Stars in Shadow is a turn-based 4X strategy game and a vivid tribute to the genre classics. Compete with alien factions to explore and colonize nearby starsystems, build fleets to defend against rivals, negotiate or conquer them. Win by unifying the galaxy, through diplomacy or force.
User reviews:
Very Positive (16 reviews) - 81% of the 16 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Mostly Positive (171 reviews) - 78% of the 171 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jan 19, 2017

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Recent updates View all (23)

March 17

Development Update: 17 March 2017

We come in peace. Mostly.

Today's update includes a few bug fixes, and some preparatory work for our next big feature, which is the technology tree view. As always, work continues to improve the game, so your feedback and suggestions are important to us. Keep them coming!

Patch Notes for 17 March 2017 (ver. 20026)

Changes and Additions
  • The \Mods\ subdirectory can now be used to install and manage user-created mods. For instructions, please read the MakingMods.txt file in the \Mods\ directory.
  • Unlocking 'Dreadnoughts' no longer requires 'Duranium Construction'.
  • Removed the redundant 'Small Craft' prerequisite for 'Light Carrier'.
  • Removed the redundant 'Graviton Physics' prerequisite for 'Star Gates'.
  • Removed the redundant 'Fusion' prerequisite for 'Plasma Focusing'.
  • Bombardment notifications now contain more information.
  • Added on-hover tooltips for terraforming projects.
  • Fighters and bombers should now automatically upgrade to use the latest available munitions/weapons, without requiring that the mothership be refitted.
  • Strike fighters should now correctly switch between attacking with energy weapons or missiles, depending on their target.
  • Fix for a rare bug that could cause a crash when closing the ship designer pane.
  • Applying an autodesign template to a planet defense design should no longer cause an exception.
  • Fix for a rare bug that could cause fleets to disappear after issuing a movement command.
  • Rejecting the results of a galactic council vote should no longer cause an error.
  • Fix for a gunport animation glitch affecting several heavier Orthin hulls.
  • The 'Ancient Guardians' faction should no longer appear in the faction list.
  • Fix for a bug that could prevent raider units from embarking from low-population planets.
  • Disabling 'advisor suggestions' should now suppress special resource notifications.
  • You should now receive at most 1 special resource notification per resource per game.
(Click here to view the complete development changelogs, and here to view the development roadmap post.)

In the Works: Tree View for Research Screen

Probably the most requested feature (and the most bemoaned missing feature) is a tree view for the Research Screen, and it has been at the top of our list as well. Because our tech tree has a complex set of prerequisite inheritances, and because the tree is different for each faction, figuring out a consistent way to display it took some work. But we think we've got it figured out.

This view will be in addition to the current list view; the player will be able to toggle between the two views at will. The tree view will contain most of the functionality of the list view, including the same technology information pane in a pop-up form. It will also allow the player to queue research items in any order.

Here is a mockup of the new screen's graphical elements:

Here is a test layout of the logical tree structure (Yoral version):

The tree is dynamic in the sense that each faction can have a different tree layout, and nodes can be added to a tree during a game, which will allow the potential for a faction to unlock technologies through gameplay that would not normally be available for research to that faction.

That's all for now. Until next time.

13 comments Read more

March 3

Development Update: 03 March 2017

This is commercial towing vehicle Nostromo out of the Solomons, registration number one-eight-zero-niner-two-four-six-zero-niner, calling Antarctica traffic control. Do you read me? Over.

Today's update includes a number of bug fixes, along with a few UI refinements. Work continues to improve the game, so your feedback and suggestions are important to us. Keep them coming!

