A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Endless Space is a downloadable strategy game for Windows computers with a small amount of space-based sci-fi violence. Some of the game's species are evil in nature and interested only in conquest; but the player can also try to win the game through means of diplomacy, expansion, or technology. There is little here that might possibly offend younger audiences (most of the game is spent looking at maps and stats), but it is a very challenging play best suited for older kids in possession of some patience and tenacity. Parents will also want to note that this game supports open text communication between players in its online multiplayer mode.
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What's it about?
ENDLESS SPACE is an independently developed turn-based strategy game with a structure similar to games in Sid Meier's Civilization series. Players choose one of several alien species or human factions (you can also create your own), then start off on a home planet in a huge galaxy with an aim to explore the universe, expand borders by colonizing new worlds, exploit resources, and, if necessary, exterminate opposing species. Each turn allows players to select new projects for all of the planets and ships under their control, using new technologies to grow their output of industry and science and become more efficient, all while attempting to keep a happy population. Players can work toward many different kinds of victories, ranging from conquest to technological supremacy. This game is unusual in that it was and continues to be designed with input from its community. Players have the opportunity to view all of the game's design materials, make suggestions in public forums, and take part in votes that affect aspects of the game, from visual aesthetic to nitty-gritty decisions regarding rules.
Is it any good?
Strategy-loving gamers who go in with proper expectations will likely find Endless Space a minor delight. It isn't as polished and accessible as bigger-budgeted entries in the genre, but it still offers a satisfyingly multifaceted and relentlessly challenging experience. It provides a broad range of parameter-altering options that will ensure no two games play out the same way. The delicate process of growing an empire one star system and one technology at a time is an intellectual pleasure. And the game's fledgling sci-fi mythology, which includes everything from cloned races to ancient robotic civilizations, is tantalizing stuff.
There are some problems that need to be ironed out via game updates. Diplomacy is a little underdeveloped at the moment (options to work out deals with hostile races are limited), and deciphering the effects of choices made during the game's space battles can be tricky (players pre-select tactics for short, long, and medium range prior to combat, but without a clear picture of what these tactics will accomplish). Hopefully these problems will prove merely growing pains, because Endless Space is a delightful new entry in the woefully underrepresented genre of turn-based tactics games.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about strategic thinking. This game encourages players to plan ahead and predict outcomes. What sort of real-world activities do you participate in that require you to think strategically?
Families can also discuss online safety. What precautions do you take when chatting with other players in online games?
- Platforms: Windows
- Subjects: Science: astronomy, geology, substance properties
Social Studies: exploration, government, the economy
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, strategy
Creativity: developing novel solutions, imagination
Self-Direction: self-assessment, set objectives, work to achieve goals
- Price: $29.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Iceberg Interactive
- Release date: July 10, 2012
- Genre: Strategy
- Topics: Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: NR for (No Descriptors)
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.