For the lack of a better phrase, I would call this the "poor man's Sins of a Solar Empire", that has more of a focus on planet building than combat. LoA is far from a bad game, but does suffer from a basic UI and occasional glitchy play. The depth in strategy is not huge but offers enough to give you some ongoing challenges to master. Graphically it is fairly low def, but the planets and rotating your view around them looks decent. Other parts like the combat graphics do look worse though as with the UI in general.
Rather than being more a 'sandbox' RTS like Sins, LoA has a structured campaign to vary your goals (each mission will have a dozen or so goals to complete), progressing the storyline as you work to push further out into the galaxy. This is one of the stronger points to the game as it keeps you engaged while progressing the story, slowing giving you more powers as you advance. I would estimate there is about 10-15hrs of campaign to play, plus hard mode if you want more!
Not being able to pause time with the space bar (or remap the keys!) was frustrating as you can slow down and speed up time, and use this frequently. It is also very easy to miss new notifications as you need to manually clear your old notifications to see the new ones. For new players this can leave you very confused at what you should be doing till you get into the flow of clearing manually and reading everything! I have also had goals not trigger when completed, resulting in having to retry the level, but this may be isolated cases that won't impact you necessarily.
Despite the short comings, I still find myself loosing track of time playing this as I do find it a rather enjoyable little space strategy game (... once you get used to it!). :)