Stellaris is a 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) grand strategy game developed and published by Paradox interactive. Stellaris came out for Microsoft Windows, Linux, Macintosh operating systems and macOS in 2016 and was later released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in early 2019. Stellaris sees you take control of a new space-faring empire and expanding out from your home system. While exploring space you will meet other empires with similar tech to you and empires, who have now fallen to decline and threats from other galaxies and dimensions.
Control and Game play
The game is played from two perspectives: the galaxy map and the in-system map. In the galaxy map, you can issue general orders in a system to survey, build mines or research stations, or give movement orders. The in-system map allows for more fine-tuned orders like which stations to build first or where exactly to move your fleet or build some special late game structures.
You take control of either a pre-made empire or a custom empire. When designing the custom empire you can choose what they look like, what traits the species has, as well as the fundamental ethics of the empire, flag, ship style, home world, name list and more. When the game generates the galaxy, your empire will be randomly deposited in some location. From there you will explore new star systems along the hyper-lane network which are the main form of faster than light travel. Additionally, spread throughout the galaxy are abandoned gateways that can be reactivated for a cost and wormholes that can be explored. When surveying systems, there is a chance your scientist will discover an anomaly. Anomalies can be good, bad, or just some nice story stuff. During your exploration, you can also encounter some space life forms. These range from about the size of a corvette to a leviathan scale. Many of the creatures are hostile.
After you explore your nearby systems you will expand your empire by building frontier outposts. These outposts give you control of that system allowing you than to take control of the resources there and allow for colonization if a habitable planet was scanned. The main purpose of expansion is to gain control of new resources to exploit and planets to colonize. Certain resources such as alloys (which are used for ship construction) can only be obtained in large quantities on planets.
Once you have met another empire you can try to exploit them for resource or go to war with them to further expand your empire. I guess you could also try to make them friends if your ethics are not the opposites of each other e.g. fanatic authoritarian cannot make friends with a fanatic egalitarian. The main win condition of the game is to control most of the galaxy as a single empire or as part of a federation, which controls most of the galaxy.
The game has near endless replayability as no one game will be the same not to mention the ability to create custom empires and the game is heavily modable. Modders have created so many mods including total conversion mods that can bring you into Star Wars, Star Trek and even Halo. You can play this game for years, and the developers keep releasing new content for the game, both free and paid for. The game also has an extremely active multiplayer community that I personally have not a much interactions with.
Stellaris is a fantastic 4X real time grand strategy game that looks good, and with its fluid controls and near endless replayability means you can sink so many hours into the game without realizing it. I would highly recommend the game to anyone who enjoy strategy on a grand scale and a nice amount of micro management.