Patch Notes for 03 March 2017 (ver. 19894)

Changes and Additions
  • The Planetary Report now has a drop-down selection that allows the list to be sorted by population, production activity, name, labor, coin, science, food, or metal output.
  • If an enemy empire bombs and then invades one of your planets, you will now receive a notification for the bombardment in addition to the notification of invasion. (Previously there was only the invasion notification.)
  • Updated item display for the colony base, terraforming, and artificial planet projects.
  • The 'Repeat Build' special action can now be added to the queue using either a right or left click.
  • Right-clicking on a ship in the CHOOSE SHIP FOR REFIT subpane now has the same effect as left-clicking the 'Queue Refit' on hover button.
  • Fix for a rare bug that could cause planets to stop taking bombardment damage.
  • The on-hover text for artificial planets should no longer incorrectly assume that planet slots occupied by gas giants are unavailable.
  • Attempting to launch assault shuttles from a ship with 0 crew should no longer cause a crash.
  • It should no longer be possible for planet projects to have negative buy costs.
  • Weapon modifications should no longer persist after selecting one of the autodesign options under the 'Hardpoints' menu.
  • The Project/Ships/All tabs are now disabled in the "CHOOSE SHIP FOR REFIT:" subpane.
  • Fix for possible data corruption in the Orthin mercenary art.
  • The 'EXIT' button in the mercenary exchange bottom bar will now work as intended.
  • Fixes for formatting problems that could occur in the tech advance report for several physics technologies.
  • Outpost planets should no longer incorrectly display 'Chance to Revolt' warnings. (Outposts can't revolt.)
  • Fix for a crash that could be caused by rolling back time to a moment when the currently displayed ship or station did not exist.
(Click here to view the complete development changelogs, and here to view the development roadmap post.)

This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.

10 comments Read more


“Stars in Shadow is a classic...”

“Proper turn-based combat paired with clever innovations.”
85 – Hooked Gamers

“An indie game truly for the 4Xer to revel in.”
90 – Gamewatcher

About This Game

Stars in Shadow is a turn-based 4X science fiction strategy game. Explore the stars, settle distant worlds, and build an interstellar empire. Recover ancient technologies and negotiate with alien leaders. Created by a pair of passionate strategy gamers, Stars in Shadow features streamlined empire management, sophisticated turn-based tactical combat, and detailed world building.


  • Epic Scope:
    Starting at the dawn of interstellar travel, progress through four eras of technological advancement. Discover the science of planetary terraforming, upgrade your infantry battalions to battle mechs, and grow your fleet from a squadron of destroyers to an armada of planet-destroying Dread Stars.

  • Varied Factions:
    7 Playable factions comprising six alien races. Each faction has different research strengths and technology options. Forming alliances, conquering neighboring species, or discovering ancient artifacts may open up additional avenues of research. Choose your race wisely as it impacts which worlds will suit you, what trades or alliances may be offered, and whether or not your neighbors are inclined to trust you.

  • Stylized Setting:
    A distinctive comic-book art style and an original, detailed universe backstory draw you into an immersive game world. Interact with a unique cast of alien characters, make friends and influence people, or crush your enemies and see them driven before you.

  • Focused High-Level Strategy:
    Build a vast and varied empire, taking advantage of the unique traits offered by different alien populations and the worlds they inhabit. Experiments on a slave population might diminish your popularity in the Galactic Council. A streamlined resource and planetary improvement model keeps the game moving even when your empire grows large.

  • Deep Turn-Based Tactical Combat:
    Face off against your opponents in complex 2D turn-based tactical battles. Counter your enemy’s missile barrage using point defense or interceptors, then close to energy weapon range! Stars in Shadow’s tactical engine includes several features rarely seen in turn based games. Multi-ship commands keep even large fleet battles fast-paced, and smart unit behaviors allow tight control with minimal micromanagement. Auto-resolve battles that are a foregone conclusion, while retaining the ability to replay any engagement to see exactly what happened.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10
    • Processor: Intel Core 2.6 GHz or equivalent
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 4000 Series or better
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Stars in Shadow requires the OpenGL framebuffer extension. This extension is present on almost all graphics drivers released after 2010, but laptops made before 2010 with vendor-locked graphics drivers may not be able to run the game.
    • OS: Windows 7,8,10
    • Processor: Intel Core Duo 3.0 GHz or equivalent
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA Geforce 400 Series or better, 1 GB RAM
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
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Very Positive (16 reviews)
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