Conquer the galaxy! Hang out with spacebears!

StarDrive is a 4X – “explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate” – strategy game in which you must lead your people from a single world and a small fleet of primitive spaceships to galactic dominance. Strike out into space, establish colonies, conquer new worlds, make allies and decimate enemies in a game that gives you complete control, from individual ship design to diplomatic strategies or interstellar warfare. You may have thought you were alone in the galaxy – but you were wrong.

Patterned after the “golden era” of grand strategy sci-fi games, StarDrive puts players in command of one of eight pre-made races with expansionist ambitions, or allows them to customize a race by choosing from a large list of physical, socioeconomic, historical and traditional traits. Once selected, you’ll lead your people to the stars, and inevitably into contact and competition with other spacefaring races. You can take a diplomatic approach in your alien relations, signing treaties, trading technologies and artifacts, selling ships or even taking part in joint operations; or you can opt for the sword, directing your forces in battle with simple, RTS-style mouse commands or leading personally from the helm of your flagship with arcade shooter controls. There’s even an “agent-based espionage system” that allows you to steal technologies and foment unrest without ever getting your own hands dirty.

One of the central features of the game is the modular ship design, which allows players to custom design every ship in their fleet as well as orbital platforms and deep-space stations. You can lay out each ship’s power grip, fuel capacity, ammo storage, weapon layouts and more, and then organize them into fleets and set their behaviors through the built-in fleet editor. And if you don’t feel like getting into all that, there are plenty of stock configurations to choose from as well.

StarDrive

Planets must be conquered or colonized in order to provide the resources that fuel your empire’s growth. Food, production, research and money are the game’s primary resources, and they can be unlocked by exploring planets and anomalies. But watch out: There are hidden terrors just waiting to be unleashed by the unwary as well. With so many different options available, all set in a visually gorgeous, rich, living universe filled with random events, remnant elements, hidden treasures, deep-space horrors and late-game threats, StarDrive looks like it will be an exciting addition to any strategy gamer’s collection.

StarDrive will launch on Steam on April 19.