Pax Nova – Early access PC review

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Review by Kieran Sutton

Developers Grey Wolf Entertainment seem to be building report as a reliable 4x space delivery system having previously brought us Dawn of Andromeda. Now they’re back with a more refined and complex civ conquering quest across the stars. Published by Iceberg interactive and available on Steam Early Access right now, Pax Nova is a firm competitor to Civilisation Beyond Earth and Stellaris.

Pax Nova

Story/Characters

The game begins with your chosen civilization settling onto a new planet after pollution and greed destroyed their previous home. Much like Civ you’ll start with a settler unit and need to find a pristine location ripe with enough strategic resources to build and thrive. The are three racial “themes” to the civilizations; Humans, Purpley-men and tall grey-liens. Each race has multiple factions each with different traits to help or hinder your progression. Some factions may have good production but corrupt politicians, others may be keen fighters but lack the patience for scientific pursuits.

Pax Nova

Audio/Visual

The initial few steps can seem daunting, what with the number of different buttons and menus available to you but that’s merely a testament to the amount you can do. The eerie spacey sounds can become dull but don’t worry; soon the sound of your enemies falling before you will replace that. Overall the aesthetic is pretty minimal and as clean as can be with the amount of information required.

Pax Nova

Gameplay

I was quick to grasp the game play mechanics and that’s not entirely due to my familiarity with the 4x genre, Pax Nova does a great job of trickling in neat new features with helpful hints; soon you’ll be capably designing your own troops, aligning your affinities and implementing brutal… I mean peaceful policies to aid the development of your people. What did impress me was the scope of this game, exploring an entire planet (like Beyond Earth) would have kept me busy for a long time. Zooming out to see multiple planets excited me, zooming out further to see multiple systems made my empire feel small, like we had a long path to travel to greatness and like the galaxy could soon be mine….

Pax Nova

It was shortly after this discovery I stopped half-arsing my galactic conquest, restarted the game as a custom faction (with hefty boosts to science and warfare) and plotted my expansion. It would be swift and unforgiving. To ensure the forces of my space-cult republic were well equipped I built as many research labs I could sustain. While there are many ways to win this game, the destruction of my enemies seemed like the most definitive. Early game you’ll be building your cities up, exploring the ruins of the land and using ‘diplomacy’ (or flamethrowers) to advance your economy. 

Pax Nova

The local alien population began to fear me as did the closest civilization however the {ceo faction] on my right we’re encroaching on territory I had already claimed as future-mine. For once I found myself allying with the left to oppose the right; subjugating the weak to guard my flanks by building a military outpost firmly next to their capital as I marched to reclaim my mining colony. My people became upset with my warrish ways, but it was nothing some ‘tactical political prescriptions’ (murder) couldn’t solve.

I hastened my research eventually reaching the end of all tech to develop the greatest military I could, creating the finest soldiers to sweep over my enemies. Victory was at hand.

Summary

Pax Nova is a space-based 4x game with some weighty punches to pull! Simple city management, combat and space travel is just the tip of the iceberg. Between faction and unit customisation, diplomacy, research, affinities, ideologies and leadership style there’s an obscene amount of customisation to the way you want to play. Great fun to be had and so much potential for even more; for an early access title I was blown away!

7.5/10

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