I’m five hours (per Steam) and three abortive practice games into StarDrive, a new PC space strategy title from one-man studio Zer0 Sum Games. So far, I can perhaps best describe this by reference to two games: one that’s obvious, space 4X stalwart Distant Worlds, and one you perhaps may not expect, fantasy TBS Warlock: Master of the Arcane.
Just as Warlock looks very much like Civilization V, StarDrive’s vast galaxy and pausable real-time gameplay appear to resemble Distant Worlds; but for both these games, appearances are deceptive. I get the impression that StarDrive’s design goals are very different to Distant Worlds’ – where DW aspired to be a living universe simulator, complete with a bustling ecosystem of NPC civilian spaceships, AI advisors, and derelict armadas, StarDrive strikes me as a far more warfare-centric game. Let’s break down what I’ve seen of StarDrive, X by X.