The blizzard swarmed the offices of Ironclad Games Corp. Snow was common enough in Vancouver, but no one in British Columbia had quite seen a storm like this. Sheepish developers were busy prototyping a fresh reboot of "Sins of a Solar Empire", while loved ones called in, urging workers to stay off the road and bunker down at the office. There were no races with defined playstyles, histories, or specific mechanics. No one had spent much time iterating anything but the most serviceable art assets, statistics, and tools for generating vast universes of orbiting planets and stars. The heroes and villains were essentially a blank page. The scope and ambition of mechanics bristled in the minds of developers, like the hail bearing down. It was this moment that "Star Ruler" would briefly blink into existence.
Let's talk about Star Ruler. This is a game made by fans of realtime space 4x games, which looked at cheesy sci-fi, and said "why not?" You start off creating Snailigons, the mad race of starfarers you dreamed up, and then a random galaxy of stars to rule. You decided that while whatever lessor races were getting up to, Snailigons were perfecting production, Communism, and Hard metallurgy- from a mish mash of racial and political perks. Snailigons soon outbreed the comfy confines of Orbos III, to colonize the neighboring Orbos II, and strip-mine everything else in the Orbos System.
Snailtopia would cover the stars in Orbos fashion, or that was the plan anyway. You "found intelligent life", or rather invaded a colony of spacefaring meatbags. Humans declared war, and sent a cute fleet of flak firing fighters. Your hardshell cruisers tore the never-ending stream of fighters apart with lasers, for about 2 years. Then they adapted with pesky "shields" and "rockets". Snailtopia would need to respond- it had to adapt. Thankfully, every ship can be micro-designed via technologies uncovered in your sprawling random tech tree; from scale, to crew size, weaponry, propulsion, tools, and defenses.
Clearly, Snailigons would create one unstoppable, planet sized destroyer, scorching the offending human systems into obliv... into your care. It works right up till the discovery of a second race, which promptly rips through the SA-43 Molluscan, like butter- salty butter. Now you, Star Ruler, are managing trade, adaptive war, politics, and survival across multiple systems, and it starts to feel a little heavy. You know there are more stars to manage, and who knows what opposing intelligences lie in wait there. You probably should have made a smaller galaxy to play in, and with 3 species instead of 30 to inhabit it. You know, Snailtopia's leader had a good run, but it's time to retire.
Star Ruler doesn't have the polish or intentional direction of an AAA 4x game, but it has the resources for the player to play the 4x game they want. I would recommend Star Ruler, but only with the addendum that it's an incredibly humbling endeavor, and to be sure to brush up on the tutorials.
I eagerly await what Blind Mind Studios does with the upcoming Star Ruler 2.