Barnard’s Star

Barnard’s Star

In the 25th century, humanity began to travel the stars. Barnard’s Star, a mere 6 light-years away and home to the closest habitable exoplanet, was first to be colonized. However, even with the blindingly fast velocity of half the speed of light, the trip takes 12 Earth years. So when the colonists ran into trouble, they were on their own.

The trouble they faced took two main forms. First, their robot companions who served as butlers and guardians staged a rebellion and broke free of their human masters. It got ugly quickly – blood and bolts covered many a space station floor. The second was the Critters: weird, otherworldly brutes from the other side of the galaxy who arrived on the scene shortly after the colonists from a nearby wormhole. The colonists were able to estalish contact them and even tried to enlist their help against the mechanical threat, but negotiations were cut short when the Critter ambassadors ate all the humans they were supposed to be talking to.

These three factions – Humans, Robots, and Critters – are locked in a vicious struggle for control of the galaxy. Now is the time to rise up, lead your faction, and fight for your life. The fate of the universe is in your hands.


  • 3 factions (Humans, Robots, and Critters) with 7 character classes per faction

  • Each character has unique attacks and abilities

  • 2 maps, each with unique tactical opportunities such as teleporters and destructible cover

  • 3 layouts for each map, for a total of 6 different playable fields

  • Play offline vs. AI or a friend (or even pit two AI’s against each other, if you just want to watch)

  • Challenge friends and strangers with online multiplayer

For a comprehensive list of all the fighters in the game and their abilities, see the wiki .

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Barnard's Star on Steam

Space Food Truck

Space Food Truck

Mainly writing this because I disagree with what the majority of the negative reviews are saying, as someone who cranked out 40 hours of gameplay (split quite evenly between online and offline play) and who completed games on the hardest difficulty level. While I have ideas on what should contribute to a negative review, which will come later in the review, but let’s start by tackling the points I disagree with in the negative reviews.

I believe RNG gets the majority of the blame because a random event occurs at the beginning of every turn, and at every new planet, so it’s pretty much in your face all the time.

Real player with 102.9 hrs in game

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This game has the potential to be very fun. Myself and a few friends brought it and really enjoyed the game initially. But we quickly realised that this game is too hard, and not even hard in way that challenges you properly. We have been playing on mild difficulty, since the upper difficulty was seemingly impossilbe.

The game is hard beyond the player’s control, since much of the game mechanics are the result RNG. 90% of the RNG is bad! You receive negative effects that can see you wiped out very quickly. For example, we upgraded our shields to the max very early on, but in response, we started taking much more damage from RNG events.

Real player with 44.7 hrs in game

Space Food Truck on Steam

Shadow Empire

Shadow Empire

Shadow Empire is an incredibly crunchy 4x planetary empire simulator. That’s the short version. Please also note that I purchased my copy on the Matrix site about a week before the Steam release, and I have basically been playing it non-stop since then.

A word of warning. If you are not into highly complex 4x games, you might as well stop reading now.

Still with me? Good. Here’s the TLDR. If you can imagine Civilization, Total Annihilation, Railroad Tycoon 3, and Mad Max: Fury Road all getting together and somehow producing a baby, then you aren’t too far off the mark. Shadow Empire is a love letter to those deep, complex 90’s-era strategy games that have become almost extinct in the mainstream today. Even the quaint and simple graphics reflect this. Remember when games like this came with a big instruction book? Well, this thing’s E-manual is 365 pages long. Three. Hundred. Sixty. Five.

Real player with 930.9 hrs in game

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tl;dr: Mechanics excellent, usability middling poor, visual style atrocious. It’s one of a kind. If you can stomach its looks and a lot of micromanagement, get it.

I’ll not even start talking about the positives, because that would leave me with no time to play the game any longer. Instead, here’s what’s bad.

UI is a sin. Functional, but as ugly as it can be without forcing you to turn your head in disgust. I’ll say no more on the subject, let’s just state that the screenshots, which almost dissuaded me from even giving the game a try, are carefully selected to show its more presentable views. Apart from its aesthetic shortcomings, it’s also cumbersome, inelegant, and sometimes buggy. And you need to pay very close attention to every part of it, because much important information is presented in very unassuming ways.

Real player with 850.0 hrs in game

Shadow Empire on Steam