Stellaris Nexus is the latest installment in the renowned sci-fi strategy series from Paradox Interactive. This scaled-down turn-based game manages to encapsulate all the complexity and dedication you would expect from a strategy simulation into just an hour.
In Stellaris Nexus, players can engage in a simultaneous multiplayer match with up to five friends. Here, you’ll select your preferred alien race and gradually expand your influence across a galactic empire. Whether this is achieved diplomatically through treaties and cultural influence or forcefully through invasions and coups is entirely up to you. But be cautioned, it’s always best to keep your enemies close.
There are eight factions to choose from, and whether you opt for the iconic Squid people or the fierce and war-prone Krexax, you’ll be able to find one that aligns with your goals. Once you have committed to a faction, all that remains is to expand your infrastructure and fleet and perhaps nurture some alliances. You’ll need to garner support as, every few turns, everyone will convene at the Galactic Alliance to vote on resolutions that can earn you more points and resources. The first player to reach 100 points wins, so it’s more of a sprint than a marathon.
I chose the warrior race, Krexax, as my faction. These red aliens with pincers for hands may not have the best reputation when it comes to democratic trading or high-tech research, but they sure do know how to invade hostile planets and create a domineering fleet of bloodthirsty warriors.
I spent most of the early hours building a massive fleet and invading every nearby planet. This aggressive start meant that I was able to build up an impressive industrial infrastructure that supported the creation of new warships, which would then go on to take over neighboring planets, with the cycle continuing.
However, it wasn’t all blood, guts, and conquering. The Krexax made an effort to spread their somewhat aggressive culture across the galaxy, meaning the prospect of signing treaties and peacefully taking over planets became a little easier. There was also a significant investment in exploration. I found old alien tech, mountains of expensive artwork, and even a sentient lifeform with whom I learned to communicate.
There are numerous ways to make the most of all the riches you find. You can either keep it for yourself and undertake various activities: sell, invest, research, or maybe even just keep it to display in a museum. Or, conversely, you can donate your findings to the Galactic Council and share the knowledge with your fellow factions.
Initially, I was quite hesitant about the shorter playtime for Stellaris Nexus; I wasn’t sure how in-depth players could get in just an hour of play. However, I’m happy to say that this was not an issue at all.
Stellaris Nexus takes the fantastic world-building, customization, and features of its predecessor (2016’s Stellaris) and condenses them into an hour. With only 60 minutes, you are encouraged to take more risks and be more aggressive in starting wars, battling over the central planet Nexus, and gathering vital resources.
It’s also the perfect amount of time if you just want to have a quick game over lunch or after work with some friends. The time constraint ensures Stellaris Nexus is more accessible and doesn’t require as much commitment as its predecessor, so if you just want to play casually, that’s actually a viable option.
Forging alliances, establishing vast empires, and eventually betraying your friends is highly thrilling. This compact turn-based strategy game has a lot to offer, and we can’t wait to see what else it has in store.
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