by far the big mean brother compared to Stellaris.

Given it's steep learning curve, it is worth every effort to take the time and learn how to play it, it is far more detailed and much less boring to play than Stellaris and it's repetitiveness ...

I don't just recommend this game....

I HIGHLY recommend it!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
550.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 23
Great grand strategy game with lots of depth. Steep learning curve and difficult early on to figure out where to find the buttons for everything you want to do. But once you get past that... the amount of customization and decision making depth is really fantastic. If you're not put off by the graphics, there is an enormous amount of info available on the screen and in the menus.

Highly recommend to anyone that loves exploration, conquest, and intrigue on a galactic scale.
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 90 days
46 of 52 people (88%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
89.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 3
This game is marginally thumbs down for me. I don't hate it and I spent a lot of time studying it and learning how to play. That said, I really wanted to love this game, however, it just misses being a good game. Considering how many people say its the greatest 4x space game, I guess I'm the odd one out, but I really don't think it deserves those accolades.

The interface looks clunky, but once you understand how to use it, it's actually not too bad, although it is not quite to the standard of polished interfaces in some games. The text size is a huge problem, unless you have eagle eyes. Not being able to increase text size is a substantial ommission.

The map and races are all pretty good, although I found there actually wasn't a lot of meaningful differences between them.

The automation is quite good, but again, feels like there is a layer of auto control that is missing for me. I'm happy to automate, but I want to be able to give a little more specific direction from a strategic perspective to feel like I'm still controlling the game, rather than simply watchng it. For example, controlling which races I will allow as immigrants. I might be wrong, it felt like I either blocked it or risked having traitors in my midst.

I think a significant weakness is the difficulty in defending territory from attacks that often have no warning. If you have the tech for scanners that can see far into space, you can get some warning, but I feel that there is something missing in the design that requires this. I'm agnostic on space lanes by the way. I think what's missing is at least some indicator of a contact incoming, even if its unidentified. It really needs something to give you a heads up. Finding a planet is dead after the fact is annoying.

The greatest weakness this game has is a lack of feedback to the player that gets your attention. A game with this much automation and size needs to automate important warning and bring them to your attention BEFORE they hit, so you have time to think about remedial action. You might automate a lot, but without timely feedback, I felt a bit blind. The frustration related to this eventually caused me to dump the game. Something like the warning system on EU IV would be a huge improvement.

I did try the AI and Star Trek mods. They are both good.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
Recommended
24.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 24
This game is amazing.

Beware though, it's very hands off. You CAN micromanage everything if you're OCD but if you also prefer to sit back and only make the big decisions while your private corporations and local administrators keep the smaller stuff running then you can do that too, and that's exactly what I do.

Very very deep and complex.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
246.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 9
By far the most indepth and flexible 4x game available, you can really play however you want and mold the game to fit your playstyle, the galaxy as opposed to many other games in the genre is incredibly dynamic and feels alive thanks to it being real time everything flows naturaly with the time, immersion is greatly helped by the addition of the AI controlled civilian sector who transport goods and people all around the galaxy, for me personally only half the fun has been managing my own empire, its just as great to take it easy and watch the galaxy develop itself.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
166.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 8
Easily the most indepth Space 4x game on the market. After recently playing both MoO and Polaris Sector, I found myself picking this game up. This game, with mods for extra races granted, had all the depth and events I was looking for. It had more in depth ship design, more in depth economy, a huge science tree, unique feeling races, huge scale. Just did everything better. I go back to MoO or Endless Space and it feels much more tiny in comparison. Endless Space at least engages me with it's lore and well designed races.

Overall, if you're looking for a 4x itch to scratch, this game scratches it. Overall 10/10
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
Recommended
190.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 18
Workflow is high, but the game is brilliant. If you don't mind clicking a lot, this game is amazing. Graphics are lame, but the complexity is really good.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
Recommended
494.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 19
I don't need to give a long review to show this game is awesome. The fact that most reviewers have 100+ hours in the game should be a good enough sign this game is amazing.
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4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
Recommended
108.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 27
My specs:
Win 10 64b
Intel i5-4690K
Amd Radeon R9 200 series running Crimson 16.2
SSD


-Plenty of species to choose from.
-You can choose which parts to have automated (all parts of governing can be automated if you want).
-Customizable basics like how many and which types of opponents you want to play against.
-Small, medium and HUGE maps.
-Plenty of mods to choose from.
-Up to 4x speed, if you feel things are going a bit slow.

Cheers!
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
Recommended
67.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 18
I honestly think anyone who's a fan of space 4x and paradox style strategy could find something to love in this game. I got it recently and literally lost my entire weekend to being absorbed it in. That hasn't happened since I was a kid.

The systems are quite complex, it's got a bit of a learning cliff. Sure you can automate everything but if you don't understand what the settings do then everything falls apart a little. My biggest criticism would be how obtuse some things are. I'd highly recommend spending a couple of hours watching guide videos or reading about systems (Das Tactics on youtube has a great series, and the subbreddit is quite helpful).

If that sounds like the kind of effort you're willing to put in to stop being hopelessly confused then this is the game for you. It's scale is amazing, the stories that come out of it are brilliant. You can go from being a civilisation just stretching its wings in a large and hostile universe to deploying planet cracking weapons against intergallactic supervillians. You start as a galaxy spanning empire and police/nuture your favourite empires to greatness. There's really not a lot of "point" to the game, victory is achieved by simply being the most awesome at everything with a little bit of flavour for race. The joy is in the simulation depth and the emergent stories as you set about doing whatever it is you want to do. Hell you can turn victory conditions off and just mess around if you like.

Once you understand how to get things flowing smoothly to create the kind of game you want to play with the automation there's a little bit for every tactics/strategy gamer in this. Diplomacy your way to galactic peace, engineer hyper efficient ships, steal lie and plant chaos, raid, commit genocide, micro to your hearts content and win battles through abusing range mechanics, bored ships, screw with trade lanes, optimise logistics, kill a leader.. the list goes on.

And when you've exhausted all the different starts and play styles that might be fun, play as a pirate nation or install one of the amazing mods and do it all again!
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3 of 6 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
66.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 20
A great space opera adventure!


DWU = Distant World Universe

Music/Sound 67.5% the middle between good and very good

Sounds from the ships are nearly very good 75%, but music is only good I give it 60%, of course some tracks are excellent but there a few of them, and they do not perfectly visualize space opera for me. Music could be improved. People from Matrix Games should have listened to soundtracks from Hegemonia Legions of Iron and putted something similar instead. They should have also listened to the sound effects in Hegemonia.

Interface 90% the middle between very good and excellent

In every game it is necessary to learn the interface, DWU is not different in fact it takes more time than usual, but I do not consider this to be a problem, this game is bigger than the average RTS. All the information that the player needs is nicely and intuitively presented on the screen.
I would like to see some improvements on ship design interface. Parts that are necessary to build a specific ship should not only be described as it is now, but they should also be highlighted in the module window.
There is also a problem with fleets, when a ship is clearly slower than the rest of the fleet, the entire fleet would travel with that lower speed. Interface should point out which of the ships is slowing down the entire fleet. It is a big problem when you have up to 40 ships in a fleet.

Graphics 75% nearly very good

I think it is perfectly justified, that the game is presented in 2d. The scope of this game is better captured in 2d, 3d would not run even on high-end machines. What I would like to see is improved devastations on ships in form of particles this could be a great eye candy. I would like to see ships being smashed into pieces, which later are orbiting around a planet this could be achieved with particle physics. These pieces can later be removed when they collide with an asteroid or a planet. I will leave the problem of repairing such a destroyed ship to the developers. One thing is for sure even if the game is in 2d; there is still room to improve the graphics.

