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 (531 reviews)
Release Date: May 23, 2014

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

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June 18

Flash Sale! Distant Worlds: Universe 50% discounted!

Hi all!

Special Deal this day! Distant Worlds: Universe gets a 50% discount!

But you need to hurry up! You have only 24h to grab it!

13 comments Read more

May 28

Your chance to grab the best 4x space game at 50% off

A year ago Distant Worlds: Universe released on our store and on Steam. Since then, press and players, old and new of the series, have been playing and praising this game as the best 4X space game ever made.

PCGamesN wrote it is "and exceedingly complex, infinitely rewarding space strategy game", while
GameWatcher wrote "Distant Worlds: Universe is the finest 4X space game in a generation".
RockPaperShotgun called it "one of the most unique, enormous and engrossing strategy games ever made".

We really wanted to celebrate this anniversary with you so, starting today at 7 PM CEST/ 5 PM UTC/ 1 PM EDT and for the next 48 hours, the game will be on sale for only $ 29,99!

The sale will end on Saturday 30th at 7 PM CEST/ 5 PM UTC/ 1 PM EDT!

Now, this is your chance to get Distant Worlds: Universe for half the price, but hurry up!


25 comments Read more


“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:


  • 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

    • 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
    • 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
352 of 377 people (93%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
401.3 hrs on record
Posted: March 9
I write this review shortly after it becoming my most-played game on Steam.

It's difficult to summarize what is- without question- the best space 4X that exists.

With all my hours, I've never even really played past the midgame. There's so much replayability just in restarting galaxies with different settings. I constantly got somewhere in the midgame and realized there was a setting I wanted to change.

You'd be surprised how much some of those galaxy generation settings make a difference. Things like pirate amount, pirate strength, colonization range, galaxy size, colony influence range, and even the generic difficulty setting.

I constantly toyed with all of them. Trying less but stronger pirates. More but weaker pirates. I finally found the balance I like.

Colonization range matters. Too large and empires jump over each other's borders. Too small and you run out of in-range planets you can colonize.

Galaxy size, in relation to star amount. You can do 15x15 with 1400 stars, or 10x10 with 1400 stars. The difference of course is the density of the entire galaxy.

Influence range. Colonies project "influence" and these influence circles are considered your territory. This is a setting typically not thought of- just set to the recommended setting- but this matters too. For example I'm experimenting with having it set to the minimum setting- 10%- and this is all kinds of interesting. The influence circles basically don't extend beyond their respective solar systems, leaving the vastness of space permanently unclaimed. Multiple empires can have mines within a single solar system, and not ♥♥♥♥♥ at each other for having mines in the other's territory.

The difficulty setting. I played on Normal for the longest time. But I began to notice that towards the midgame, I would have like 16 colonies and every other empire would have like 3 or 4. I was vastly ahead. Bumping the difficulty up to Hard allows the AI to keep up with me, and it's common for a few to stay ahead of me as well. An extremely welcome change, to not just breeze through the entire game.

Ship design is amazing. I love unlocking new components and building ships from scratch. Testing them out in battle. When they wreck face, I feel like it's because I designed them well.

Lots of people describe the game as a space opera and it really is. The stories it creates, the politics that unfold, are amazing.

This game swept me away. I've played it for countless hours on end. There is a feeling of vastness to it that no other 4X has given me, whether in playing them myself or watching others. The fact that the game is real time rather than turn-based is a big part of this.

Look up pictures of the galaxy map for this game, largest size. You actually feel like you're a pathetic little nothing, in just one of the 1400!!! solar systems in the galaxy. Many empires, you'll never actually meet, just because they're so far away.

The reason this is the best is because of immersion, because of its mechanics that effortlessly cause such immersion. Fine control over resources, ship design, and surprisingly good diplomacy.

You can design your mining stations to be weak and have fleets to protect them, at the cost of state funds. Or you can decide to make them extra freaking beefy so that they can hold pirates off on their own, at the cost of the private sector, which usually has a ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ of cash laying around anyway.

Need I go on?

I really hope you guys found this helpful. Comments are greatly welcomed!
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46 of 55 people (84%) found this review helpful
425.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 9
I'm going to start this off with the obligatory, this game isn't for everyone. But for me, this game is the ultimate 4x space sim.

Many people complain about the price of the game, that it's just too high. I sympathize, I would be very upset if that prevented my from owning/playing the game. The reality is, this game has tons of content and accomodates tons of play styles. I've put in nearly 500 hours and still feel like there's a bunch of things that I still have to experience.

My main draw to the game is its scope. The size of the universe (at the largest setting) is simply astonishing. This is the only space sim (next to elite dangerous) that really captures the immense size of the universe. This has essentially ruined Galactic Civilizations for me. I played GalCiv2 to death but have found GalCivIII very hard to get into now that I've been spoiled by DWU.

