The name of Sid Meier has attained a godlike status amongst strategy gamers and, it could be argued, for very good reason. Known as a developer who plays his games over and over until he deems them fun enough to launch, many of his myriad of releases are instant classics. None more so than his magnum opus franchise, Civilization. That series was followed by sci-fi spinoff Beyond Earth last year which, while certainly having many of same mechanics, fell short of its predecessor’s glory and of matching Meier’s much-loved Alpha Centauri.
Now Meier has sought to expand the universe he created in Beyond Earth with his new release Starships. A tactical turn-based space sim, you’d be forgiven for getting overly excited at the prospect of Meier returning to the type of game that made Pirates! so beloved. Yet, despite showing a glimpse of promise, the game falls disappointingly flat.
In Starships you take on the role of an already-established civilisation that has prospered on an alien planet following the events of Beyond Earth. Curious as to the status of other human cultures that fled to the stars, your civilisation sets about exploring the galaxy. As is to be expected, there is much grandeur and pomp in how the story is set out but as the gameplay kicks in you’re left feeling a little deflated.