First Impressions Of Starsector

I was shocked a game like Starsector has flown under my radar all these years. Granted at one point the game was called something else. Still, I was amazed when I went out to see if there was any space games that might interest me to find this one from 2013.

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I’ve been in the mood for quite some time to find a new space game to play. I consider myself to be a rather tricky person to find a game I can enjoy these days in that genre.

As always in my search, the usual popped up in it. Players glorifying X Universe games. I’ve always disliked the flight control of those games and not to mention some of the game-breaking bugs in titles such as X Rebirth.

Not to mention since X Universe is a series of space games that usually means after a while each game stops receiving any kind of updates. Meanwhile, on the other hand, Starsector appears to be receiving regular updates and patches over quite a few years now.

Then you have games like Eve Online and many others that I’ve played a long time ago and I’m not interested these days in getting back into those games. Then you have the supposed Eve Offline single-player killers like Astrox Imperium that I feel will be many years before such claims could ever come close to being correct.

Even more, the recent up comers if you could them like like Star Citizen that I tried to play during free play events. My current computer could not even load the game. Besides what I feel a great space game amazing requires it age like a fine wine which let’s face it Star Citizen is no were close to even being that.

What caught my eye most about Starsector other than it being an older game that is still receiving updates? It’s a 2D game. I feel far too many space games just don’t get the flight controls correct for a keyboard and mouse to make the experience enjoyable enough for my personality. Removing that element right off the bat was enough for me to dive in.

It is also not trying to be something it is not. You don’t need fancy graphics that melt the very PC you are trying to run the game on. I find the older style of graphics and UI of this game to be superior to a lot of more recent releases even more so for space games.

Another thing a lot of space games for some reason seem to lack is a decent enough tutorial and even a storyline. While I’m not the biggest on storyline a universe that feels like it is reacting to the choices I make is quite key to my enjoyment.

I’ve heard Starsector having some rather dark stories about players lusting for power in the universe at any cost. That there are certain things one should not mess with without massive retribution for the power they give you. Such things will get the rest of the game to want to destroy you for using and also won’t let you part with ones you decided it was a mistake to use in the first place.

Needless to say, if I find this game has such things lurking I’m both excited and scared at the same time. Dominating a universe within a game sounds interesting and this game has from what it looks like quite a few different areas of space. There also seem to be quite strong consequences for the actions you take and that can make a game like this interesting or frustrating depending on how that goes.

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The game starts you off by having you select a few backstories for the character itself. While some of these feel like they have some kind of impact I’m hoping it’s not that impactful over the long term. For a first-time playthrough, I always find games need to find that balance between the player walking into the game the first time and tossing them off a cliff with choices before they even know what is what.

Hopefully, this will not cause me to have to start over again at some point. While I have a general idea of what I want to be in this game. I’d rather hope I get to enjoy my first playthrough without having an abrupt start over.

Early on the game introduces you to the salvage mechanics of the game. I could also see on the map there were some derby fields to look through. I do love going through and just picking up loot wondering what kind of space fight I missed out on hoping to loot something nice.


I already love the fact I have to start selecting choices about the actions I want to take in this game with the ability to somewhat back out of them if I don’t go too far down that choice's path. It then starts giving me further details to shape the decision I might make.

All this is just for something as simple as salvaging which I feel is far more exciting than a lot of salvaging activities I’ve done in other games. Granted in the long term having to do this much reading and relying on information could get rather repetitive and boring. Only time will tell.

While my salvaging effectiveness is quite low and the game appears to be warning me that it would be a difficult thing to do. I go for it anyways. I end up with a success and getting a couple of things for my effort. I have no idea if this was worth going for or not this far into the game.

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The game then introduces me to combat by fighting a pirate. With Starsector being a fleet-based game I found all my options to be a bit intimidating and something I’ll have to learn a lot more about. At least I was able to win my first battle without heavy consequences for not fully understanding the system.

After a couple more instances of combat in this game. I noticed there was an option to send the fleet under the control of the AI. While combat for many can be quite a lure to a game and I’ll admit for now I enjoy being the one in the driver’s seat giving directions.

I also know from other games I’ve played where you control multiple units that endless combat over and over as you expend can get a bit worn out. I’ll know at some point I’ll prefer to focus on other things in the game than trying to micromanagement every battle I find myself in. So having the option to just let the AI deal with it is a nice to have feature.

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While a lot of this game seems simple from the outside. It’s always about trying to find that balance between a player enjoying if they like things to be simple or complex. I think such an example shows clearly when I was taking a look at a ship refitting screen.

While I’m still in the state of not understanding what I’m doing or the best way to fit a ship in this game. There is the auto-fit feature. It also lets me dive quite deep into the thick of it if I like deciding gun placement, weapon groups, and even running simulations for combat.

Final Thoughts

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I am quite early on in this game and I can already feel it’s something unique in its way. I can already feel without experiencing it yet there is some grand adventure I’m about to embark on. Hopefully, I will end up having some crazy story from playing this game. If nothing else it was refreshing finding a game I missed out on form years ago to get me excited again about space games again.


Screenshots were taken and content was written by @Enjar about Starsector.