Lords of the Black Sun Review

A galaxy of strategy

The healthy banner on the main page of Steam proclaimed: if you’re too impatient to wait for Civilization: Beyond Earth, buy Lords of the Black Sun now! Or something along those lines. In any case, it looked enticing. The prospect of buying this turn-based strategy game became even more enticing after reading the promises from the developers who broke through on Kickstarter.

What did the developers promise us? Firstly, a robust sandbox with an impressive array of playable races, as well as various planetary cities and pirate clans. Secondly, a deep diplomacy system with accompanying espionage. Well, in the style of Civilization V, but presumably more fun. Thirdly, deep gameplay that would allow for ten thousand unique games with different stories in each. And third and a half, engaging tactical battles between star fleets. And finally, an internal economy, science, and politics, because what would a game be without them?

Ruling the cosmos

What has been done from this, and what hasn’t? It’s hard to say because Lords of the Black Sun has a terribly buggy client.

After losing the opening cutscene, the game allowed me to familiarize myself with the local minimalist interface, launch a scout ship into space, choose the first technology to research, and then crash when I pressed the “End Turn” button. Second attempt – another crash. Third – crash. Fourth – well, you get the idea.

Playing a five-minute game of whack-a-mole wasn’t very fun, so I went online to find a solution. A quick read of the LofBS forum on Steam revealed something terrifying – the game requires some serious troubleshooting. First of all, you shouldn’t mess with it unnecessarily: press that “End Turn” button twice and the client will crash. And in general, it’s best to navigate the local interface carefully. It gets worse. If you’ve filled your galaxy with the maximum number of races, there’s a 99% chance you won’t make it to the second turn because if an enemy scout enters a neighboring solar system on the very first turn, the client will crash. Even if you don’t have too many races, but you just got unlucky with your neighbors, the client will crash. And as the icing on the cake, the client can crash for no apparent reason, without any obvious triggers in the code.

Conquest in space

And check the depth of game diplomacy after that. Well, okay, where can we go without serious patches, let’s amputate all risky elements from the party settings.

Having made it past the first move, I was quite surprised that LofBS decided to cut my healthy card to a stub, on which, according to the client, I should play a three-player game. It was impossible to reach half of the star systems in the generated cluster, just because you couldn’t. It’s just amazing! Why did they even make an option to choose the size of the map in the game? They should have automatically set the size of the galaxy based on the number of players at least and not tease us.

And, I remind you, here you also need to manage to set the starting conditions so that the client doesn’t crash right away. And I still had to take screenshots of this, because the work… who needs such entertainment for their own money and time, it became harder and harder to understand.

Okay, let’s adapt to the whimsical client as best we can and see what happens next.

Ignoring attempts to get a serious game from the client, I decided to go with the flow, relying only on trade and the mercy of the map generator. The result was relatively good: somewhere around the fifteenth move, space pirates found me and, not receiving a ransom, destroyed first my powerful flagship, and then all the factories on the planet. Which, against the backdrop of dynamically developing alien space civilizations, meant a game over. Well, that already resembled a real game, only much more evil, despite the average settings.

The second attempt in the same direction turned out to be, um, a little more successful. No one touched my wards, colonization of planets and the construction of a trade fleet went on as planned, even a scout ship found some abandoned ship and pulled out 600 units of galactic money from there. On the thirty-eighth minute of this idyll, Lords of the Black Sun crashed again, and at this point, it was absolutely impossible to understand why.

Galactic adventures

After reflecting on the futility of existence, as well as the fact that after the release of LofBS only one 1.1mb patch was released (which did nothing but break my in-game video), I decided not to wait for the weather and simply deleted the game client from my computer.

Lords of the Black Sun looks appealing, but it simply doesn’t work. Moreover, according to online conversations, it doesn’t work in many places and for many people. I wouldn’t even recommend this losing lottery ticket to hardcore fans of grand strategy games. Some benefit from the game may come, perhaps, in a year when the developers patch at least some of the code’s flaws, and Steam puts the game on sale for a maximum of a $10. For now, it’s better not to even attempt to play this thing.

Lords of the Black Sun
Indie, Multiplayer, Strategy
Iceberg Interactive
Arkavi Studios
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



More Reviews