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Game #2123
Hall of Belated Fame Inductee  Space Empires IV    View all Top Dogs in this genreCollection: Indie Underdogs
Strategy   4X in space

Rating: 8.67 (863 votes)

Space Empires IV box cover

Space Empires IV screenshot
One of the best turn-based "4X" space strategy games ever made, Space Empires IV for Windows is just massive. You control your empire in an ever-changing and hostile galaxy. All the elements of a good 4X game is here: design your starships and use them to explore new solar systems throughout the galaxy, colonize new worlds, and conquer the galaxy. What sets Space Empires IV apart from most other 4X games is the amazing array of options. Literally hundreds of different components are available to place on your ships, and there is a mind-boggling number of facilities you can build on your planets, and star systems to explore. Gameplay options are also expertly balanced: the AI and rules are designed in such a way that you can actually win the game with good intelligence and espionage, if you don't feel like building massive starfleets. Best of all, the technology tree is HUGE: you'll be unlocking new and interesting gadgets, buildings, units, and more tech for a long time. Space Empires IV also introduces a great feature that more games should emulate: the division of technology into "theoretical" and "practical". Researching a theoretical technology opens up more disciplines you can research, while practical technology gives you what you want (e.g. a weapon) straight away. The game also shines in all other respects: you can trade almost anything with other races (planets, resources, etc.), and the combat interface is one of the best I've seen.

With a plethora of options, strong AI, and very high replayability, Space Empires IV should be considered a true heir of Master of Orion, if a bit less accessible due to significant micromanagement. If you fancy yourself an armchair space commander with ambition and are not afraid of spreadsheets and statistics, this is the game you've been waiting for. Two thumbs up, way up!

Reviewed by: Underdogs
Designer: Aaron Hall
Developer: Malfador Machinations
Publisher: Shrapnel Games
Year: 2001
Software Copyright: Malfador Machinations
Theme: Science Fiction, Epic, Design Tool
System Requirements: Windows XP
Where to get it:
Related Links: Official site, Official MODs
If you like this game, try: Master of Orion, Space Empires III, Ascendancy

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