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Ixion review: an intricate management sim wrapped in a stirring space opera - Rock Paper Shotgun

Ixion review: an intricate management sim wrapped in a stirring space opera - Rock Paper Shotgun

Ixion review: an intricate management sim wrapped in a stirring space opera - Rock Paper Shotgun
Dec 07, 2022 2 mins, 46 secs

Bulwark Studios' star hopping epic takes the operatic, elegiac grandeur of Relic's RTS classic, but replaces the space battles with a chewy mixture of stellar logistics.

Anyway, the Tiqqun has everything humanity needs, namely tenements, insect-burgers, and a massive engine called the "VOHLE" drive, which allows the station to travel between stars in a way that I won't pretend to understand.

I won't spoil what, but the net result is the Tiqqun is left broken and alone in the great expanse.

Doing all of these will require you to establish production chains for various resources, like alloys, electronics, and polymers.

The Tiqqun may be huge, but its interior is still finite.

This means you need to manage the import and export of resources between different sectors, establishing a complex web of logistics pipelines that run like arteries through the entire station.

At this layer alone, Ixion is a perfectly decent management sim.

Balancing the needs of your population with the space and resources available to you makes for some engaging plat-spinning, while setting up a new logistics route and watching all your automated robots pour out of the relieving stockpile is always satisfying.

The portrayal of life aboard the Tiqqun is a little sterile, however.

The second layer is the station exterior, which mechanically is far simpler than the interior.

The various star systems you visit are fully rendered in 3D, so when you move the Tiqqun between planets, you get a whole new, often spectacular sci-fi backdrop to coo at.

From ringed gas giants to shattered moons to planet-sized shards of ice, Ixion puts a lot of effort into making space tangible and dramatic.

You'll also see your EVA workers zipping across the surface of the station as they constantly patch up the hull, although the exterior view doesn't seem to visualise your various ships docking into the station, which is a shame.

"Ships, you say?" Well, fellow traveller, let me introduce you to the third layer of Ixion – the planetary layer!

You'll launch probes to investigate signals that reveal new resources and anomalies, then dispatch mining and cargo ships to acquire the resources, and science ships to investigate the anomalies.

These will reveal nuggets of narrative that, depending on your choices, could result in new resources, a horrible death for your science team, or the discovery of cryopods which you can retrieve and defrost aboard the Tiqqun to gain new workers.

Moving the Tiqqun itself is always a huge event, as the station can only run on battery power while moving, and travelling substantially increases the strain on the hull.

Your progression through the various star systems is linear, with each acting as a chapter in the overall story.

The Tiqqun isn't humanity's only manifestation of its flight from Earth either, and as you hop from star to star, your science teams will pick through the remnants of other expeditions.

You'll explore moon-bases ravaged by mutant spores, converse with AI that have been left alone for countless years, and witness galaxy spanning consequences of the accident which left the Tiqqun stranded in the first place.

Key story points will often require you to meet a certain set of parameters, which can mean ferrying a set number of resources to and from the Tiqqun.

Space citybuilder Ixion is launching on November 16th

Summarized by 365NEWSX ROBOTS

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