This is a game I want to like. It has all the classic features of a space-based “settlers” game: tech-trees, exploration, expansion, alien races, resource management, etc, etc.
So why am I still wanting to like it?
I first tried this game by downloading the Demo from Fileplanet. From the intro video it was clear this was a foreign language game that had asked someone “Parlais vous Anglais?” and hired them as long as they said “Oui”. Throughout the tutorial you have to spend several minutes staring at screens making incredibly confusing statements about the product that you have to try and retro-translate or break out the thesaurus. It’s like a blankety-blank of tutorials. “When ship ______ click _____ to generate ____, for ship generating, _______ the ________________ for ship, generating, generates”, because the words the translator chose probably only make sense if you know the language he was translating from and the word he was trying to translate. Then you can go, ahh, it says “attack” but it means “embrace”.
Mostly I don’t yet like this game because of the lack of feedback. The stupidly annoying absence of responses and information. It sometimes takes a long, long, long time to execute turns. I finally realized that it was nothing to do with me, but alien races having space battles. I wouldn’t mind but when you click “End Turn” the game freezes. No progress bar, no “please wait”, nothing.
While you are juggling your resources, sometimes stuff doesn’t happen. Put a request to build a ship at a construction site, it tells you “10t” – 10 turns. OK. I can wait. <End turn>. “10t”. Ok, I can wait. <End turn> “10t”. Ok, I’ll go do other stuff. <20 turns go by>. “10t”. What? Well, something is somehow stopping something happening that would somehow cause the number of turns to go down, but there is no feedback that this or that caused no progress. Just … Nothing.
There’s also a lot of stuff that seems to be tacked on at the end of the development cycle. For instance, you can request a ship be built at PlanetX and delivered to PlanetY. Actually, you can more than request it, you do it by default. You don’t know this, though, because there is nothing on screen that says “Deliver to”. If you look real close and careful, there is a field that says “turns until delivery”. But not where. And once the ship is built, it simply doesn’t appear anywhere until it has been delivered.
The process for requesting this delivery is simple. Have a planet selected when you click the global “Build” icon and don’t select that planet as the planet to do the building. Like I said, it is the default. So when you start your first few turns and think you’re off to a great start here, building your first colony ship, even though it’s gonna burn a hole in your resources, who cares! In a few short turns my empires gonna expand!
Oh. Where’s my ship? Maybe it blew up shortly after they launched it.
But what really yanks my chain is the tech trees. They’re complicated. I like that. But I don’t like that when I’m trying to make use of them, I have to stop what I’m doing and go to the research pages to review the oneline tips like “Anti-matter blaster: Short range weapon for use against small ships”. The sort of thing you imagine would be handy to put on a tool tip in the ship design page, as opposed to the tip they have which is “Anti-matter blaster”.
I got bored, real fast, trying to make a movie for this game. So it’s pretty short.