Lords of the black sun A.K.A. the game formerly known as Star Lords is developed by Arkavi Studios, published by Iceberg Interactive and released on steam 09-12-2014. Lords Of The Black Sun is a turn based, 4X, strategy, manager set in futuristic outer space. You have choice out of 8 different races with their own bonuses and limitations like: intelligent and poor traders. You can choose how many civilizations you play with/against and how many pirate clans and inferior races inhabit the galaxy.

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Once you’ve chosen the galaxy type you’ll get an introduction cut scene showing you the history of the race you have chosen to proceed with. Your playground is a map with many solar systems, all of which unknown except for your home base. Using a scout to open up other solar systems, you will see if it contains inhabited planets, planets you can colonize or just is an useless solar system. Meanwhile you need to keep an eye on your research, income, production and happiness. Every turn represents a month and everything in the game is given to you in months, like your research tree where some elements take over one hundred months to research. You can speed this up significantly by building a couple of research facilities. The same principle is used for buildings and ships, the more shipyards you have, the faster you can build your ships. Your money will come in mainly by establishing trade routes to other races, a minor source of income but something I really like is space tourism. You will start all alone and by sending scouts out in space you will discover other civilizations or you’ll be discovered. Depending on the race they might want to build an embassy, establish a trade route or blackmail you to pay them so you won’t be attacked. You can form alliances, declare war or lay an embargo on a race. You can send out spies to sabotage their factories and hope he doesn’t talk if they catch him or simply attack their ships, fleets and planets after you declared war. Battles are done manually or automatically, all ships of the two fleets will battle on a hex map, but in most cases the winner is the one with the most ships so after a couple of battles I always did them automatically.

gameplay 4.0/5.0

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Another key element is to keep your population happy on all colonies otherwise they will revolt and separate from you. And added to all this, random events will be thrown at you like a volcano erupting on your home planet or an extremist civilian who kills the ambassador of your allies setting some tension on your relations. Although it is pretty slow paced events are plenty and you’ll be busy constantly. Graphics are pretty good, all cut scenes and loading screens are beautiful and look like aquarelles. The in game graphics are well made. Sound is very good, the music is beautiful and laidback from classic to electronic and in my own opinion the best feature of the game. Sound effects are limited and basic but nevertheless good. (mainly opening menus, windows and being notified if a ship or research has completed.) there is no in game voice acting this is limited to the introduction movies of every race.

sound 4.0/5.0 graphics3.0/5.0

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All in all the game is various and will guarantee many hours of gameplay with a high replay value because the level is always random made. But it doesn’t stick out or adds something to the genre, if an alien would come on screen screaming at me declaring war and a spiced up ship battle system would make the game more interesting. The game is best played by casual players or beginners in the genre but the 4x veterans won’t find much of a challenge here. Having this said I must also say I really like the game but unfortunately I can’t recommend it to anyone till the developers fixed the crashes and some bugs. Having read the comments on steam I realize I’m not the only one and it is a lasting problem. So I’m really looking forward to some patches but until they are there I’m done with this game.

overall score 3.5/5.0

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