DWU is a simulation first, game second. Much like Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universalis IV, you can just let the computer AI manage your empire's decisions. DWU has an incredible amount of options regarding what aspects of the empire you want to control so it's up to you to decide. I find that starting as a prewarp empire is essential when getting into the game initially. It reduces the early game scope to what most players are familiar with: exploration, finding critical resources and developing some crucial early technologies that allow you to expand and defend your empire.

The visual presentation is very utilitarian. The menus are probably the weakest visual element, but some other aspects of the game are gorgeous. I think the late game galaxy view is a sight to behold. So many moving parts bring an incredible amout of life to the game, something you don't get in GalCivIII or any of game I've played for that matter.

The ship graphics can be modded, but it's a relatively basic 2d representation. Managing large battles can be challenging when ships overlap, but I have not had to many problems in that regard. I still prefer the 2d presentation which allows for the massive scale over the more limited 3d turn based views of GalCivIII.

The game also allows you to play as a pirate faction which can be a very fun experience, it's more intimate. You also have the ability to custom build/upgrade your own ships. You can have the AI do this, but that takes a huge strategical element out of the game. I'm finding that I like to micro manage this process more and more.

This game is one of those rare games that will age (and has aged) very well. The game mechanics are solid and the simulation is just stellar. By focusing on those core elements and not so much on the visual side, we have a product that is in a category of it's own. I understand that some people won't get over the price premium and put way more emphasis on the visual side of things, but I think they are missing the point of what this game ultimately achieves. For them I recommend GalCivIII (which I enjoy playing), but I will be turning to DWU to scratch my Space 4X itches most of the time. Highly recommended.
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29 of 36 people (81%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
92.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 25
Ok, so this is my first review i have ever written and I've played alot of games especially in the 4x genre, but this game compelled me to do so...

First off when I fired up the game all excited it seemed overwhelming at first with all the menus in the interface. I soon realized that most everything was automated and it played more of a choose your own adventure approach which kind of turned me off... Then I digged deeper and found that you could turn off all these automated options and control every aspect of your empire...

All I can say is WOW!! This game has trivialized every 4x game I have ever played. I am currently in the GCIII early access and that is a great game, but compared to this it is boring. Ill probably only play GCIII when I'm too inebriated to play distant worlds. I see some crying about the price saying this isn't a AAA game, well thank god for that, because unlike AAA game titles this is actually a good game with unlimited hours of replayability and mods galore, and if that's not worth sixty bucks well I don't know what to tell you.

Bottom line: flat out best 4x game i have ever played. If you are a fan of this genre and don't own this game it is the biggest mistake you have made in your life as a strategy gamer.

4x Games currently owned: (some not on steam older gamer with hard copies.)
CIV 1-5
GCiv 1-3
Endless Space
Endless Legends
Fallen Enchatress
Civ Beyond Earth
Dominions 4
Age of wonders III
Worlds of Magic
Hearts of Iron I-II
Crusader KIngs II
Eropa Uneversialis IV
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19 of 26 people (73%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
115.7 hrs on record
Posted: April 29
A short simple review on why the game is worth the money:

My reasons for recommending this game:

Some reviews state the steep learning curve and the ♥♥♥♥♥♥ UI. Nonsense, this game can be fully automatized and you can watch it run itself ! This in itself presents you the opportunity to learn this game. Each game you play (I would, as a starter advise a smaller galaxy) you can put different parts of your empire on automation and learn other parts until you grasp the entire game. On top of that the automation is actually good and competent enough to do diplomacy and war.

The only minor annoying thing is the management of invasion and troop transports. Sometimes the AI takes a really long time to put together a proper fleet to attack a planet and take it over with an invasion. From experience I can say this should be improved as the AI tends to put single troop transports in every fleet or strike force. The AI should first and foremost create a proper invasion fleet and then it can assign troop transports wherever.

Civilian Economy
Excellent design due to you, as a player, not being able to influence it directly. The civilian economy is semi-independent and takes care of all trade and resource transport across your empire. If you mismanage your civilian economy by bad military escort or having to few resources of one type, you are in trouble since you cannot influence it directly. The civilian economy needs time to build up from disasters and from the start of the game. Your job as a player is to provide them with enough planets, asteroids and last but not least security so that they can do their job of transporting resources. You might think this semi-independent economy is irritating, but its not it add a layer of strategic depth that is most satisfying to play with.

Race policy
You can be a genocidal maniac or the benevolent empire that is there to save all. The only slightly irritating thing is the fact that you can only select FAMILY of the race, not specific races. correction: You can only set policies for your own family and all other races, which I find arbitrary and a bad design option. What does this mean you say ? There are a lot and I mean a lot of races (not counting mods) and these races are divided by family. You have insectoids, humanoids, reptiles, etc.

These are my main reasons for that this game is far better than any other 4x space game out there.
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41 of 68 people (60%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
38.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 17
This game came out in March 2010 for 30 bucks, but I couldn't register it on Matrix website, since I bought it on Gamer's Gate. I bought the 1st expansion from Matrix (only place available), got it to work once, got a new pc, they came out with a patch and 2 never worked together again (customer support was useless). Five years later this comes to Steam with all 3 expansions. This game is 5 years old and not worth the 60 dollar price tag, and it's only 32 bit. If you're lucky, you might actually complete a game before it gets really bogged down from all the ships in play.

From what I've seen of Matrix, they would rather discontinue a game before dropping the price tag to something reasonable. All their games are over-price. So if you're waiting for a 50% off sale, it'll never happen, the most you might get is 10% off at the end of the year.

This game is buggy.

Just in my limited time of play, I've found so many bugs. I'll list a few that just irritated me.

When setting up your empires policies. I like mine setup so that whenever a new planet is colonized, it immediately starts building a defensive base. However that's not always available from game to game. I've started 7 seven games so far (all with the exact same settings and race). Of those seven, only in 3 I had the option to build defensive bases when a planet is colonized. I think it was games, 1, 4, and 5. How does that make any sense?

Games 2, 3, 4, had to be abandoned due to some weird glitch that caused my population growth to jump to 109%, maxing it out in seconds, then my cash and income showed infinity, my 1 and only planet would build every ship, regardless of how they were queued, except colony ships.

Game 5, my automated explorers would explore a system, but when you clicked on a specific location, it wouldn't tell you how much of a % of that resource there was. So then you had to do it manually. Game abandoned.

Game 6 had to be abandon because all the civilian ships (the ones you can't control) just sat at a starbase and wouldn't move. Since no resources were being delivered, nothing could be built. After messing around with it for 1/2 hour I gave up.

Often times you give your ships orders and they just ignore them. For instance, I wanted a fleet to attack a pirate base that was close, gave the order and it just sat there ignoring the order. Or I order a constructor ship to refit/refuel, but they just ignore the order. Some of my constructor ships were like 10 levels behind on tech, but just refused to upgrade. I remember this problem from when I played this game 5 years ago.

Sometimes there's the option to refuel a ship, other times there isn't.

Sometimes you can build a certain base on a remote or colonized planet (with a constructor), other times you can't. Or it'll accept the order, but won't actually build it.

And the list goes on and on.

And there are some in game mechanics that I just can't stand or don't make sense to me.

For instance, the bigger your empire, the more you have invested in research, the less you research. I read the reason for that was so the smaller empires had a chance of catching up in tech. Yes, lets just pointlessly build money sucking bases that do nothing.

You get leaders (heroes or whatever you want to call them), and then the leaders get dismissed randomly due to incompetence. My empire leader in game 1 was dismissed, never got another. WTF! (actually completed game 1). Game 2 had 2 empire leaders from the start, only one of them had stats. Supposedly some of the buildings you build will attracted new leaders. I had a Science academy (they're supposed to increase the chance of getting a researcher) on 40 planets (game 1), but I had no research leaders thought out the game (the only 1 I had was dismissed early on). One of my fleet leaders was killed in battle, even though I lost no ships and none of them took any damage (except shields halfway). I noticed that for every leader that's dismissed, it also says there were killed.

Looking at the research tree, for some of the items you have no clue why you would want to research them. Like energy collection, I have no idea what it does for you or why I even need it.

For bases you can click on "mercenary defense mission". There's no explanation in the help for it. Clicking on it costs some money. But when the base gets attacked, it makes no difference. I've tried this before, during and after a raid from pirates. I have yet to figure out what it actually does.

One of the expansions added different types of troops, frankly they could have just left that out and just stuck with one type of troop for all the difference it makes.

I read that people who like this game just love the pre-warp option, frankly, that just makes the game even more boring then it already is, waiting for tech to get researched so you can actually get somewhere.

The messages you get flash on by and there's no way to adjust message speed. You can look in to the message history, but it's useless since clicking on messages in there doesn't take you to the location and by the time you look in there, it's too late anyway.

I do like some of the options they've added for the game, like setting a limit on how many sectors out you can colonize out.

Also if you fully automate everything, then the game will play it self and you can go watch tv. Why did I buy this game again?

Depending on your automation settings, either the game is fast to micromanagement from hell. With ship designs, it's either the game makes the designs, or you do, but not both. Just what I want to do, spend hours designing ships only to find out that I have to abandon the game due to some weird bug that was never fixed.

Due to all the bugs that haven't been fixed, and unless they fixed a lot of the issues, the only thing it deserves so far is a negative.

Currently on game 7, wonder if I'll actually be able to finish it.......
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