From the outset, I like this game. It does what it sets out to do very well. That said, I won't be playing it because it's not my style of game. It's not a space 4x game but a casual simplistic strategy came set in a space theme.
What the game appears to be from the advertising is a simplified, casual, 4x turn-based space strategy game. It isn't. I could really enjoy a game like and keep playing it for a lengthy period of time. It needs to have just a few more mechanics and a few more complexities to be a 4x. For example, there is no eXplore in this 3x game. That goes along with no research, no empire management, no ship customization, no planetary development. Well, heck, it's not a 4x game at all! That's my one warning, you will be very upset if you buy this expecting that (yes, I know it says it on the store page advert, honestly I don't know why they would advertise it as such). Let me explain what it actually is.
It's a space themed table top strategy game. It's Risk with space ships on a check board. No more complex than that. It's not a 4x, not Endless Space, nor MOO, nor SOTS, nor Stardrive, etc. It's a bad decision to advertise it as this genre. You have a checker grid of planets with each having a set number of Resource points. Capturing the planet means you gain those resource points each turn. Each planet can construct ships and the cost is subtracted from your resource bank. You have cards with some strategic value, i.e. your ship will suicide next battle and kill itself and all enemy ships, which can also be traded for resources. There are essentially two races, the Empire and, essentially, rebels/Pirates. They have different play styles whereas the Empire has stronger ships, combat strength and health, they take longer to build and more resources. The Pirates have weaker ships and take less turns to build. So the pirate early game is sprawl as fast as you can before the Empire starts coming. The ships are each different resource costs, turns to build and stats. The battles are simply graphical representations of the stat calculation. It's like Civilization 5 where you have one unit attacking another, animations ensue, and the victor remains. That's the game. That's all there is.
It's a deeper checkers in Space. Perhaps that's unfair. It's a very complicated Checkers game in space. Think of the genre as on a range of complexity from a tabletop stragegy game to your traditional, archetypal, 4x PC game like MOO. Within the table tops you can go from as simple as checkers to as complicated as Risk. Your 4x games, I would say Endless Space would be the simplistic title, MOO/Sword of the Stars in the middle and the spreadsheet game of MOO3 as the most complex. This game falls squarely in the complex table top game category and doesn't even touch the simplistic 4x scale. That's what you're buying. Don't expect a simpler Endless Space or even a casual 4x title because you'll be disappointed.
What it does though, it does right. The UI is crisp and looks good, the ships look good as does the space background. Next to no game breaking bugs so far after 2 hours of gameplay and multiple play throughs. Your games will last from about 10 minutes - 45 minutes. It's very much a pick up and go strategy title. For me though, it's still space checkers -- where you can own tiles you were on and build more checkers on them and each time you jump another player there's a battle based on numbers. I'd recommend this for casual players and table top players, not necessarily 4x players. There is a little polish lacking, it's day one after all, with some stuttering in the panning and some funky zoom decisions (click on planets to move around map, forget panning or zooming). Also, damage on ships is hard to see or even even keep track of since it's not represented graphically or shown on the galaxy screen nor battle screen. The other reviews criticised the game for having a scout take out a cruiser, fair enough, they can when your cruiser has 1 shield point left but you'd never know it during the battle. That sort of detail isn't quite polished in yet. I think $15 is a fair price point, $20 is pushing it in its current state, but maybe when it gets more polished and maybe with a little more content.