Gameplay 100% Excellent

When then player starts its own custom game in pre-warp era it is necessary to build a space station, then the player must build an exploration ship to search for resources on planets and asteroids. After that the player must build a construction ship to build mining stations on planets and asteroids. The economy is divided between a state sector and private sector, the player controls only the state sector. In order to maintain the state and its expenses, the player has to choose how high the taxes should be on each colony. This is basically the main game mechanics.

There are 21 races in the game. And they all have different goals in the game if you decide to turn on race specific victory conditions. But basically victory conditions can be divided into, trade, exploration, research war, intelligence and diplomacy. When the player has to choose a race from these 21 races, it must firstly choose between quantity and quality of the military ships. A race that can reproduce itself very fast can produce lots of money that can be spent on military ships, but such a race is usually stupid and therefore the military ships would not be very advanced.

In opposition to this, there are races that do not reproduce very fast and therefore does not produce lots of money, but they are very intelligent and therefore they can research new technologies faster. It is a well-known mechanics from other RTS games.
The game is huge and I thing that setting things to be operated by the AI was a must in this game, especially units.

AI 100%Excellent

I think the AI acts very rationally. The AI knows when there is a good time to declare war, pay the tribute or propose peace for the player. I was very impressed when I saw that the AI has sent its own military ship to keep an eye on my military ships when they were located in AI’s home system, even if I had good relationships with that opponent. I was also impressed by the rationality the AI had when I proposed many different deals.



Pros
+ Lots of technologies
+ A possibility to design your own ship
+ Convincing reactions from the AI
+ Space opera climate.
+ Lots of races.
+ Lots of options to customize the game

Cons
- Music/Sound

Conclusion: 86.5%

The greatest space opera game I ever played, but there is still room for small improvements.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
75.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 15
Its good and has huge modding community.
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3 of 6 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
52.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 3
I'm an easy to please guy and this game has good things and bad, but its has two things I love...Penal Colonies and Slavery. They get all sad panda when you enslave their people to build your war machine. That alone was worth it.
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 180 days
31 of 33 people (94%) found this review helpful
Recommended
142.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 25
A lot of the other reviews for this product, whether for or against, are quite spot-on, in both their assessment of the game's strengths, and its weaknesses. The game's scale is almost unimaginable (700 Star Systems in a Medium game? How many planets is that? Thousands?) the rich game play, the ugly graphics, the variety (what, 30 playable races plus custom options?), the obtuse economic model (I have well over a hundred hours in this game, and still haven't really figured it out).

I love it, but it is definitely NOT for everyone.

The one thing I want to touch on is something that other reviews fail to mention, or only mention briefly: micromanagement and automation. The flexibility you have for setting how many decisions you get to / have to make is just over the top. I have never seen another game with anywhere near the fine control over such things.

You absolutely CAN turn off most (or all, if you are crazy) of the automated decision making processes, and handle everything yourself. Good luck with that.

The opposite extreme is also true. You can turn everything over to the AI, and turn it into a giant Galactic Civilization Simulator. This would be a lot more fun if the graphics were better.

I typically play somewhere in-between. I turn most of the tedious planet management stuff over to the AI, and keep tech, treaties, and colonization all to me. By mid to late game, I usually have most of my fleets automated, doing defensive missions like swatting pirates and the like, with one or two Aggressor fleets under my direct command.

Someone (I forget exactly who) suggested taking that to a new level. Pick a nice, aggressive race. Build up your early empire, and then turn everything over to the AI. Production, Tech, Diplomacy, the whole nine yards. Take a fleet, and become the Admiral. Chase pirates. When your Empire goes to war, punish her enemies. The ability to speed up game speed during those times when nothing interesting is happening really makes this a viable game play option.

I guess, in my final conclusion, what I like the most about this game is its re-playability. Not just in starting a new game with different settings, but in actually HOW you play the game. Not many games offer you that choice.
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