A Second Look at Blue Wizard Digital's Space Tyrant

With Space Tyrant recently releasing on Steam Early Access, we take a look at how the game has come along since our last visit.

After being very impressed with a pre-release preview of Blue Wizard Digital's 5X strategy roguelike Space Tyrant last month, I was excited to see how the game differs now compared to then. Not an awful lot of content was introduced in the past month, but the high level of polish and balancing makes an impressive difference to the overall feel of the game.

A Gentle Start Before a Real Challenge

When I last looked at Space Tyrant, the Galactic Senate were far more aggressive right from the beginning of the game than they are now. Previously, after completing a mission they would advance on two of the space zones at once.

Now, for the first few missions, they will only advance on one of the zones allowing players to come to grips more easily with how this mechanic works. For example, in the image above, they only advanced on the Twisting Nebula while previously they would have advanced on either the Hive Worlds or the Burrowed Fields as well.

While a small detail, it’s a welcoming one for new players to the game. Because the game features permadeath, having more passive enemies at the beginning allows those who are not so used to such mechanics to settle in, stopping what could otherwise be a frustrating experience.

Tougher Battles, Aggressive A.I., and Beefier Space Monsters

While the pre-release build was a lot of fun, there was some balancing to be done, and Blue Wizard Digital did exactly that. First is the battles between other fleets. Originally, these battles were rather easy to the point where it was actually difficult to become under attack by the larger fleet.

Now, however, you will see larger fleets defending more valuable planets and the deeper into the map you go the more resistance you’ll find. You will now need to keep a tighter balance between your varying fleets. Having one super powerful fleet and several low-level ones can quickly lead to trouble. This adds a new level of depth to the overall tactics and strategy of the game.

To further increase the difficulty a bit, your opposition is now more aggressive than before. Previously, you could leave your homeworld open for attack and enemies wouldn't really target it. Now, the risk of having your homeworld attacked is much higher, as enemies will advance as soon as they are close. Lose your home world, and you lose the mission and possibly even the game.

The enemy is also a bit more aggressive with their research than in the previous build. As they research technologies they become stronger, making them harder to defeat over time. If they advance faster than you do, you’ll start to lose your tyranny control and fall behind in technology. Keeping on top of this is essential now.

Monsters such as the Space Shark and Space Slug were improved as well. They were fearsome but not that threatening once you get a decent sized fleet. Now, they are a lot beefier than before and require a much larger and well-equipped fleet to take down.

They generally guard more rewarding planets for you to invade but along with that they also hold back enemy fleets too, as they are aggressive to everyone. They can be just as useful as they can be a hindrance, and in the right hands, they can be a really good tool.

There has been an increase in the difficulty of the game but that isn't a bad thing. It was a bit too easy, even for an average at best strategy player like myself. For tactical masters, the previous build could feel somewhat insulting as it offered zero challenge to them.

A Complete and Polished Feeling

Along with the gameplay and difficulty balancing of the game, there has been a significant increase in the overall polish to the game, giving it a complete feel. A tonne of visual improvements was added, like special effects and a whole array of new sound effects.

While not game changers, the improvements really make the difference between the game feeling like it is in an alpha or beta stage of development than being much further. If the game had more than three playable races, you wouldn't even think it was an early access game.

I love how the developer focused on this, as with these finer little details out of the way now, it leaves a lot more room for new content in coming updates.

One of the Most Promising Early Access Titles on Steam

There are several titles on Steam Early Access that are lacking in quality, and others that simply just become abandoned or the developers postponed development. This is Blue Wizard Digitals second title and it’s showing as much promise as its previous game did.

It feels polished to a degree that makes it seem further in development than it is, and most of all it’s an extremely fun and enjoyable strategy game that anyone can get into and enjoy. If you’re weary of spending money on a game that’s still in development, I can assure you Space Tyrant is a near-complete title worth playing right now.

A copy of the game was provided to the writer for the purpose of this preview.

Published Aug. 2nd 2017

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