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Stars in Shadow is an upcoming 4X strategy game, developed by Ashdar Games.  It is available on Steam in Early Access and Ashdar Games are constantly responding to bug reports and suggestions via updates and dev-logs.  The game is planned to be released after ten to twelve weeks of Early Access, in late 2016.

The current version of the game is “a late-stage beta build,” which includes all core features, but is lacking some lower priority features, such as some of the faction-specific mechanics.  Ashdar Games has also stated that once the game is fully released, the price will not be changing.

In Stars in Shadow, you can choose from one of seven unique factions. Each has their own characteristics, which in turn determines your play-style.  There are factions such as the Gremak Empire, Humanity, and the Yoral Khaganate.  A good example of the different angles you must play from with each faction is; starting with Humanity gives you no homeworld, providing an early-game challenge.  However, playing as the Yoral Khaganate lets you specialise in mass producing Destroyers, giving them a weapons advantage.

After choosing your faction, you are able to customise your game by selecting the difficulty.  You are also able to decide on the AI you wish to face (the map size is also customisable in this menu).  Ashdar Games makes a point of saying that some of the advanced features in this menu are yet to be implemented.

Once you’ve decided on how you want your game to play out, you are taken to the strategic map.  This provides an overview of the galaxy.  This is where you will be spending the majority of the game.  You are able to start your exploration of the surrounding systems, and the production of your galactic army.  There are many different ship types, such as scouts and destroyers, which each have their own uses and abilities.  The scout, for example, is used to safely explore nearby star-systems.  The reason being it is able to quickly retreat from any threats.

If you wish to win, it is crucial to utilise the simple-to-use research and technologies menus.  These allow you to make incremental upgrades to your army.  Combining certain technologies with certain factions is sure to give you an advantage in battle.  However, in the event that you do not wish to conquer the galaxy; technologies and research must be focused on resources.  With these resources, you are able to keep a growing and thriving population, as well as make alliances with other factions.

Each star system in the game contains unique planets.  There is a chance that a system is uninhabited, however, if the planets meet the requirements of life - you are most likely going to find it.  Different forms of life have different traits and personalities.  Some of which are even able to be transported in your ships with your army.

If Stars in Shadow sounds like your sort of game, you can check it out on Steam here.

BLOT was provided with a copy of Stars in Shadow for preview purposes.