PAX East Preview: Space Wars Interstellar Empires

Space Wars:Interstellar Empires is a heavily strategy focused RTS made by ToHeroes Entertainment that takes place in space…as you’d imagine. It’s a turn-based game, but with a lot of variables to consider. Let’s start with the basics: the game features four races that you can choose from. Each has their own background and lore, as well as unique ships and stats. There is going to be a balancing act between how you choose to go about the game, especially when it comes to combat. The goal of the game? Conquer the galaxy. The game breaks up the galaxy into a series of hexagons, and ultimately your going to want to control all of it. Each race starts off with their own piece of it, and then must continue to engage with opposing forces to claim more of the galaxy as your own.

Visually, the galaxy is constructed as a series of hexagons, each with potential friendlies or foes. Each of the four races controls a portion, and your job is to claim/conquer and steal the rest of it before someone else beats you to it. Battles occur along “border wall” tiles, so you’ve got some opportunity to complete missions and earn experience without completely getting destroyed by other players in-game. The game lives inside of a single instance, so everyone who’s playing this game will be playing with or against you. Experience earned will allow you to upgrade captain’s skills or officer talents. These will increase the performance of your ship, as you’ll need to manage the balance of your ship upgrades. The in-game combat system relies heavily on the choices you make to your ship, so focusing on just weapons will leave you vulnerable to attacks with low/weak shields. If you put more focus on your Propulsion systems, you’ll be able to get to battles faster, but might not survive long enough for it to matter. 

The give and take of the upgrade system works nicely when you get to in-game combat. I had the opportunity to experience a few different battles while playing this at PAX East, and I was impressed at how complex but easy to understand the system was. Each ship has an allotment of points, based on the choices you make to upgrade it with experience. Using those points, you apply them to either weapons, shields, force fields, etc., to use during combat. If you end up facing a larger group of enemies than you thought, you’ll probably want to throw a few more points in the shield category over weapons, so you can survive longer. Anyone in-game can see where the action is happening, so you may either get bombarded if you pose an easy target, or perhaps be saved by friendlies who know you need help. 

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In addition to the ship upgrade system, you will need to watch out for environmental effects. Hiding behind objects in space will make you harder to detect by enemies, as well as protect you from attacks. Storms can disable your shields as well as other objects which might make your area weaker and easier to take from you. This adds another dimension to the game because not only do you need to focus on current enemy locations and battles, but also be weary of approaching storms or asteroids that could be hiding a potential threat in their wake. 

Something I wanted to touch on was the visuals. Each ship is unique, though there are certain unlockable custom designs available to certain ship designs. Within each race, the ships have their own aesthetic, and the attention to detail is impressive. Even during combat I was finding myself zooming in on the ships to see the different areas of detail, including active damage indicators (smoke, sparking, or flames coming from my soon to be defeated ship). It’s nice to see a game that while technically you want to be looking at the bigger picture of enemy placements, battle decisions, etc, still allows you to take a closer look and appreciate everything happening to you as well.

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tl;dr: Space wars is a very interesting strategy-RTS game. Single instance, when one faction wins that ends the season and a new map layout exists. Different classes have different pros and cons, strengths/weaknesses. Battle system offers great combat for player who want a more tactical experience while still retaining some maneuverability and range of options when playing against other people. 

Interested in the game? Keep up with it on their website. You can also apply to join the beta as well.

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-Written by Andrew(@SoAfterISaid)