The Pipeline: Dawn of Andromeda | Buzz Blog

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Pipeline: Dawn of Andromeda

An Early Access peek into the Iceberg Interactive strategy game.

Posted By on December 7, 2016, 9:16 AM

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One of my favorite all-time space strategy games was Master Of Orion. Oh sure, titles like Starcraft have far exceeded others in the genre, but whenever I plunk myself down to one of them, that's where my mind goes: Interacting with other species in the galaxy, who both want to get to know you and destroy you, not to mention the idea of conquest and expansion of your own empire. Very rarely are we given games where space is unexplored, and you're basically a spec of dust on the mantel of the home that is the galaxy, where even a puff of wind could destroy you. So with that mindset, I was stoked to receive an Early Access invite for Iceberg Interactive's space strategy title, Dawn Of Andromeda.

click to enlarge Does that thing weigh a lot on your head? - ICEBERG INTERACTIVE
  • Iceberg Interactive
  • Does that thing weigh a lot on your head?

The game plays a lot like Masters Of Orion and its sequel, as you start by picking one of several alien species to form an empire around. Because I'm experimental and have no qualms with losing, I went with the Ynan Commonwealth, who are basically balls of white and blue energy that have somehow taken a corporeal shape. The Early Access version doesn't have a proper campaign, but it does contain the ability to create your own scenario from which to start. You can be the sole victor, engage in an allied battle for dominance, try to survive for certain periods of time, or seek enlightenment as a race among the stars.

click to enlarge Gems! In! Space! - ICEBERG INTERACTIVE
  • Iceberg Interactive
  • Gems! In! Space!

The gameplay for Dawn Of Andromeda is complex at first, but once you start mastering the panels and tables in front of you, things tend to go smoothly. You run a government where council members have influence over your society, and can help motivate people toward helping you. They come with both amazing plans and tasteless attributes—a good example would be that someone is great at education, but a complete xenophobe, or they're amazing with people but they're career politicians who will stab you in the back. No one is a saint, and you'll have to accept the good with the bad. You'll have to decide how best to run your society and where to put research, which isn't paid for in cash but in time, as projects can run for weeks or even months.

click to enlarge Is this a galaxy or the building blocks of complex atoms? That's a science joke someone will get. - ICEBERG INTERACTIVE
  • Iceberg Interactive
  • Is this a galaxy or the building blocks of complex atoms? That's a science joke someone will get.

Once you hit space, you'll need to explore the galaxy with an array of ships. Scouts, freighters, colony and attack ships are all at your disposal, ready to chart systems or set up new colonies on habitable planets, not to mention defending your empire from would-be pirates and neighboring aliens. As you build and expand, you're given more resources, but you're also prone to attacks and other disasters. In one case, I had a planet begin rioting; I had the choice between attacking them and subjecting them to my rule, or allowing them liberation from the empire. Exploration will also score you mysteries like spacial anomalies and random treasures. I once came into contact with an ancient god-like creature who needed to be destroyed at all costs. As you explore you'll find other races that you can get to know better and do business with, sometimes against your will in order to survive. Don't pick fights with people you can't beat; the game is ruthless when it comes to consequences.

click to enlarge You stay on your side on Yn, and don't go too close to the black hole. - ICEBERG INTERACTIVE
  • Iceberg Interactive
  • You stay on your side on Yn, and don't go too close to the black hole.

The biggest flaw to Dawn Of Andromeda was the fact that I couldn't build anything. I could set up the parameters to give me what I needed to at least be somewhat formidable or ready to explore, but as far as amassing an empire, I was ill-equipped. And it wasn't for lack of trying, either. After going through every tutorial and menu available to me, there simply were no options. Inevitably, I lost nearly every scenario I set myself in, with the exception of one: finding enlightenment. I was able to set myself up with a couple scout ships and set them on auto-explore, and while they mapped out the galaxy I was able to encounter new races and get to know them better. Ultimately, the goal of this setting is a year-long plan to find a higher existence from my computer counterparts, but once achieved, it was simply a victory, no different than if I had won a battle. There's something hollow to that experience.

  • Iceberg Interactive

Dawn Of Andromeda has a lot going for it, but because they're still working out errors and issues with the programming, you might want to wait a few months before delving into Early Access. Considering all the potential the game has as a space strategy title, it's very plausible that this could be one of the better games of 2017 once it has been fully released, but for now, it's missing just a couple of parts that are sorely needed to allow players to enjoy themselves.

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