I bought the game impulsively because of the pitching.
Allow me to explain my experience with the game like a story, so that I can make clear why I don't recommend it (warning: this is bound to contain minor spoilers):
First thing I face is the intro music of the game; very good music, it gave a good first impression. I always try to start custom maps in games, so I tried to do that in my first try, and I got a popup suggesting I try QuickPlay instead. I took the advice. Then came the picture of the hydra and the story of what happened to you, what are you doing and why are you doing it. I have a weakness for mythological monsters so the idea of playing a space hydra was just too cool to miss.
Unfortunately, the game's use the word "race" and the typical "-ian" ending for their names (Acurian, Peltarian, etc)) gave me the impression the game's lore would be very cheesy (just like in games like Galactic Civilizations and Master of Orion, which were enjoyable but definitely cheesy story-wise). All according to my prediction, the game presented good-old mostly anthropomorphic aliens (even the completely robotic race had an unnecesarily human body), with a very juvenile view of politics, "economy" and intrigue; the lore was more or less a repetition of old soft sci-fi tropes, nothing special.
What could have been Mount and Blade in space, turned out to be mostly a game of Spreadsheet Commander; even though the game does have unique mechanics for each "race", for influence and credit gain, it is still just 2 abstract and lifeless concepts that you are trading back and forth: credit, and influence. And even beneath this apparent layer of complexity the game _feels_ just like the same in every planet. The purported "Grand Strategy" element of the game didn't get to play out. But man was the music catchy.
I didn't get to enjoy trade or cooperation or diplomacy, it really, really felt like Spreadsheet Commander for the short time I got myself to endure it.
And then comes the combat... I will skip it, I don't even want to explain it, but it's really mediocre. It's fun the first few times but, I just can't get myself to see anything interesting about playing turn-based combat with a single ship; and maybe in the future you get to do more interesting things with other ships, but I will quote the very game's Logbook here "in battle, you just have You and whatever allies you managed to get, against your enemies", and when I fought enemies with allies by my side, I still could only pilot my own ship. So I'm going to assume the game will always only let you pilot or give orders to your own ship; this is hardly a "Grand Strategy" combat style. I consider the combat system so mediocre, that the game would've been better without it; it could be replaced with an abstracted combat method, in the Spreadsheet Commander spirit that the rest of the game took.
Do I think the game has no merit at all?, No, I think it has some, but I'm very picky with games, and this game just couldn't get me hooked. But the music is really good, and so is the art. So... I will just pretend I paid for a music album and a nice hydra picture and leave it at that.
Also, so you can get an idea of what games I enjoy (and you can tell whether to trust my taste or not):
Mount and Blade: > 500 hours
Crusader Kings II: > 100 (this game is quite the map-painting simulator, but it had <something> that made it feel a little more than that, and so it did get me hooked).
Civilization V: > 400 hours
Starbound: > 100 hours
Dota 2: > 100 hours
That's an example of some of the games in my library.