There’s something about the games you played as a kid that makes them special, you know? I think it’s probably because, at least for me, games were quite a bit harder to come by. Kids don’t tend to have a lot of money, after all, and the modern marketing strategies of free games and subscription services hadn’t really become a thing yet. I had to milk the games I had dry, and that’s probably part of why older classics like Revenant, Dungeon Keeper, and, of course, Master of Orion remain some of my favorites. That’s also why when a game like Interstellar Space: Genesis comes along that promises to bring back that classic Master of Orion feel, I’m going to pay attention.
It’s pretty much the same game, after all! You choose one of several alien races – or the most terrifying race of all: humanity – and set out to conquer the galaxy in typical 4X fashion. That means eXploring for new star system with habitable worlds, eXpanding onto those worlds, eXploiting their natural resources and eXterminating anyone who gets in your way. This is a formula that works, so it’s no surprise that Interstellar Space is taking the torch and running with it.
The alien races range from the unique and interesting – the nomadic desert-dwelling Nova and the xenomorphic Sulak – and the slightly less so – the Moltar, who are…lava guys who can live in lava. Moltar, molten, y’know. It’s a little more complex than that, of course, and for what it’s worth every race has unique and interesting traits to set them apart, such as the Sulak’s crazed mating sprees that are intended to shore up your population in emergencies. Either way, you can pick from these options or create your own, so do whatever suits your liking and get to galactic conquest.
Doing so is pretty straightforward, playing essentially exactly like Master of Orion; that’s not necessarily a bad thing, since the interface there was pretty straightforward. Interstellar Space makes it easy enough to determine what’s going on throughout your empire, something that’s vital as the game proceeds and your job as ruler becomes more and more complex. Along with the typical Master of Orion fare like colony and ship management, Interstellar Space incorporates alignment from the Galactic Civilization series, allowing you to further customize your empire, as well as somewhat more in-depth research and exploration systems. Generally speaking, though, this is Master of Orion through and through, right down to the ship combat.
From a presentation perspective, well…you can’t expect the world since this is an indie title, but Interstellar Space looks and plays nicely enough. The races each have a unique and interesting look and feel and there’s enough flavor text to keep my flavor text-obsessed self reading away. Naturally, from a strategic perspective, there’s plenty to delve into and enough to keep even the most obsessed fans happy.
For a game that clearly didn’t have the kind of budget that games like Galactic Civilizations III have backing them, Interstellar Space: Genesis turned out pretty damn well. It doesn’t have quite the same level of polish, but really, did we care about polish back when we were logging tens of hours into Master of Orion? Nope. We had our pixelated rock creatures and we liked them. Likewise, you’ll take your lava creatures who live in lava and like them here as well. Interstellar Space: Genesis is a solid space empire simulator for the budding xeno-Genghis Khans among you.