All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Galactic Civilizations

Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Strategy First
Developer: Stardock
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 6
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

Boldly going where not many games are going any more, Galactic Civilizations has a highly detailed 2D interface and gameplay screen. The gameplay background kind of reminds you of one of the old tabletop arcade games, except now there is a nifty star field and lots of little spaceships floating around on it. Though it lacks a lot of special effects, Gal Civ makes up for this by giving the player plenty of colorful screens to look at. Nothing here is really sore on the eyes, and the menus couldn't have been laid out better.

Gal Civ is also musically above par. The sci-fi tunes that fill your speakers are pleasant and varied enough to keep things interesting. Though these aren't John Williams style tracks, the melodies are more than adequate for this game's setting. Sound effects are mostly limited to button clicking noises, but when the time arises for battle, or any other major event, they show their true colors and will put a smile on your face every time.


Galactic Civilizations is a turn-based strategy game in the vein of games like Civ and Alpha Centauri. Taking place a hundred or so years in the future, you must lead the people of Earth on a conquest of the galaxy. Alliances will be formed, wars will be fought, rebellions will rise and be crushed, and your own government may even decide to kick you out for a while. But this is all in a day's work for the leader of a new civilization.

Don't think that you are being limited by being forced to play as Earth. You can customize your civilization by allocating skill points to traits like diplomacy, defense, espionage, etc. You must also choose the type of civilization you will lead, whether it will be a warlike juggernaut or a prosperous mercantile civilization. Next, you pick your alien neighbors that you'll be sharing the galaxy with, each possessing their own personalities and skills.

You'll start the game with a colony ship and a recon vessel. In order to expand your galactic influence, you must search out habitable star systems and then colonize them with some of your citizens. Each planet in your empire (or whatever form of government you choose) will either add to or take away from your overall progress. If a planet's population is unhappy and morale is low, it may either revolt or be persuaded to join an opposing race.

Researching and developing new technologies, and then employing them in your grand scheme is the only way to get ahead in Gal Civ. You start out with virtually nothing, you can't even communicate with any other race, and the courses of action your can take are vast. Managing your spending is just as crucial as research, as a poor civilization is sure to fall. Things can get a little complicated here, as there are so many numbers on about a dozen different screens that effect your budget that it will take some practice to figure how you are losing or even gaining money.

Your government is another influence on your plans, as you start out as an empire, but once new forms of politics are discovered, you can switch. Depending on what regime you are ruling under, there will be elections from time to time. If you are in good standing with the senate and your people, you will stay in power. However, it is possible to become disliked enough to be voted out of office. This doesn't spell game over, but you will be at a serious disadvantage.

An online 'Metaverse' is open for Multiplayer games, and a tight knit community awaits your exploration. A well organized website reveals players' standings, and you can form alliances and declare war on people in this environment. For a game like Gal Civ, this type of community organization is crucial, and they did it well.


A brief trek through all of the menu systems in the game may leave some gamers with their jaws on the floor. Though daunting at first, they are laid out well, but nonetheless will pose the biggest learning curve in the game. Altering the AI's level of aggression and intelligence is easy, so finding the correct difficulty level for you will be no problem.

Game Mechanics:

During your galactic conquest, you will invariably command a multitude of ships to do your bidding. Each ship has a certain move allowance, and you can move them around the map by clicking on any location and then leaving it up to autopilot to bring them there. Forming armadas is also possible, and is done in a style not unlike that of an RTS. Banding ships together will let you treat them as one, an ability that becomes crucial in battle.

Galactic Civilizations is a very deep, intricate game that will probably never be well known. Somehow it just doesn't reach the appeal of games like Civ, but it definitely has a strong cult following. Most casual gamers will be thrown by the amount of content the game contains, but only those who stick with it will get that great feeling of satisfaction in the end.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/2K/ME/XP, 600 MHz Processor, 128 MB RAM, DirectX 8.1, 8 MB Video Card

Test System:

Windows XP, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce 2 mx 32MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, T1 Internet connection

Windows FirePower Windows Gangland

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated